The Economic Development Task Force of the Nebraska Legislature released recommendations Dec. 30 about workforce development.

Recognizing economic development as a priority, the Nebraska Unicameral established the Economic Development Task Force in 2017.

The task force is responsible for making recommendations to the legislature regarding economic development in the state.

The task force identified workforce development as a priority.

“Nebraskans have a strong work ethic and the state as a whole has a low unemployment rate. At the same time, our state faces a mismatch between available workers and the skills needed by employers,” Chairwoman Sen. Kate Bolz said.

“Specific shortage areas include: information technology, science, technology, engineering, math, building trades, and more,” Bolz said. The Economic Development Task Force recommendations support new opportunities for education and training for workers to grow our businesses and communities,”

The workforce development recommendations include:

  1. Recommendation: Support a longitudinal data system to identify gaps in our education and training system, respond to those needs, and build on strengths.
  2. Recommendation: Invest in apprenticeship programs aligned with high demand skills and industries.
  • Recommendation: Develop a career-education scholarship program for students pursuing careers in high demand, high skill, high wage jobs.
  1. Recommendation: Retain young Nebraskans with needed skill sets through student loan repayment initiatives.

“Nebraska has difficulty retaining and attracting young talent – our state has one of the lowest growth rates for the population 25-29-years old. Overall, Nebraska has an annual “workforce 1 deficit” of 24,600 per year, ” said Sen. John Arch, vice chair of the task force. “Our recommendations provide short and long term strategies for promoting good jobs and vibrant communities.”

The members of the committee:

Chairman of the Appropriations Committee: Sen. John Stinner

Chairman of the Banking, Commerce, and Insurance Committee: Sen. Matt Williams

Chairperson of the Urban Affairs Committee: Sen. Justin Wayne

Chairwoman of the Revenue Committee: Sen. Lou Ann Linehan

Chairman of the Planning Committee: Sen. Tony Vargas

Chairman of the Education Committee: Sen. Mike Groene

Chairman of the Business and Labor Committee: Sen. Matt Hanson

At-large members: Sens. Kate Bolz, Dan Quick, John Arch