Governor Ricketts announces grant winners for the 2021 Youth Talent Initiative

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Press release:

Governor Ricketts announces grant winners for the 2021 Youth Talent Initiative

From left to right: Sign Language Interpreter Thomas Beyer, DED Director Tony Goins

Mel McNea, CEO of Great Plains Health, Governor Ricketts, and President and CEO of Behlen Manufacturing, Phil Raimondo.

The video for today’s press conference is available at by clicking here.

LINCOLN – Today, Gov. Pete Ricketts announced Behlen Manufacturing Company and Great Plains Health as recipients of the Developing Youth Talent Initiative (DYTI) grants for 2021. Launched by the governor in 2015, DYTI introduces high school students to careers in industries such as manufacturing, information and information. technology, engineering and health. DYTI is administered by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED).

“DYTI grants supportive collaborations between the public school system and Nebraska employers to prepare our youth for tomorrow’s races,” Governor Ricketts said. “By introducing high school students to high-demand jobs at the beginning of their studies, we can start them on an educational path to a career that pays off very well here in Nebraska when they graduate.”

DYTI provides competitive grants of up to $ 250,000 to for-profit entrepreneurs, who partner with area middle schools to design and implement an innovative curriculum that inspires seventh- and eighth-grade students to explore manufacturing, technology careers. of information, healthcare and other high-growth industries.

“It is crucial that we contact our students at an early age to illustrate the high-tech and rewarding careers that await them in their hometown, in fields where their talents will be in demand and well compensated,” he said. DED director Anthony L. Goins. “DYTI allows our employers and educators to combine forces to achieve this goal in an engaging and useful way.”

Since its inception, DYTI grants have reached 22,665 students in 59 school districts in Nebraska. In total, more than a dozen companies and more than 60 schools have participated in DYTI since 2015. The two companies receiving today’s awards – Great Plains Health and Behlen Manufacturing Co. – will affect at least 1,800 students more than two counties and seven publics. school districts.

With a $ 134,000 prize, Great Plains Health, in collaboration with the Foundation and the North Platte Public Schools District, will acquire augmented reality and virtual reality equipment to be installed in high school classrooms. Adams and in the simulation lab at the Great Education Plains Health Education Center. This will allow at least 1,200 students across Lincoln County to experience an interactive healthcare curriculum and get involved in internships with the latest technology in the industry. In addition, the grant will help launch the first Healthcare Engage Camp in North Platte in 2022, where students will participate in interactive workshops and explore areas of medicine alongside real-world doctors, nurses and other industry professionals. .

“We appreciate the approach that Governor Ricketts and Nebraska DED have placed on youth talent development throughout Nebraska,” said Mel McNea, CEO of Great Plains Health. “As part of our strategy to close the health care shortage in central West Nebraska, the North Platte Public Schools Foundation and the district and Great Plains Health have been actively involved in the research. in new and innovative ways to develop a channel of young talent interested in health care in Nebraska .. The DYTI grant allows us to deploy interactive and high-tech camps to engage our youth in the health profession and ultimately encourage to stay in Nebraska as adults. ”

Receiving $ 116,000, Behlen Manufacturing will partner with Columbus Middle School to implement the Anchoring Manufacturing, Technology and Entrepreneurship (AMTE) project to improve students ’knowledge and interest in manufacturing, coding, broadcasting and entrepreneurship careers. The effort will be part of a consortium with Dream It Do It and the Nebraska Advanced Manufacturing Coalition (NAMC) and will incorporate an extracurricular program, training for educators and technology and interactive equipment. The program is intended to affect at least 1,200 students.

“Behlen Mfg. Co. is excited to partner with Columbus Middle School and NAMC / Dream It Do It,” said Phil Raimondo, president and CEO of Behlen Mfg. Co. “The DYTI grant program is having a huge impact on Nebraska communities by providing young students with valuable experiences that can spark an interest in viable, demanding career opportunities in manufacturing.”

For more information about the DYTI program, visit

Click here for the full video of today’s press conference.

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