Leaders Announce ‘Thrive 2020’ and ‘Greater Omaha 2040 Remix’ Results
Omaha, Neb, March 30, 2021 – The Greater Omaha Chamber today announced results of the region’s pandemic-response (“Thrive 2020”) initiatives, as well as research outcomes from the Metro’s Greater Omaha 2040 “remix” efforts.
In May 2020, as the pandemic accelerated across the United States, Greater Omaha leaders formed the Thrive 2020 task force, a coalition of business leaders charged with addressing economic growth, small business, diversity and equity, talent, entrepreneurship and public policy in the pandemic environment. The team published “We Rise,” a guide to economic recovery, in July 2020.
David G. Brown, president and CEO, Greater Omaha Chamber, said the region, which CBRE recently named one of 11 secondary markets “positioned to thrive,” is experiencing a robust recovery thanks, in part, to the Thrive 2020 and Greater Omaha 2040 teams’ efforts.
“No question, forming a task force and forging a path through multiple crises moved the region forward in a positive way,” Brown said.
Of the top 55 metros, unemployment in Omaha / Council Bluffs is currently the lowest in the nation, according to the Dec. 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Local Area Unemployment Statistics data. Additionally, Zippia named Omaha the “Best City in Nebraska to Get a Job in 2021.”
Contributing to the economic upturn, were Thrive 2020 efforts that included:
- accelerating funding for Omaha startups,
- launching a financial literacy initiative,
- building a supplier diversity committee,
- expanding diversity, equity and inclusion resources for businesses
- creating a “candidate academy” for candidates of color
“Thrive 2020 was an exemplary effort – an authentic exercise in community continuity during multiple crises,” said James Blackledge, chairman and CEO, Mutual of Omaha and Greater Omaha Chamber chairman, board of directors. “While none of us welcomed the global pandemic that both precipitated a worldwide economic downturn and touched off staggering health concerns, Greater Omaha’s response to the upheaval was intentional, coordinated and created positive outcomes.”
Greater Omaha 2040, a cooperative initiative led by the Greater Omaha Chamber, United Way of the Midlands, Latino Center of the Midlands and Urban League of Nebraska, also completed pandemic-related analyses, reporting research from nearly 90 CEOs that revealed the region’s focus on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) remains paramount to “future Omaha;” and, “quality of life” should remain an area of emphasis for attracting and retaining talent.
“We are so grateful for the selfless participation of an abundance of leaders during such challenging times,” said Shawna Forsberg, president and CEO, United Way of the Midlands. “Their collective attention to our community’s future absolutely puts us in a position to expand opportunities for all.”
Brown added regional leaders were “tireless” in their commitment to move Greater Omaha forward during changing times.
“Many area leaders served in multiple capacities, on both Thrive 2020 committees and in our re-evaluation of Greater Omaha 2040. These leaders were tenacious, innovative and earnest in their desire to ensure this community had the resources it needed to advance, in spite of unprecedented difficulties,” Brown said.
Albert Varas, CEO, Latino Center of the Midlands, echoed Brown’s remarks. “Omaha is leading on so many levels thanks to an inclusive eye toward a future that elevates all and considers multiple scenarios for success – then drives toward those future markers of greatness together.”
“Success means all of us,” said Thomas Warren, president and CEO, Urban League of Nebraska. “Despite difficulties, when we pull together, when we really examine what we want, who we are and how to get there, we can ensure everyone has an opportunity to win. That’s what Greater Omaha 2040 is all about.”
About Greater Omaha
Greater Omaha is a No. 1 ranked up-and-coming-tech hotspot, a “top 10 best place to live on a $60,000 salary” and was named America’s No. 2 Best Small City by Resonance Consultancy. Greater Omaha is home to more than 30 communities and nearly 1 million people.