Future of Workforce Shines Bright in Nebraska

Future of Workforce Shines Bright in Nebraska Main Photo

4 Oct 2023


JAG Nebraska program prepares local students for workforce, life after school

Partnerships matter, and a public-private collaboration in Holdrege, Nebraska, will bridge the workforce gap for local middle and high school students in Phelps County. The Jobs for American Graduates ((JAG), supported by United Way Midlands out of Omaha, begins during the 2024-2025 school year at Holdrege Public Schools.

“All students are eligible for the JAG elective courses, so we see this as a tremendous opportunity to provide training and options for future graduates of our school,” said Jeremy Ham, Principal, Holdrege High School. “This program was started to strengthen connections between school and workforce needs while helping students to make decisions for the future, and we look forward to offering it during the 2024-2025 school year.”

The numbers tell the story

The JAG Nebraska program was founded in 2019 through a partnership with the State of Nebraska’s Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services. The initiative began with just three schools and now serves more than 1,000 students in 35 middle and high schools in the state. The implementation at Holdrege is part of a plan to grow the initiative by 38 programs beginning in August 2024. This means a greater reach and significantly more opportunities for students to learn and grow from JAG Nebraska.

“JAG was the one that got me interested in school and is the one class that got me interested in finding a career,” said Taylor Bruce, JAG graduate and employee at Commonwealth Electric. “I followed everything that JAG taught me and I got it.”

The numbers since JAG Nebraska’s inception in 2019 reinforce its goal to help students overcome challenges and achieve personal and career success after high school. To date, the program has served 2,200 students through 34 programs at 31 schools in 15 school districts. As people see the program’s success first-hand, participation continues to exceed expectations. The results reinforce JAG Nebraska’s impact, as students gain skills and earn employment through:

·       Increasing GPA and academic performance
·       Gaining confidence 
·       Developing meaningful connections
·       Fulfilling social responsibilities and civic services
·       Earning financial empowerment for a sustainable future

The future is now

“Our hope is that this program will help students to learn of opportunities close to home,” said Ham. “It will also help prepare them for careers, and then allow them to help fill the demands local employers are facing. This is a huge opportunity for our students and this community, both from an education and economic development standpoint.”

JAG Nebraska has tremendous support from the business community. Click here for a list of program sponsors. For more information on the JAG Nebraska program at Holdrege Public Schools, please visit https://jagnebraska.org/

Phelps County Development Corporation

Phelps County Development Corporation (PCDC) has the tools, information, and skills to assist with every facet of relocation for your business or family. The High Demand Jobs Scholarship program seeks to ensure local employers can rely on a skilled workforce pool. PCDC partners with the Phelps County Community Foundation to offer scholarships to train local youth in much-needed roles like welders, machinists, nurses, dietary specialists and more. Up to $30,000 in scholarships are awarded annually to recipients who return to work for a Phelps County business in a High Demand Job for a minimum of one year per every $1,000 awarded. Applications or referrals can be here or by calling (308) 995-4148 beginning December 1st of each year.

PCDC is also ready to help with housing and project advocacy, including permitting, timely utilities, and financial assistance. Contact PCDC today at (308) 995-4148 or pcdc@phelpscountyne.com. To further explore “Why Phelps,” download the community guide.

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