High-Demand Jobs Scholarship Adds Teaching to Eligible Jobs: Applications Due Feb.15

High-Demand Jobs Scholarship Adds Teaching to Eligible Jobs: Applications Due Feb.15 Main Photo

22 Jan 2023


One strategy for workforce development in Phelps County is to retain local talent. To encourage the return of accomplished students after their schooling or training, Phelps County Development Corporation (PCDC) partners with Phelps County Community Foundation to offer the High-Demand Jobs Scholarship. Scholarship winners sign a contract stating their intention to return to Phelps County and work in a designated high-demand job. This year, teaching joins the eligible vocation categories of manufacturing, agriculture, construction trades, nursing, transportation, and mechanics.

“There seems to be a shortage of teachers combined with a higher than normal retirement rate that could make it more difficult for rural schools to draw candidates,” said PCDC Board Member Tim Rehm.

Nebraska Public Media reports a nationwide educator shortage, and “Nebraska is no exception.” The Nebraska Department of Education said there were 482 unfilled education positions in the state in 2021. A report in Higher Education Digest suggests that reaching out to students in high school to consider teaching and encouraging them to return to their home schools to teach is a viable strategy.

However, the burden of large loan debts is a significant deterrent. The cost of obtaining a university education has grown beyond the reach of many individuals who previously might have enrolled in a teaching degree program in primary or secondary education. By offering the High-Demand Job Scholarship to those pursuing teaching, the hurdle of debt has been lowered.

Awards typically range from $1,000–$6,000 each. In 2022, $37,000 in scholarships were awarded, the most money ever awarded for the program in a single year. Scholarship recipients return to work for a Phelps County business, in a high-demand job, for a minimum of one year for every $1,000 awarded. 

In the nine years that the Phelps County High-Demand Job Scholarship has been offered, 85 scholarships have been awarded totaling $237,000. Of those scholarships, 28 were awarded in ag-related fields, 25 in nursing/medical fields, 10 in diesel technology, eight in construction trades, and 14 in other areas of study. The scholarships are funded through LB840 sales tax funds, private donors, and matching funds from the Phelps County Community Foundation. 

Phelps County Community Foundation manages the applications and funds. Applications opened to students on Thursday, December 1, 2022. All applications must be completed online through PCCF's scholarship portal and are due by February 15, 2023. There are various video tutorials for the application process.

Graduating seniors and non-traditional students pursuing careers as teachers, nurses, dietary specialists, auto and diesel mechanics, engineer technologists, mechatronics engineers, injection mold technicians, electro-mechanical technologists, machinists, tool and die makers, construction trades, welders, and commercial truck drivers should apply! Agri-business and technology positions and construction trades are also eligible.


  • High School Graduate or GED equivalent
  • Enrolled (at least half time) in any college, technical, or trade school
  • Minimum 2.0 GPA
  • Pursuing training or education in one of the following industries: Teaching, Manufacturing, Agriculture, Construction Trades, Nursing, Transportation, and Mechanics

For more information on scholarships or any questions, please contact Lacy Chapman, Program Officer, at lchapman@phelpsfoundation.org or call the PCCF office at 308-995-6847. 

Phelps County Development Corporation has the tools, information, and skills to help. PCDC can assist with housing and project advocacy, including permitting, timely utilities, and financial assistance. Contact PCDC at (308) 995-4148 or pcdc@phelpscountyne.com today. To further explore “Why Phelps,” download the community guide.


Sign-up for our monthly E-Newsletter and follow PCDC on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.