Nebraska’s economic growth and challenges, workforce development, affordable housing, education and community vitality were key issues at Governor Pete Ricketts’ recent Economic Development Summit. Nebraskans representing different industries from across the state heard from community leaders, business executives and economic development experts at the annual event.
I was fortunate to attend panel discussions on public-private partnerships and attracting and retaining a talented workforce in Nebraska. It was heartening to hear community success stories and recommendations on recruiting strategies for welcoming returners and new talent to our state. Nebraskans are hardworking, innovative people who are determined to make their state the best place to live.
Even though there wasn’t an early childhood panel at the forum, many of the discussions included questions or concerns regarding affordability and access to quality child care. Many panelists said child care is a real need in their communities or among their employees, and they’re working to find solutions. Like affordable housing, public transportation and quality jobs, high-quality child care is needed to attract and retain a talented workforce. This issue is at the forefront of many people’s minds and they understand that early learning and child care is an important factor in economic development.
I greatly enjoyed the conference and look forward to attending again next year. First Five Nebraska will continue to help communities develop or improve their early childhood infrastructure so all families have access to high-quality, affordable child care.
Elizabeth Lopez Everett
Senior Policy Associate
First Five Nebraska
Left: Governor Ricketts welcomes Nebraskans to his 4th annual economic development conference
Right: Andy Long, Executive Director of McCook's Economic Development Corp., leads a session at the summit