Executive Director September Update

AREA News, Events, News, Photo Feature - 10.01.18

It is always inspiring to head back to work after Heritage Days. The highlight of the week for me was the Norris Prayer Breakfast. Wallis Marsh returned from Texas to talk about how the time he spent in McCook helped shape him to become the success he is today. When talking about his class, he said they all worked together to make each other better and referred to it as ‘cooperative competition’. Working together to make each other better is something I still see in this area and is important this month at the MEDC in a couple issues.

First, we are working to improve early childhood education in the McCook area. We have some great people working at child care facilities and in-home daycares, but if you have an infant, you know how difficult it is to find a spot. High quality child care is important to help couples continue to work and provide the foundation their children need to be successful.

This week, we will submit an application to the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation to participate in their Communities for Kids program. The Communities for Kids initiative was created in response to community request for assistance with shortages of high-quality early care and education programs – shortages that both impact children’s optimal development and pose a challenge for communities hoping to attract and retain the viable workforces needed to thrive. We have assembled a local core team that contains child care providers, major employers, and interested individuals who hope to work with Nebraska Children to come up with long-term solutions for childcare in the McCook area. If you have thoughts or would like to become more involved in this, let me know.

This month, we will convene task forces to help us develop our next strategic plan. Some of the main topics we’ll focus on including housing, business retention, expansion, and transitions, workforce development, entrepreneurship, and recruitment. Some of the questions I have going into our task force meetings include:

  • What would be the best incentives we could provide to improve our housing?
  • How can we help businesses transition to the next generation of owners?
  • How do we develop the next generation of business owners?
  • What programs and awareness will help us train and recruit people to fill the jobs we already have available?
  • What new educational programs do we need to develop to meet our employment needs?
  • How do we encourage entrepreneurship and help startups take off successfully?

There are a variety of other questions, but if you have thoughts on any of these topics, please let me know so we can consider it as we develop our strategic plan.

Finally, I would encourage you to attend the Mid-Plains Community College Public Input Session October 23 at 5:30 p.m. at the student union. I have firsthand knowledge on how important this information is in planning the college’s strategic plan. The college is a great local asset and it is important for local employers and McCook Community College to be able to expand the technical offerings. There is the opportunity to work with area high schools on this expansion, but we need to speak up and offer to help where we can.

If you have thoughts on any of the following, please let me know at andy@mccookne.org or 308-345-1200.