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Office of Governor Pete Ricketts

Gov. Ricketts Announces Application Process for the Nebraska Developing Youth Talent Initiative

DED will accept applications until August 7th

Lincoln – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts announced that the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) will accept applications for the Nebraska Developing Youth Talent Initiative (DYTI), a program that will connect young Nebraskans to the manufacturing and technology sectors. DYTI was proposed by the Governor as a part of his budget in January and approved by the Legislature earlier this year.

The Governor originally proposed this initiative in response to rapid innovations in the manufacturing and information technology sectors. Next generation workers in these industries will require advanced skill sets and knowledge to help companies compete in the global economy. Meeting workforce demands will require innovative approaches to develop a youth talent pipeline, and this initiative is a step toward laying the groundwork for that pipeline.

“The Developing Youth Talent Initiative is a great way for our state to connect young people with potential career options,” said Governor Pete Ricketts. “Expanding educational opportunities and creating more and better paying jobs are two of my administration’s top priorities. This initiative will open new horizons for young Nebraskans looking for a career track with good-paying jobs.”

“The Developing Youth Talent Initiative will cultivate an industry-led partnership with schools to assist in specific career learning opportunities in the manufacturing and technology sectors,” said Brenda Hicks-Sorensen, Director of the Department of Economic Development. “It is critical that the state work collaboratively with the private sector to build a workforce with the skills our businesses need in a 21st-century economy.”

Through this initiative, DED will provide financial assistance of up to $125,000 each to two eligible businesses per year in the 2015-16 school year and the 2016-17 school year. Businesses that qualify for DYTI are those in the manufacturing sector or businesses in need of high-skill information technology (IT) professionals. At least one business selected for a grant must be in a county with a population less than 100,000. Grants through DYTI will be provided to private sector for-profit entities. Businesses will be selected by an internal committee within the Department of Economic Development with recommendations shared with the Governor for final approval.

DYTI grant recipients will partner with schools to engage students to participate in hands-on career exploration and relevant workplace learning opportunities. The programs will reach students beginning in the seventh and eighth grades and will demonstrate sustainability and measurable impact. Interest and participation in the program by students may be initial metrics, but measures may also include tracking of course-taking patterns through high school, possible work experiences provided by businesses after initial exposure, and tracking of post-secondary plans.

To apply for the grant, businesses should visit:  

Applications are due by 5:00pm, August 7, 2015 to the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, 301 Centennial Mall South, P.O. Box 94666, Lincoln, NE 68509-4666.

Businesses with questions should contact Linda Black at or 308-991-2986.