Former Scholarship Recipients Begin Careers in Holdrege

Former Scholarship Recipients Begin Careers in Holdrege Main Photo

28 Jul 2021


A new crop of graduates have put down roots in Phelps County.

Several former high-demand job scholarship winners recently graduated from college and have returned to Phelps County to work in agriculture and service industries.

Dylan Nelson is a 2019 graduate of Holdrege High School and graduated from Southeast Community College in Milford with an associate’s degree in Auto Collision Repair Technology in May 2021.

Dylan is working on the family farm (Nelson Farms) and is launching a new business, Nelson Paint & Detail this fall. The business will provide a valuable service to farmers by offering detailing and painting for farm equipment, such as semis and tractors. The business, which will be located in rural Phelps County southeast of Holdrege, will also offer detailing of boats and other large vehicles or equipment.

He started the detailing business in high school and realized the need for that service. Dylan is now looking forward to filling a niche for the local ag community with the addition of the painting service.

“I am excited to be able to help the ag community by offering a service that I don’t think is super prominent around here yet,” Dylan said.

He is grateful to have earned a high-demand jobs scholarship.

“The scholarship helped me get the things I needed to be successful in school and provided the necessary tools to be efficient in my career and job,” he said.

Dantley Edgren is also a 2019 HHS grad and a recent SCC Milford grad. He also earned a degree in Auto Collision Repair Technology. He is now working full-time at Turner Body Shop in downtown Holdrege as an auto body technician.

Dantley said he is happy to have found a career back close to home and family and to have furthered his education without any debt.

“I didn’t have to take out a single student loan,” Dantley said. “I want to say thank you to all the donors. I really appreciate it. It’s a pretty amazing scholarship to get.”

When he’s not working, Dantley is looking forward to spending time with family and will help with the third-grade class at Trinity Church this fall.

Eli Swanson graduated in 2020 from HHS and is a 2021 graduate of the one-year Plumbing Technology program at Southeast Community College in Milford. He is now employed as an apprentice plumber with Brad Groothuis Plumbing out of Funk.

He is glad to be back in Phelps County, where he has family, friends and personal connections. He is also grateful for the scholarship.

“Since it was only a year program, the scholarship paid for the majority of my schooling,” Eli said. “With that, and a few other scholarships, I had very little out-of-pocket costs.”

Eli was highly involved in 4-H as a youth, and he plans to continue his involvement in Phelps County 4-H as a volunteer.

McKayla Meyer is a 2019 Loomis High School graduate and earned an associate’s degree in agribusiness from Central Community College in Hastings. She connected with her high school volleyball coach Carrie Trompke to gain experience at an internship at Ag West this spring and is now employed full-time at the business in client services.

“Being able to get this job opportunity in this type of atmosphere was great,” McKayla said. “I like this small-town community feel and just being close to home and family.”

McKayla also expressed gratitude for the high-demand jobs scholarship.

“It was huge having that scholarship and now the opportunity to come back to the community and give back to the community,” she said.

Phelps County High-Demand Jobs Scholarships are a PCDC initiative designed to encourage students to consider studying for careers that are in high demand in Phelps County. The scholarships are funded by LB840 sales tax funds, private investors and a matching grant from the Phelps County Community Foundation.

This year, 2021, marks the eighth year that the scholarships have been offered. In that time, more than $200,000 has been awarded. Scholarships typically range from $1,000-$4,000 per year, and students may reapply to receive multiple-year scholarships.

For information on the 2021 scholarship recipients, visit