Bringing Manufacturing Home – Nebraska City News Press

Governor Pete Ricketts

Over the past three years, we have faced shortages of many products, from lumber to cars to toilet paper. Supply chain shortages have shown that the United States is too dependent on foreign suppliers. Instead of depending on China for medicine, Taiwan for computer chips, or Russia for fertilizer, we need to send the manufacturing of our products back to America.

At Nebraska, we’re doing our part to make “Made in America” ​​the norm. We grow our workforce, support research into cutting-edge technology, and invest in affordable housing to strengthen manufacturing in the good life.

Workforce development According to a study by The Manufacturing Group and Deloitte, the U.S. manufacturing sector is expected to have 2.1 million job vacancies by 2030. This labor shortage threatens to curb the growth in the US manufacturing sector. Since taking office, my team has built a talent pipeline to connect our students to the high-paying manufacturing jobs being created in Nebraska.

To familiarize students with fabrication, it is important to give them building and creating experiences early in their training. Our Young Talent Development Initiative (DYTI) brings together local schools and manufacturers to provide these hands-on learning opportunities for 7th and 8th graders. Since its launch in 2015, DYTI has reached 24,500 students in 66 Nebraska school districts.

This year, MetalQuest in Hebron received a $125,000 grant to purchase equipment to introduce students to industrial robotics automation and coding. They are also partnering with schools in Gage, Jefferson and Thayer counties to create a classroom program with the grant award. This is the second time MetalQuest has received a DYTI grant. The company used its 2016 grant to work with Sandy Creek and Lawrence Nelson Public Schools on a manufacturing career path. Prior to creating the pathway, only 39% of students said they were interested in a career in manufacturing. After the DYTI program, approximately 75% expressed interest in a career in manufacturing.

Students who develop an interest in manufacturing through DYTI can then attend a high school career academy to learn industry-specific skills. For example, CNH Industrial partners with Grand Island High School through its Career Pathways Institute. In 2017, CNH donated new manufacturing equipment to the school for students to use in learning labs. The equipment is very similar to what CNH uses in its actual manufacturing process. This allows students to get a head start in learning the specialized skills needed for industrial careers before they even graduate. CNH also offers a registered youth apprenticeship program for welders and industrial fabrication technicians. Apprentices earn course credits while getting paid and gaining valuable experience at CNH on the manufacturing site.

High school graduates can enroll in a Registered Apprenticeship (RA) to earn nationally recognized credentials. On average, apprentices in the United States have a starting salary of $77,000 after completing their program. They can also earn credits toward a college degree.

We increased PR programs by 15% in 2021, and they continue to grow. Central Community College launched its RA program in August 2021 and has already engaged major manufacturing partners such as Chief Fabrication, CNH Industrial, Lindsay Corporation and Standard Iron. This summer, Nebraska community colleges won a $4 million federal grant to expand their RA programs.

They will be able to provide more opportunities for students to earn money while they learn manufacturing trades as machinists, welders, or heavy equipment operators.

In 2020, we created the Career Scholarship program in our community colleges, state colleges, and university system. This helps pay the way for students to receive specialized education in high-demand fields, like engineering, that are critical to manufacturing. Last year we added private colleges to the program. With this expansion, there will now be at least 2,110 career scholarships by 2023.

Cutting-edge technology We complement our workforce development with investments in automation that enable manufacturers to do more with less. For example, the state provided Marble Technologies with $155,000 in Business Innovation Act funding in the last fiscal year. The company uses the grants to design technologies that automate many repetitive and labor-intensive tasks in beef and pork processing facilities. These products help address the labor shortages that are sometimes a bottleneck in meat processing.

Last month, Invest Nebraska and the Nebraska Department of Economic Development were part of a coalition that won a $25 million federal grant to create a Heartland Robotics Cluster. The goal of the initiative is to drive robotic innovation so that we can increase labor productivity in Nebraska. The Nebraska Manufacturing Extension Partnership will use $1.4 million of the prize to build a manufacturing automation program and a space to showcase breakthrough products. The Northeast Community College will receive award funds to develop an automation manufacturing lab designed to meet the needs of manufacturers in the region. The grant will also go towards robotics research and development at The Combine, the agricultural entrepreneurship support program at the Nebraska Innovation Campus.

Affordable Housing We prioritize affordable housing to support manufacturing growth throughout Nebraska. Our manufacturing companies can recruit talent better when there are many local housing options available. Housing funds have been a key part of our strategy to increase inventory of high quality, reasonably priced housing. We provided $7 million in Rural Workforce Housing Fund grants in 2018 and an additional $10 million in 2021. We also provided $10 million in Rural Workforce Housing Grants. middle-income labor force in 2021 for home construction in Douglas, Lancaster and Sarpy counties. During this legislative session, we allocated an additional $128.5 million to address the need for affordable housing across the state.

Our efforts to expand manufacturing are paying off. This year, manufacturing employment in Nebraska reached its highest level since 2003! I proclaim October Nebraska Manufacturing Month to celebrate the great work of manufacturers in our state and to highlight the state’s commitment to manufacturing.

If you have any questions about the state’s work to support manufacturing, please contact me at [email protected] or 402-471-2244.

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