LINCOLN – On Friday, Governor Pete Ricketts announced this year’s grant recipients for the Nebraska Developing Youth Talent Initiative (DYTI). Launched by Governor Ricketts in 2015, DYTI supports partnerships between local Nebraska businesses and area public schools to engage 7th and 8th grade students in manufacturing and information technology (IT) career exploration programs. Nucor Detailing Center of Norfolk and Reinke Manufacturing of Deshler received grants this year to support DYTI program activities.
“The Developing Youth Talent Initiative is preparing young people across Nebraska for great-paying opportunities in our state’s manufacturing and IT industries,” said Governor Ricketts. “At the same time, Nebraska’s job creators are connecting with the highly-skilled, highly-trained workforce they are working to recruit. Congratulations to this year’s grant winners, Nucor Detailing Center and Reinke Manufacturing, and a special thank you to our parents and teachers, who are helping educate our youth and grow Nebraska’s future.”
The Governor launched DYTI in response to a growing nationwide demand for manufacturing and IT professionals with technical and problem-solving skills. Under the program, in-state manufacturing and IT businesses collaborate with local public schools to create and implement engaging, hands-on middle school curricula to promote interest and cultivate basic skills relevant to workforce needs. Becton Dickinson Life Sciences, for example, a 2017 DYTI recipient, operates an interactive “STEM Mobile Lab” to promote skills in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Since its first year, 23 school districts have participated in DYTI, and the program has impacted around 7,000 students.
“DYTI introduces students to concepts and career ideas that maybe they’ve had only limited exposure to in the past,” said Nebraska Department of Economic Development Director Dave Rippe. “And it does so in a really engaging way, where students are able to connect otherwise abstract concepts to real-world applications. If we can forge connections with students and help even a handful approach high school with an understanding of how important STEM skills are in today’s workforce, then I think we have already succeeded.”
DYTI is grounded in studies showing that students involved in similar programs show increased interest and are more likely to pursue careers in STEM fields. In past years, DYTI has resulted in higher student enrollment in science and technical courses among incoming high school freshmen, as well as greater interest in pursuing technical careers after graduation.
Nucor Detailing Center and Reinke Manufacturing each received $125,000 under the program this year to design and implement DYTI programs.
“Nucor Detailing Center is proud to partner with Norfolk Public, Stanton, Battle Creek, Madison, and Pierce schools to engage area 7th and 8th grade students in hands-on learning opportunities in a fun and interesting way,” said Cindy Morrow, Nucor Detailing Center Manager. “We believe that supplementing the current technical courses available to our area students will lead to a strong future workforce.”
“Reinke has enjoyed a long partnership with Deshler Public Schools, and we’re very excited about the Developing Youth Talent Initiative,” said Chris Roth, Reinke President. “The program will allow us to further enhance our advanced manufacturing curriculum within the school system, and ultimately help us train and recruit the next generation’s workforce.”
Following today’s announcement, Governor Ricketts will visit Deshler and Norfolk to tour the facilities of this year’s recipients.
How Businesses Qualify for the Nebraska Developing Youth Talent Initiative
Businesses that qualify for DYTI are those in the manufacturing sector or businesses in need of high-skill information technology professionals. DYTI grants are provided to private sector for-profit entities. Businesses are selected by independent scoring by a multiple agency committee.
DYTI grant recipients partner with schools to engage students to participate in hands-on career exploration and relevant workplace learning opportunities. The programs reach students beginning in the 7th and 8th grades and must demonstrate sustainability and measurable impact. Student interest and participation in the program may be used as initial metrics, but measures may also include tracking of course-taking patterns through high school, possible work experiences provided by businesses after initial exposure, and tracking of post-secondary plans.
Past DYTI grant recipients include:
· 2015: Flowserve in Hastings, and Hollman Media, LLC, of Kearney
· 2016: MetalQuest in Hebron and Distefano in Omaha
· 2017: Aulick Industries of Scottsbluff, Becton Dickinson of Broken Bow, and Cyclonaire of York