Jul 30 2019

Blueprint Nebraska Report Goes Live


LINCOLN – State, private sector leaders, agricultural and civic leaders from across the state today delivered the Blueprint Nebraska report to state residents and businesses during a livestream event hosted from Omaha, Lincoln and Broken Bow.

Governor Pete Ricketts and the University of Nebraska, represented by Interim President-Elect Susan Fritz, joined the Blueprint Nebraska cochairs – Chairman, President and CEO of Union Pacific Corporation Lance Fritz of Omaha and President and CEO of 21st Century Holdings Owen Palm of Scottsbluff – and several members of the statewide coalition for the rollout.

“I want to extend my sincere thanks to each and every one of the people who has devoted their time to providing input with the help of a team of facilitators, augmented with outside research,” said Ricketts. “I hope Nebraskans will thoughtfully weigh the merit of these proposals as the dialogue on how to best move our state forward continues.”

“The University of Nebraska remains invested in delivering the type of education needed to meet Nebraska’s evolving economic needs,” Susan Fritz said. The University has launched several initiatives to assist, including a data tracking system to follow students through their educational careers, track graduation rates and track career placement. Such a system would be beneficial, not only to the university, but to state and community colleges.

Lance Fritz and Palm said the vision of Blueprint Nebraska is to create a new standard of prosperity for all Nebraskans by leveraging and enhancing the economic advantages or “growth themes” that already make Nebraska strong – our people, our places (communities and land resources), our unique government structure, and our strong business sectors (agriculture, manufacturing, finance, insurance and more.)
As part of the announcement, young professionals Andrew Prystai, CEO and co-founder of Events Vesta in Omaha, Mitch Hunt, CEO of Huntrex in Broken Bow, and Kayla Meyer, Young Professionals Group coordinator for the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development shared initial reactions to the report.

“Business thrives when we have the best talent at our disposal and young workers are only going to come here if they feel welcome,” said Meyer. “I look forward to the state of Nebraska stepping up and being a true welcoming neighbor, no matter what race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or handicap.”

The report’s 15 initiatives would help address challenges identified in each growth theme. Progress over the next several years will be measured against a series of economic indicators and rankings. Going forward, the Blueprint project structure will evolve into four councils to identify the best tactics for delivering results, including additional research and cost analysis. The goal is to roll out five related initiatives per quarter through mid-2020.

Meyer also noted the state’s efforts in making housing more affordable in communities across Nebraska, a key issue identified in the Blueprint report.

“Housing affordability is important to the economic vitality of communities by attracting and retaining employees to our communities—a selling point and a competitive advantage for area employers,” Meyer noted.

“The growth that we’ve witnessed in Lincoln and in Nebraska in the last ten years is astounding. I believe that Blueprint Nebraska will be able to build on that momentum.”

A summary and the full report, as well as a recording of the announcement, is available at https://blueprint-nebraska.org.