Growing Opportunities in Nebraska’s Manufacturing Industry

By Governor Pete Ricketts

Nebraska is a state known for growing things and making things.  October is Manufacturing Month in Nebraska.  Throughout the month we’ll be celebrating our manufacturers who are making world-class equipment and growing great job opportunities across our state.  There are 97,000 Nebraskans employed in our manufacturing industry.  Whether it’s assembling cargo doors for Kawasaki’s first American aerospace division in Lincoln, welding livestock headgates at Pearson in Thedford, or constructing center pivot irrigation equipment at Valmont in McCook, Nebraska’s manufacturers contribute $13 billion annually towards growing our state.


To celebrate Manufacturing Month and our second largest industry, I am visiting several Nebraska manufacturers this week.  In each year of my administration, the Nebraska Department of Economic Development and I have partnered with the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce to visit manufacturers across our state.  Our annual celebration of manufacturing encourages businesses to promote opportunities in skilled labor through company tours and community events.  This year’s visits will take us to Grand Island, Sidney, Gering, Alliance, Holdrege, and Omaha.


In Nebraska, manufacturing has helped our state grow for many years.  Over the last two years, the industry has helped us reach over 1 million jobs, a record level of non-farm employment for Nebraska.  This year, it also helped Nebraska win the prestigious Governor’s Cup for the most economic development projects per capita.  Investments from manufacturers like Kawasaki, Smeal Fire Apparatus, State Steel, and Worldlawn Power Equipment helped bring this award to our state.


We aren’t taking future growth for granted.  My administration has partnered with Nebraska’s economic development community to encourage future growth by promoting tax reform, cutting red tape, and expanding educational opportunities in fields related to manufacturing.


Passing tax reform would unleash new investment by the state’s manufacturers and aid the state in attracting new firms and job opportunities.  This year, the Revenue Committee advanced the most significant tax reform package in a generation to the floor of the Legislature.  While special interests have attempted to defeat tax reform, I continue to work on proposals with State Senators.  A couple key principles are guiding my work on tax reform.  First, the only way to get sustainable tax relief is by controlling spending.  Second, shifting taxes from one group to another is not tax relief.


My administration is also actively working on a comprehensive review of red tape to cut unnecessary regulations on the state’s manufacturers, entrepreneurs, and job creators.  Right now, Forbes ranks Nebraska as the third best state in the nation for business and number one for regulatory environment.  We cannot stand still if we want to remain competitive, and that’s why this summer I launched a review of all state regulation.  Under the executive order I signed, all agencies are conducting a review of existing and pending agency regulations.  Every state agency will be answering key questions including:  Is the regulation essential to the health, safety, or welfare of Nebraskans?  Do the costs of the regulation outweigh the benefits?  Is the regulation more restrictive than the underlying law that created it?  Our goal is to eliminate a portion of the 7.5 million words in Nebraska’s regulatory code, which includes 100,000 restrictions.


Over the past three years, my administration has successfully partnered with local school districts and businesses to connect students in junior high and beyond with careers in manufacturing.  In 2015, the Legislature and I worked together to create the Developing Youth Talent Initiative (DYTI).  The program is exposing seventh and eighth grade students to Nebraska’s manufacturing and technology sectors through partnerships between businesses and school districts in Broken Bow, Kearney, Hastings, Hebron, Omaha, Scottsbluff, and York.


Our DYTI program has already shown success in growing student interest in manufacturing.  During a program partnership with Distefano in Omaha, DYTI funding provided an opportunity for students to attend new classes in robotics and welding.  After this experience, over 40 percent more students said that they would consider a manufacturing career than before the program.


My team and I appreciate the hard work that our state’s business leaders, educators, and job creators are doing to grow Nebraska through manufacturing.  I hope you’ll join my administration this month in celebrating Nebraska manufacturers.  Throughout the month, I encourage you to share how manufacturing is creating opportunity in your community with my office.  To do so, please call 402-471-2244 or

About katcountryhub
I am a graduate of Northeast Community College with a degree in journalism. I am married to Jeff Gilliland. We have two grown children, Justin and Whitney and four grandchildren, Grayce, Grayhm, Charli and Penelope. I will be covering Lyons, Decatur, Bancroft and Rosalie and am hoping to expand my horizons as time progresses!

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