Hemingford named 1st Leadership Certified Community in Nebraska’s panhandle

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Hemingford named 1st Leadership Certified Community in Nebraska’s panhandle

Hemingford, Neb. (pop. 804) has earned recognition as the state’s first Leadership Certified Community in western Nebraska. Starr Lehl, Business Development Consultant with the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED), honored village board members during a meeting on Tuesday, August 16th.

“The Village of Hemingford is proud and excited to be designated as a Leadership Certified Community,” said Village Board Chairman John Annen. “We appreciate the opportunity to set a standard for economic development in rural Nebraska, and encourage other villages and small communities to work toward this designation.”

Hemingford is the 15th Nebraska community to qualify for DED’s Leadership Certified Community Program (LCC), created in 2011 to help smaller Nebraska communities adapt to ongoing changes and opportunities in economic development. Qualifying communities must demonstrate an understanding for and preparedness in strategic and community planning, as well as display readiness in technological development to help new and existing businesses grow. Certified communities earn designation in the program for five years and are required to update and maintain information and websites.

The City of Alliance’s implementation of an LB840 program in 2002 and again in 2012 helped successfully fund one Hemingford business. Prairies Sky Seed was established in 2013 and currently employs 6 full-time workers.

The community’s focus on workforce development continues to build relationships with the next generation of talented Nebraskans. Since 2010, students from two area high schools participated in Hemingford’s “Business and Industry Day” to learn more about future employment opportunities. The community is planning similar events to connect middle school students with local industry leaders. Ongoing partnerships between school officials, Western Nebraska Community College, Box Butte Development Corporation, Alliance Chamber of Commerce and the Nebraska Department of Labor reinforce efforts by state and local leaders to retain and attract top talent.

Chairman Annen said the certification process encouraged collaboration among Hemingford’s citizens and built morale within the small panhandle community.

“Becoming LCC-certified shows that we are constantly striving to make our town the best it can be; we will continue to work together toward a level of success and excellence.”

For information about the Leadership Certified Community Program,
contact Kelly Gewecke at kelly.gewecke@nebraska.gov , 308-627-3151, or visit