Photo left to right: Jason Ball, Luke Peltz – Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development; Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird; Dave Honz – Nebraska Department of Economic Development

Lincoln Mayor cites EDCC program as a catalyst in the city’s ‘commitment to growth’ through support for business investments and local entrepreneurs.

The State of Nebraska has recognized economic and government leaders in the city of Lincoln (pop. 292,657) for their growing commitment to business and workforce development. This week, the Nebraska Diplomats and the Department of Economic Development (DED) announced the City’s certification in the Economic Development Certified Community (EDCC) program. State and City officials commemorated Lincoln’s success in economic growth during a press conference on Monday, March 25th.  DED’s Southeast Nebraska Business Development Consultant Dave Honz joined local leaders at the event, which helped designate the community as the state’s newest member in the EDCC program.

The Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development (LPED) collaborated with the City of Lincoln to earn membership as an EDCC. Lincoln is one of 41 communities involved in the statewide program, which is sponsored by the Nebraska Diplomats and administered by DED. Nebraska leaders established the EDCC program in 2005 to recognize communities for preparedness to attract new industries and expand existing businesses. Qualifying communities must identify a well-defined program that actively engages with existing businesses to offer a supportive environment for economic growth. This includes documenting available sites and buildings, creating local financing and incentive programs, and implementing strategic planning for new development.

“The City of Lincoln thanks the Department of Economic Development for recognizing our community as an economic leader in Nebraska,” said Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird. “This designation reflects our commitment to grow the great life in Lincoln by supporting local businesses, attracting new investment, and creating a vibrant hub of opportunity and innovation.”

Local leaders work consistently to create a welcoming environment for new businesses by building relationships with companies across the country. Last year, Google formally announced plans to build a $600 million data center in North Lincoln.

Over the past couple years, the community celebrated the development of several significant business expansions. Duncan Aviation last year committed to a $66 million project at its Lincoln facility, which will include a new hangar and storage facility. In 2022, food manufacturer Instinct started work on the company’s new 250,000 SF facility. Military service provider General Dynamics Ordinance and Tactical Systems, which manufactures high performing composite structures, completed work on a 114,000 SF expansion in 2023.

As LPED leaders continue to facilitate business development efforts, Vice President

Luke Peltz pointed to the City’s EDCC designation as another avenue for growth.

“In addition to highlighting Lincoln’s ongoing dedication to foster a community where businesses can thrive, becoming an EDCC also positions our community to continue attracting new businesses and building on our strong tradition of innovation and workforce development,” Peltz said. “This important certification reaffirms Lincoln’s position as a dynamic hub for community advancement and economic vitality.”

Peltz and his team have prioritized incentivizing talented local citizens to build their careers in Lincoln. The Lincoln Manufacturing Council recently created a Manufacturing Skills Certificate, which complements the already established Lincoln Manufacturing Basics Certificate. Last year,  LMC saw 79 individuals obtain employment, get a pay increase, or earn a credential as a result of all of its programs. 

LPED also coordinates the EmployLNK program. EmployLNK is a network of workforce development organizations that support job seekers in finding employment and training opportunities. The network serves as a hub for local employers to efficiently promote job and work-based learning opportunities through career fairs, business tours, talent newsletter announcements, and more. EmployLNK facilitates employer connections to thousands of job seekers and students across Lincoln.

Entrepreneur development serves as an additional focal point in building Lincoln’s workforce. Startup Week, created by StartupLNK, hosted 750 local entrepreneurs during its annual event in 2023. 

The community’s LaunchLNK program also provides significant support for Lincoln’s startup ecosystem. Since the program’s introduction in 2018, 24 LauchLNK alumni have collectively raised more than $95 million in follow-on funding and grants. LPED recently announced its expansion of the LaunchLNK program, which will award $20,000 grants to six local startup companies that have committed to Lincoln expansion projects. The program’s 2024 investments will help develop a variety of industries in Lincoln, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), agriculture, and upholstery services. 

For additional information on the Economic Development Certified Community Program, contact Ashley Rice-Gerlach at 308-655-0919 or, or visit