The latest Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry survey of business and community leaders shows continued concern over an inadequate workforce.
For the fifth year in a row, the annual survey lists workforce quality and availability as the top concern.
“It’s a long-term problem,” Jamie Karl, state chamber vice president of public affairs and policy, tells Nebraska Radio Network. “This isn’t something that gets changed overnight. It’s certainly a long-term problem and it deems a long-term solution.”
Karl says progress is being made, but attitudes also need to change.
“We have to change the minds of parents and students that there are good paying jobs, great careers in sectors like manufacturing, but you don’t just walk into those jobs,” he says.
When asked if their business were hiring today, nearly 60 percent of respondents said they would hire someone with a two-year degree or a certified skill. Another 31% said they would hire an individual with a four-year degree, while just 10% said someone with only a high school diploma.
“Career academies, whether it’s an institution like they have in Grand Island, Lincoln, several communities have career academies, or just curriculum based programs like in Scottsbluff, you’re seeing more of that around the state,” Karl points out. “Even small schools are partnering with community colleges.”
He says the workforce issue is more of a problem in western and central Nebraska compared to areas around Lincoln and Omaha.
AUDIO: Mike Loizzo reports [:42]