Scholarship Recipients Return Home to Jobs

21 Jun 2016

As PCDC announces the third round of high-demand jobs scholarships, the fruits of the labor are becoming evident as previous scholarship winners return home to local jobs.

After two years of studying at Central Community College in Hastings, Evan Dow is now enjoying a full-time job as an apprentice electrician at K & D Motor and Electric in Holdrege.

“The scholarship was very important,” Dow said. “It got me through most of the schooling. It made things a lot easier.”

And at age 20, Dow has already accomplished another American dream by purchasing his first home in Holdrege. His roommate is Kelly Thorell, a fellow classmate from Loomis and also a high-demand jobs scholarship winner back working in Phelps County at his family’s farm.

Dow and Thorell were among the first students to receive a high-demands job scholarship created through the Phelps County Development Corporation’s Inspire & Recruit Talent Initiative.

2014 Scholarship Winners Andrew Daily (Southern Power) and Jill Gabriel (PMHC) have also completed their education and are working in Phelps County.

The 2016 Scholarship Winners were announced in May, and the first non-traditional student made the list.

Christina Ledbetter of Atlanta graduated from Loomis High School and 1989 and studied accounting. When she didn’t find a job in that field, she started working at Christian Homes and eventually earned her LPN certification.

Christina is now studying to become a registered nurse, and a 2016 high-demand jobs scholarship will help her obtain that goal. She recently started working at Phelps Memorial Health Center and is attending Central Community College, Grand Island, at the same time.

“Being a single mom, every little bit helps,” she said of the scholarship. “It helps relieve some of the financial burden.”

She is looking forward to being more involved with patients as an RN and continuing to live and work in the small community she loves.

In 2016, $22,500 in scholarships were awarded ranging from $1,000-$4,000 each.

PCDC Project Coordinator Alli Donohue said she is glad to see a non-traditional student apply and receive the scholarship.

“A lot of non-traditional students aren’t eligible for other scholarships, so we’d love to be able to help them,” she said.

The jobs in high demand have been identified by area employers and include: nursing, agri-business and technology, diesel mechanic, engineer technologist, mechatronics engineer, injection mold technicians, electro-mechanical technologist, machinist, tool and die making, construction trades, welders and commercial truck drivers.

The scholarships are funded through LB840 sales tax funds, private donors and a matching grant from the Phelps County Community Foundation.

The 2016 scholarship winners are: Christina Ledbetter, Central Community College Grand Island,  nursing; Levi Woodring, Holdrege, Central Community College Hastings, diesel technology; Lex Swanson, Holdrege, Southeast Community College Milford, diesel technology; Jared Denny, Bertrand, Central Community College Hastings, construction-electrician; Boe Barnett, Holdrege, Central Community College Hastings, construction-drafting technology; Harley Scott, Holdrege, Mid-Plains Community College in McCook, mortuary science; Nolan Breece, Holdrege, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, agriculture; Blake Johnston, Holdrege, Central Community College Hastings, precision agriculture; Zachary Gray, Holdrege, UNL, agriculture; Alex Hamling, Holdrege, UNL, agriculture; and Trevor Smith, Holdrege, UNL, ag economics.