LINCOLN – State, private sector, agricultural, education and civic leaders from across the state recently delivered the Blueprint Nebraska report to state residents and businesses during a livestream event hosted Tuesday from Omaha, Lincoln and Broken Bow.
The long-term strategic economic development plan proposes to achieve the following by 2030:
- Make Nebraska a top-three state to live in according to various national rankings;
- Create 25,000 jobs;
- Grow annual income of Nebraskans by $15,000;
- Add 43,000 18-to-34-year-old residents in Nebraska by 2030; and
- Boost research and development investment by $200 million annually.
Governor Pete Ricketts and the University of Nebraska, represented by Interim President-Elect Susan Fritz, joined the Blueprint Nebraska cochairs – Chairman, President and CEO of Union Pacific Corporation Lance Fritz of Omaha and President and CEO of 21st Century Equipment Owen Palm of Scottsbluff – and several members of the statewide coalition for the rollout.
“Over the course of the last year, a steering committee, industry councils, and thousands of Nebraskans provided input with the help of a team of facilitators and augmented with outside research,” said Ricketts. “This report contains a wide variety of initiatives. These proposals will form the basis for dialogue and debate for how we move our state forward.”
“The University of Nebraska remains invested in delivering the type of education needed to meet Nebraska’s evolving economic needs,” Dr. Susan Fritz said. The University has launched several initiatives to assist, including a data tracking system in partnership with the Nebraska State College System, Nebraska Community Colleges, Nebraska Department of Education, and Nebraska Department of Labor to follow students through their educational careers, track graduation rates and track career placement.
Lance Fritz and Palm said the vision of Blueprint Nebraska is to create a new standard of prosperity for all Nebraskans by leveraging and enhancing the economic advantages or “growth themes” that already make Nebraska strong – our people, our places (communities and land resources), our unique government structure, and our strong business sectors (agriculture, manufacturing, finance, insurance and more.)
“People are the engine behind economic development,” said Lance Fritz. “As a state we need to compete against others in the region with every demographic we can get our hands on.” He said Blueprint Nebraska gives the state a map toward offering best-in-class internships and apprenticeships and lifelong learning from early childhood to career.
Palm outlined the initiatives envisioned to better connect communities to each other, including access to statewide broadband and an expanded transportation network. He also spoke about reimagining the delivery of government services and continuing the march toward simplification at all levels of government. “We’ve taken a bold path forward by identifying these 15 priorities.”
The report’s 15 initiatives will help address challenges identified in each growth theme. Progress over the next several years will be measured against a series of economic indicators and rankings. Going forward, the Blueprint project structure will evolve into four councils to identify the best tactics for delivering results, including additional research and cost analysis. The goal is to roll out five related initiatives per quarter through mid-2020.
As part of the announcement, young professionals Andrew Prystai, CEO and co-founder of Event Vesta in Omaha, Mitch Hunt, CEO of Huntrex in Broken Bow, and Kayla Meyer, Young Professionals Group coordinator for the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development, shared initial reactions to the report.
The summary and full reports are available at blueprint-nebraska.org.