Lt. Gov. Mike Foley Recognizes Wayne as Economic Development Certified Community

For the third time in 10 years, the City of Wayne has earned recognition from the State of Nebraska for continued innovation and expansion within its business community. On Tuesday, Lt. Gov. Mike Foley, on behalf of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED), recognized Wayne as an Economic Development Certified Community (EDCC).  Lt. Gov. Foley honored members of Wayne Area Economic Development (WAED) during an industry committee meeting and economic roundtable. DED Business Development Consultant Lyndsy Jenness presented the community’s official EDCC recertification during the City of Wayne’s council meeting on December 18.

Wayne is one of 39 communities to earn EDCC certification in the program, sponsored by the Nebraska Diplomats and administered by DED. State officials established the program in 2005 to recognize communities for their preparedness to attract new industries and grow existing businesses. The City of Wayne earned EDCC certification in 2008 and was recertified in 2013 and 2018.

Over the past decade, the City of Wayne and area economic development leaders have proven their commitment to workforce development, housing development, and business incentives.

The City of Wayne recently partnered with Wayne State College (WSC) and WSC’s Center for Applied Technology (CAT). Completed in 2018, the $15.2 million addition to WSC’s School of Business & Technology was designed to attract first rate students and faculty.  In addition, the project will increase the number of industrial technology teachers, diversified manufacturing administrators, construction and safety managers, drafters, and computer programmers to the facility. The CAT will also provide northeast Nebraska with resources to support management training for industries, encourage ongoing employee development, foster small business entrepreneurs interested in manufacturing and engage in applied industry research.

“For nearly a decade, the City of Wayne strongly encouraged WSC to expand its facilities and programs,” said Cale Giese, Mayor of Wayne. “When the CAT Project became a possibility, the City of Wayne understood the boost it would provide to workforce development in northeast Nebraska. City leaders were quick to support both the CAT Project and WSC.”

“As an Economic Development Certified Community, the City of Wayne understands the vital connection between economic development leaders and Nebraska’s educational institutions,” said Nebraska Diplomats President Jane McDaniel. “By utilizing technology to market local industries, this community is encouraging schools such as Wayne State College to facilitate relationships between business leaders and potential employees.  These efforts support the city’s overall goals to build new opportunities within Nebraska’s workforce.”

The City of Wayne’s Economic Development Program Fund (LB840) provides a local tool for financial assistance to area businesses and community development projects. Following an EF-4 Tornado on Oct. 4, 2013 that impacted the Wayne Industrial Park, the City of Wayne set aside LB840 Funds for businesses adversely affected by the tornado. The city’s LB840 fund provided financial assistance to rebuild the industrial park with minimal loss of businesses and support for business expansions.

“Innovation from local leaders often plays an important role in the success of business retention and expansion within Nebraska’s Economic Development Certified Communities,” Lt. Gov. Foley said. “The City of Wayne’s LB840 Fund is a great example of the community’s commitment to providing economic incentives for local employers. Over the past ten years, the city’s LB840 program has provided more than $3 million in funding to business and community development projects.”

In 2018, the Cities of Wayne and Wakefield partnered with WAED and the Wayne Community Housing Development Corporation (WCHDC) to pursue funding from the newly established Nebraska Rural Workforce Housing Fund (RWHF).  Local matching funds from public and private partnerships garnered $750,000 in local pledges and a $250,000 award from the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority. Ultimately, Wayne and its partners were awarded $639,000 from the RWHF, which stimulated a surge in affordable workforce housing projects in the region.

“By building partnerships, the City of Wayne has been helping to bridge the gap between local students and potential job opportunities, has been making workforce housing more affordable and attainable, and has been retaining and expanding business despite unforeseen natural disasters,” said WAED Executive Director Luke Virgil. “Repeatedly, the City of Wayne has shown that it is a great regional resource for workforce development, housing, and businesses.”

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