Governor Pete Ricketts traveled to Hastings, McCook, and Omaha today to celebrate the state’s second largest industry.
The Governor met with Hastings Middle and High School students who have been involved with programming developed as the result of a $125,000 Youth Talent Development Initiative grant awarded to The Flowserve Corp. in 2015. Hastings High School was named the Nebraska Career Education Outstanding Secondary Program in 2015, and area public schools went through a revision process to ensure that they were aligning areawide industry needs with educational offerings. A Career Pathways program is focused long-term on increasing the number of graduates from Hastings Public Schools skilled and technical programs beginning with Hastings Middle School students.
While in McCook, the Governor met with officials from Valmont Industries and MidPlains Community College.Their discussion focused on how collaborative efforts between industries and educational institutions can grow the overall manufacturing workforce in Nebraska. For example, in 2009 a new Center for Applied Science and Technology (CAST) welding and machine shop opened on U.S. Highway 6-34 thanks to the efforts of a half-dozen partners, including Valmont Industries and MidPlains Community College. The partners viewed their cooperative efforts in establishing the CAST facility as an opportunity to teach welding and machine shop skills to high school and college students in preparation for entering those industries.
At both stops in Hastings and McCook, representatives were on hand to share information about the jobs that are available at their companies along with various educational tracts, including Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) that students may pursue in order to qualify for employment.
The last stop was to the national “I Make America” event at CLAAS of America in Omaha. The Governor, U.S. Congressman Brad Ashford, Leif Magnusson, President of CLAAS Global Sales, and other local elected officials delivered public remarks to CLAAS employees and suppliers at the company’s state-of-the-art facility. Farm equipment manufacturers, alone, support tens of thousands of jobs and contribute $51 billion to the U.S. economy.
The day wrapped up with a factory tour and Ride ‘N Drive—a demonstration by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) of self-propelled U.S. manufactured company equipment. CLAAS of America supports Manufacturing Day as part of AEM, the global trade association, representing manufacturers of heavy equipment, and related parts and services industries.