Two Nebraska manufacturers have been awarded $125,000 grants each to work with 7th and 8th grade students at their local schools.
The Developing Youth Talent Initiative awards grants to businesses which partner with neighboring schools to interests students in local careers.
Becton Dickinson of Broken Bow won the award last year. Human Resources Director Jill Smith says younger students are perfect for the program.
“One of the things that we found is by the time we’re talking to them as sophomores and juniors that’s really too late in their educational career to make an impact on where they’re deciding to go,” Smith says during a governor’s news conference at the Capitol. “So, by starting with junior high students, 7th and 8th graders, it’s much more impactful.”
Nucor Detailing of Norfolk is one of the recipients of the Developing Youth Talent Initiative grants. Jason Ternus with Nucor says the company will work with 7th and 8th grade students in five surrounding school districts.
“We believe supplementing the current technical courses available to our area students with additional opportunities that relate back to the manufacturing technologies will lead to a strong future workforce for Nebraska,” Ternus says.
Reinke of Norfolk is the other recipient.
Reinke President Chris Roth says students are often surprised by the opportunities close to home.
“When we first started doing this we were a little surprised about how the kids maybe didn’t even quite understand everything that was available just right there, just a mile west of the school,” according to Roth. “They were a little surprised at some of the technology equipment that we used; some of our advanced engineering equipment that we used for design and detailing.”
The Developing Youth Talent Initiative began in 2015. It has involved 23 school districts and 7,000 students since it began.