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Grow Your Operations In Nebraska

There are many reasons why Site Selection magazine – for two years in a row – has awarded Nebraska its prestigious Governor’s Cup. In both 2016 and 2017, Nebraska claimed the most economic development projects per capita.  In 2017, Omaha was best among metro areas with populations of 200,000 to 1 million with 42 projects, while Lincoln finished ninth with 27 projects. The Sioux City metro area, which includes part of Nebraska, finished first among metro areas with fewer than 200,000 people. And Nebraska finished in the top six for most projects in its smaller cities.

Why Nebraska?

Located in the heart of the heartland, the Cornhusker State is home to a strong free-market system. As a result, Nebraska is also home to some of America’s leading businesses and industries – from internet and computer technology, advanced manufacturing, agribusiness and business services, to insurance and banking, transportation, health care and biosciences.

Fueled by a dedicated, hard-charging and talented workforce, Nebraska boasts one of the lowest jobless rates in the United States. A strong entrepreneurial spirit resides here, as small businesses remain a key component to the state’s overall well-being.

At the same time, Nebraska’s business community is bolstered with the presence of national and international headquarters of many well-known names, including several Fortune 1000 companies such as Berkshire Hathaway, Union Pacific Corporation, Peter Kiewit Sons, TD Ameritrade, West Corporation, Werner Enterprises, Valmont Industries, Green Plains Renewable Energy, and Mutual of Omaha.

When considering factors such as business costs, labor, regulations, legal climate, economic climate and quality of life, Nebraska has few peers.  According to the national comparisons, Nebraska is extremely competitive in the areas of regulatory environment, quality of life and overall business costs – including labor and energy.  Nebraska also receives high marks for its economic development incentives.

Best In Nation For Regulations

It’s no wonder that experts like those at Forbes magazine and Pollina Corporate Real Estate have ranked Nebraska as one of America’s best states in which to do business.

In fact, Nebraska has been in the top 10 of Forbes’ “Best States for Business” study for the past decade and was ranked among the study’s top four states in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Of the six main categories used by Forbes, Nebraska is a top-10 performer in three of them – regulatory climate, quality of life and business costs.

In CNBC’s annual “America’s Top States for Business” comparison, Nebraska came in second for lowest cost of doing business in 2018.

Unemployment insurance tax is another area in which Nebraska is a leader. The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council in 2018 ranked Nebraska fourth lowest cost in this important category – important to employers since they pay 100 percent unemployment insurance costs.

Nebraska’s Business & Workforce Incentives

One factor behind Nebraska’s strong showing in many national rankings is the Nebraska Advantage Act, the state’s primary business incentives program.

Since its implementation in 2006, the Nebraska Advantage Act has played a role in creating thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in capital investments. Also since 2006, Nebraska has maintained one of the lowest jobless rates in the nation, while the state’s GDP has exceeded the U.S. average.

It’s important to note that Nebraska’s business incentives are not just for large companies. In fact, one recent analysis showed that of the 535 businesses that had applied for Nebraska Advantage incentives, approximately 75 percent had fewer than 100 employees – and many were located in rural areas.

To learn more about the Nebraska Advantage Act incentives program, visit the Department of Economic Development’s site at www.opportunity.nebraska.gov.

It should also be noted that in recent years, Nebraska has laid a solid foundation to grow our workforce by placing more focus on the skills needed by employers, as well as more emphasis on available housing in communities outside of Omaha and Lincoln. Some examples include:

  • InternNE: The Nebraska Chamber has been a strong advocate of the state-administered internship program, which was created in 2011 to give 2- and 4-year college students more work opportunities in the state. Chamber-supported legislation (LB1093) expanded the program to 11th and 12th graders. This creative program matches students with employers in high-growth, high-demand industries. It’s estimated that nearly 50 percent of interns go on to become full-time employees at their places of internship. If you’re an employer, or a student looking for a paid internship, go to InternNE.com to register online.
  • Workforce housing: Over the past three years, the Nebraska Legislature has passed and the governor has signed important bills (LB1059, LB518 and LB496) to address Nebraska’s workforce housing shortages, which hinder hiring in most of Nebraska’s communities. By being able to dedicate more local and state funds to incent the private sector to build new homes, Nebraska communities certainly have more tools to address their housing needs than they did just a few short years ago.
  • Career academies: Perhaps the most positive trend in workforce development in recent years is the establishment of career academies and vocational training for high school students, such as Grand Island’s Career Pathways Institute. These academies produce a pipeline of skilled high school graduates who can go to work immediately in well-paying career fields such as manufacturing, IT, automotive repair, health care, construction and drafting. 
  • Job training: Nebraska offers programs to help businesses train and develop workers, using the assistance of local community colleges. Programs like the Nebraska Customized Job Training Advantage helps ensure the state’s workforce is prepared for rapidly changing technology and industries.
  • Dream It! Do It!: Nebraska is one of 30 states with “Dream It! Do It!” programs.  This private-sector initiative educates high schoolers about careers in advanced and high-tech manufacturing, and is working to close the nation’s skills gap by encouraging more focus on science, technology, math and engineering.
  • Nebraska’s Developing Youth Talent Initiative: The Developing Youth Talent Initiative (DYTI) creates collaboration between Nebraska businesses and public schools. This state grant program connects young Nebraskans in seventh and eighth grades to learning opportunities in the Manufacturing and IT industries and can play an important role in their decision to build their careers in our state. Employers who receive grants partner with schools to engage students in participation of hands-on career exploration and relevant workplace-learning opportunities.

Businesses interested in applying for DYTI grants should call the Nebraska Department of Economic Development at (402) 840-0831.