NEBRASKA CITY – State Sen. Dan Watermeier told Nebraska City Rotarians Wednesday that workforce development is key to Nebraska’s economic development.
He said corrections reform and forecasts for a budget shortfall will dominate headlines for the 105th state Legislature and workforce development is part of the answer for both issues.
A recent proposal calls for a $15 million expansion to corrections, including the hiring of 165 new employees. Watermeier said competitive wages and a safe workplace are important to the prison system and effective rehabilitation programs.
It is also becoming more evident, he said, that a focus on employees is a proper philosophy for economic development.
Watermeier: “That’s the problem we have in the state of Nebraska. We’re not able to recruit people across the state line in a flood. There’s no way we’re going to be able to do that, so we’re going to have to try and develop within our own culture.”
He said he is becoming increasingly convinced that investing in Nebraska’s people is the best way to bring jobs into the state.
Perspective on workforce development morphed in recent years.
Watermeier:: A lot of our time and money was spent on developing business incentives and promoting new businesses to come to Nebraska. If something happened to the business and they would happen to leave, all that investment and that work is gone.
I think the key now is, the culture in the whole country is really changing in the fact that you invest in the person and the jobs will come to the person.”
State Sen. Dan Watermeier will serve on the Legislature’s executive committee and performance audit committees in the next legislative session.