Twilya L’Ecuyer

Fairbury Housing Authority

Executive Director

Fairbury, Neb.

Missouri Western State University
Central Michigan University

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Focus: Workforce Development and Job Training

The students will focus on conducting a feasibility study to develop a job training program in partnership with the Fairbury Public School District and private sector employers to address labor shortages within Jefferson County. The goal is to graduate more high school seniors into career-ready or near career-ready positions in fields that have labor shortages throughout Nebraska. Projects will also address local housing gaps for high risk populations and clearly defined segments of housing shortages.

Team
Students: Connor McFaydenEthan Weiche
Innovators: Crystal DeweyTwilya L’Ecuyer

Sponsored By: Fairbury Housing Authority

Twilya’s Nebraska Story

I grew up in St. Joseph, Missouri and received my bachelor’s degree from Missouri Western State University. In 2004 I moved to Kansas to marry Tom a farmer and rancher of a mid-sized diversified, state line farm. In 2013, I became more invested with the Fairbury community when I accepted the position of Executive Director for the Fairbury Housing Authority. Since 2014 the Authority has engaged in a $3 million modernization effort to modernize the property and better meet community affordable housing needs. Those efforts include securing nearly $1.92 million in competitive federal grant funding, including a $750,000 modernization grant through the Federal Home Loan Bank in 2017. In 2018 we transferred our daughters (Olivia, 13 and Autumn, 11) into the district and bought a house in Fairbury. We are continually balancing our farm life and community life but enjoy being part of the Fairbury community. We enjoy chasing our girls with church, softball, basketball, reading classics, quiz bowl, 4-H, and FFA.

What do you hope to gain?

I want to develop and have more tools to offer related to housing and employment needs for Fairbury youth and their families.

Why do you think it important community leaders have this type of experience in terms of inclusive leadership development?

It is important that all citizens of a community regardless of income and social status see themselves as part of the solution. This process allows us to hear the needs and concerns that are beyond our own.

Why is this contribution of students from University of Nebraska significant to you and/or your community?

First, our Authority is too small to be able to mobilize on its own. I also think having people who are not local look at the same problem and offer their perspective will help us all see beyond what we think we know.

Why is rural important?

When a rural community is thriving and able to meet the needs of its residents in terms of education, healthcare and employment it creates a social fabric that cannot be duplicated in a large city. I enjoy the community bond that I’ve only experienced in smaller communities.

Why does now provide tremendous opportunity to move rural communities forward?

Technology is allowing more small communities to share their stories and to do a better job of learning from each other. The ability to share lessons learned is easier than ever before.