The effort is called Blueprint Nebraska, which will create a single economic plan for all parts of the state.
Lance Fritz, Union Pacific president and CEO, is one of the co-chairs. He says statewide input is needed.
“And boiling it down to what’s the state good at, what do we need to be better at, and where do we need to kind of shore up some points of weakness,” Fritz says.
Bryan Slone, Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry president, says committees have been working and researchers are starting to analyze data.
“We are going to begin the process of mapping out the road tour,” he says. “It’s going to be no small journey to bring Blueprint Nebraska to all these communities, but it’s probably the most important thing that we’re going to do.”
The effort will visit roughly 30 communities in Nebraska.
Co-chair Owen Palm, president and CEO of 21st Century Holdings in Scottsbluff, says they want to seek out best practices in local communities and identify weaknesses too.
“And look for opportunities for economic development that rely on those strengths,” he explains, “and not spend time and money chasing opportunities that don’t play to these strengths.”
Palm says he hopes the rural-urban divide in Nebraska goes away, so the focus is on a unified path forward.
For University of Nebraska president Hank Bounds, Blueprint Nebraska has been a two-year old work in progress.
It is based on work he did in Mississippi, to help build a statewide economic development plan.
Bounds says the best way to predict your future is to design it.
“And we need Nebraskans to tell us what they want their future to look like,” he says. “What does it mean to have really good, high-paying jobs that give our children the opportunity to stay here if they so wish.”
The effort is expected to take the next 12 to 16 months, but the co-chairs say the work does not stop there.
Nebraskans will be able to give their input online HERE.
AUDIO: Mike Loizzo reports [:40]