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Office of Governor Pete Ricketts

A Letter to Nebraska’s Graduates

A Letter to Nebraska’s Graduates

By Governor Pete Ricketts

May 31, 2022


Governor’s official photo here


Dear College Graduates,


Congratulations!  You did it!  You persevered through a once-in-a-century pandemic to earn your degree.  Your disciplined study and hard work have paid off.  You’ve put yourself in a great position to move toward your dreams.  It’s an exciting moment.


As you consider your next step, I encourage you to put down roots in the Good Life.  We want you here in Nebraska.  Our state has a lot to offer: great-paying jobs, family-friendly communities, and an unparalleled quality of life.


There are plenty of great-paying jobs being created in communities all across the state.  Over the past 18 months, we’ve seen major investments from 3M in Valley, AGP in David City, Becton Dickinson in Holdrege, Kawasaki in Lincoln, Novozymes in Blair, Nucor in Norfolk, Monolith Materials in Hallam, Preferred Popcorn in Waco, Scoular in Seward, and more.  At 1.9%, Nebraska currently has the lowest unemployment rate of any state, at any point in history!  There’s never been a better time to be a graduate looking to start a career in Nebraska.  


As established businesses grow in Nebraska, startups are also thriving.  Investors are looking to support young entrepreneurs.  For example, Burlington Capital and Invest Nebraska announced a partnership in September to raise $11 million in seed funds for ag tech innovators.  Companies in Nebraska brought in more venture capital in 2021 than in any previous year. 


In addition to having abundant career opportunities, Nebraska is a great place to raise a family.  There’s a reason why we have the fourth-highest birth rate in the nation.  We have good schools, excellent entertainment for kids such as our world-class zoos and children’s museums, and safe and supportive communities. 


It’s not just my opinion that we have a kid-friendly state.  Nebraska has received national recognition for our children’s well-being.  Our work to improve child welfare was recognized with the Jim Casey Building Communities of Hope Award in January 2020.  In 2021, Nebraska ranked #7 out of 50 states for child well-being according to the Casey Foundation.  Compared to the national average, kids in Nebraska are more likely to be proficient in reading and math, more likely to be physically fit, and more likely to enjoy economic well-being.


While a great place to work and raise a family, Nebraska also has a wonderful quality of life.  We have some of the best turkey, water fowl, and deer hunting anywhere in America.  With nearly 80,000 miles of rivers and streams, Nebraskans have abundant opportunities to fish.  The sandy beaches of Lake McConaughy and the Calamus Reservoir are attractive destinations to soak up the sun or take a swim.  This year, we passed major legislation to enhance water recreation in Nebraska.  We’re constructing a new marina at Lake McConaughy, significantly expanding the marina at Lewis and Clark Lake, and creating a 3,600-acre reservoir between Lincoln and Omaha.


Nebraska also boasts one of the best college sports scenes in the nation.  Omaha is home to the College World Series, will have the NCAA volleyball Final Four in 2022, and regularly hosts the Olympic Swim Trials.  Nebraska Cornhuskers, Creighton Bluejays, UNK Lopers, and Omaha Mavericks athletics are all big draws.  


With these abundant options for recreation and entertainment, it’s no wonder Nebraska ranks as the #6 state in the nation for work-life balance.  In fact, SmartAsset lists both Lincoln and Omaha among the top ten cities in America for work-life balance.  While Nebraskans work hard, we prioritize spending time with our family and friends.  We enjoy the Good Life together—at county fairs, small town festivals, holiday parades, church picnics, and backyard barbecues.


Nebraska has welcoming communities where neighbors are quick to lend a hand.  We’ve seen this through floods, wildfires, and a global pandemic.  Nebraskans give generously to those in need.  We volunteer our time and talents to strengthen our communities.  It’s ingrained in us to take care of one another through thick and thin.


The pandemic has reinforced the attractiveness of our way of life here in Nebraska.  We didn’t shut down our state due to the coronavirus.  As a result, Nebraskans were able to continue spending time with loved ones and engaging in their communities.  People want and need that social connection.  In Nebraska, we made it a priority throughout the pandemic. 


We’ve also made ongoing investments in public safety in Nebraska.  Over the past year, we’ve seen people flee states that have neglected public safety and move to states that respect law and order.  Here in Nebraska, we support our law enforcement 100%, and we’re fully committed to public safety.


I sincerely believe that Nebraska is the best place in the world to live, work, and raise a family.  I hope you’ll choose the Good Life as you begin your career and start your family.  The State has created a website to highlight the many things that make our state great—from our affordable homes to high-quality natural environment.  I invite you to visit it at


If you want to learn more about what Nebraska has to offer graduates, email me at or call 402-471-2244.


Once again, congratulations on your graduation!  May God bless your future plans.  I’m hopeful they’ll lead you to one of the many wonderful communities here in Nebraska!