Aulick Industries of Scottsbluff, Becton Dickinson of Broken Bow, and Cyclonaire of York will receive grants of up to $125,000 from the Nebraska Developing Youth Talent Initiative. The grants will be used to develop programs with local school districts to interest 7th and 8th grade students in careers in manufacturing and IT.
Jill Smith with Becton Dickinson in Broken Bow is excited to work with younger students, stating tours of her plant often involve sophomores, juniors, and seniors.
“By the time they enter their high school years, oftentimes it’s too late to really get them on that career path,” Smith tells a news conference at the Capitol called by Gov. Pete Ricketts.
Vinc Aulick with Aulick Industries of Scottsbluff says factories have changed from the dirty, dark places of the past.
“They’re bright, they’re clean, they’re high tech,” according to Aulick. “There’s no shame in going to work with your hands and creating a product that you can say, ‘I helped build that.’”
Shelia Brugger with Cyclonair Corporation of York has teamed up with York public schools to create the Manufacturing Academy.
The governor’s office says funding for the 2017-2018 school year will be granted based on each recipient’s request and will be administered by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED).
Businesses will use the funding to address specific IT and manufacturing needs, including the development of STEM careers, plus access to marketing opportunities and developing technology.
Approximately 100,000 Nebraskans are employed by manufacturers, about a tenth of the workforce. DED expects 7,000 new manufacturing jobs to be created by 2024. Annual salaries range from $38,810 to $84,000, according to DED. Many students can begin their manufacturing careers immediately after high school.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]