Gov. Ricketts (podium) speaks at this morning’s press briefing to announce the 2020 DYTI grant recipients. Video from today’s press conference is available by clicking here.

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts announced Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corp., USA; CLAAS Omaha; and Nucor Detailing Center as the recipients of the Developing Youth Talent Initiative (DYTI) grants for 2020.  Launched by the Governor in 2015, DYTI introduces middle school students to careers in industries such as manufacturing, information technology, engineering, and healthcare.  DYTI is administered by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED).

“To compete and grow, we must connect the next generation of Nebraskans with the opportunities they need to succeed,” said Gov. Ricketts.  “By forging partnerships between schools and local employers, DYTI encourages youth to explore high-demand career paths where talent is needed and great jobs are plentiful.  We appreciate this year’s grant recipients for their commitment to our youth and our state.”

Each year, DED awards $250,000 in DYTI grants to for-profit, Nebraska-based companies in partnership with area school districts.  Together, these consortiums implement programs to inform, engage, and inspire seventh- and eighth-grade students to explore careers in high demand throughout Nebraska.

“By creating a direct link between employers and educators, we’re able to do three things,” said DED Director Anthony L. Goins.  “We can ensure that the real-world labor needs of employers play a role in students’ education; that teachers and educators have a voice when it comes to designing career readiness programs; and that students are made aware of the opportunities awaiting them long before they graduate high school and are expected to choose a career path.”

Receiving this year’s largest DYTI grant of $117,300, Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corp. is the program’s first applicant/recipient from Lincoln.  The company expects to impact up to 9,000 students across 12 Lincoln schools through its grant.  Kawasaki’s DYTI program will feature hands-on activities and instructional videos, virtual field trips, and opportunities for teachers to learn onsite at its facilities.  Kawasaki is tailoring its DYTI program to focus on careers in manufacturing and engineering.

“Kawasaki is excited to partner with Lincoln Public Schools on the project,” said Jim Townsend, Assistant Manager of Safety, Training, and Development at Kawasaki.  “The grant will not only help make this project successful, but will help establish a pipeline for students to enter manufacturing careers and develop our future workforce.”

CLAAS Omaha, in partnership with Metro Community College and other Omaha-area manufacturers, will receive a DYTI grant of $92,300.  CLAAS will create a formal pathway to careers in manufacturing for 315 students enrolled in a north Omaha afterschool program.  The program, managed by Partnership 4 Kids, takes place at five schools and primarily hosts low-income students and students of color.

“We are honored to be a part of this fantastic initiative and proud to contribute in developing youth,” said Matthias Ristow, President of CLAAS Omaha’s Managing Director Business Administration.  “CLAAS is committed to the development of our current employees, as well as future employees.  A program such as this allows students to discover the exciting careers in manufacturing, as well as provides mentors who will take a personal interest in these students.”

Now a two-time DYTI recipient, Nucor Detailing Center in Norfolk will receive $40,400 to create a new curriculum on additive manufacturing—also known as 3D printing.  The company will purchase 3D printers to be used in five area schools, and by any interested school in the surrounding Educational Service Units, to introduce students to cutting-edge design and manufacturing processes.  The program is slated to reach up to 2,000 students across 15 schools.

“The Nucor Detailing Center and all 1,500 area teammates are grateful to have the opportunity to partner with local educators once again to foster student interest in manufacturing and STEM careers,” said Dave Decarolis, a trainer at Nucor.  “We have seen firsthand the tremendous results that can be achieved when programs are created and supported by a coalition of educators, local businesses, and government agencies.  Because of the DYTI program, Nucor has been fortunate to create relationships with amazing educators throughout Northeast Nebraska, and can continue to reach students throughout the region.”

Since its inception, DYTI grants have impacted an estimated 12,000 students across 43 Nebraska school districts.  Today’s awards will nearly double that total, impacting around 11,300 additional students in 17 school districts.  For more information about DYTI, visit the DED website at

Full video of today’s press briefing is available by clicking here.