Connect with us

Nebraska

Ignite Nebraska tackling metro talent shortage with new program

Published

on

Ignite Nebraska tackling metro talent shortage with new program


OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – It’s a new program known as “10 x 10.” Its goal is to help people get ready for entry level jobs in health care, insurance, and banking.

Ignite Nebraska is behind the effort. They’re known as a local nonprofit that helps people move up in their careers. In their new program, those looking for a job will learn soft skills like communication and time management, and also learn technical skills, including basic computer skills.

“It’s nothing like having your first day on the job and you don’t have any experience with Microsoft Office,” Kellee Mikuls, Ignite executive director said. “Many traditional candidates that have gone to college or have been in the workforce for a long time,” She said. “They are comfortable with using excel, scheduling a zoom meeting, and knowing how to dress in a corporate environment, but our 10 by 10 really ready’s this entry level pipeline so they can be successful.”

The nonprofit’s executive director then told 6 News that the talent shortage is critical across the state.

Advertisement

“We really look at that 18 and older population that has a GED but haven’t been in the workforce or have been in the work force, but not the traditional corporate environment,” Mikuls said. “It’s this untapped talent pool that people aren’t looking at; So we’re investing in those people giving them the support so we expand the talent pool in Nebraska.”

The program lasts for 10 weeks and will begin in July. There are no costs to be apart of it, but you do have to apply. For more information click here.



Source link

Advertisement

Nebraska

Nebraska leads with new veteran justice program, aiming to steer veterans back to ‘hero status’ • Nebraska Examiner

Published

on

Nebraska leads with new veteran justice program, aiming to steer veterans back to ‘hero status’ • Nebraska Examiner


LINCOLN — A national panel of senior military and criminal justice leaders is hailing Nebraska landmark legislation that they say could help restore justice-impacted veterans to “hero status.”

State Sen. Tom Brewer. April 25, 2023. (Zach Wendling/Nebraska Examiner)

Nebraska state lawmakers voted 44-0 in April to approve Legislative Bill 253 and create new veteran justice programs statewide, beginning July 1, 2025. Such programs would include evidence-based treatment and case plans for eligible veterans that would specifically address military service-connected conditions that contributed to criminal offenses.

Former U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, chair of the Veterans Justice Commission of the Council on Criminal Justice, and a former U.S. senator from Nebraska, said he’s proud Nebraska is the first state to adopt recommendations from the 15-member commission. 

“I’m not surprised that Nebraska would be leading the way of all the states in this,” Hagel said.

Advertisement

Nebraska leads the way in legislation

Hagel, who served in Vietnam, said he learned growing up how there was a World War II veteran in nearly every house in Nebraska and it was evident Nebraskans appreciated their veterans.

The commission has outlined state-level and federal recommendations, with Nebraska being the first state to adopt legislation based on the commission’s policy framework. State Sens. Tom Brewer, Justin Wayne and Lou Ann Linehan ushered it through the Legislature this year.

Brewer, a military veteran of 36 years, led LB 253 alongside Wayne, chair of Nebraska’s Judiciary Committee, and Linehan, a former campaign manager and chief of staff for Hagel in Congress.

From left, Jim Seward, director of the Council on Criminal Justice Veterans Justice Commission; Chuck Hagel, chair of the commission, former U.S. Defense Secretary and former U.S. senator from Nebraska; and Brock Hunter, adviser for the commission, at the Nebraska State Capitol earlier this year. (Courtesy of Council on Criminal Justice)

Hagel said the legislation calls attention to an often overlooked issue: the transition from active duty to civilian life, a transition that more than 200,000 active-duty members make each year. Difficulties in making that shift have  been exacerbated after the country’s two longest wars, in Afghanistan and Iraq, he added.

“Because of an all-volunteer force, the same people kept going back and back and back,” Hagel said. “It wasn’t unusual to find veterans who had four or five, six tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Brewer, who has two Purple Hearts, is one such veteran. His service included six tours in Afghanistan. He’s also made multiple volunteer trips to support Ukraine, including this month.

Advertisement

Brewer described the legislation as supporting combat-impacted veterans who have made mistakes but who should be treated with respect because of their service to the country.

“Many times that exposure causes issues that they would not normally have in their lives, therefore that’s why their treatment should be uniquely different,” Brewer said in a text. “But it’s not a free ride — if you wanna make mistakes and continue to make mistakes, you will have a harder life than others.”

Civilian life ‘a whole different world’

Hagel said simply that the “transition process is not good” and noted that many service members enlist in their teens and get out 20 years later.

“We could derail a lot of these veterans from getting in trouble with the law or going to jail if we had that upfront transitioning help,” Hagel said.

His commission has aimed to replicate the veteran justice program in other states and aimed higher for congressional and federal action, with Hagel tapping into connections with former U.S. Senate colleagues and federal leaders.

Advertisement
Soldiers from Fort. Lee, Virginia, help mark Veterans Day ceremonies at the World War II Memorial Nov. 11, 2011, in Washington, D.C. Veterans Day in the United States honors those who have served in the nation’s military and also coincides with the anniversary of the conclusion of hostilities on the western front in World War I. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

One goal is a U.S. Department of Defense undersecretary whose job would be easing the process of transitioning from military service to civilian life.

“One day you’re in a uniform and you’ve had your years and years of being in an institution where there’s structure that you worked hard in, that you admire and you respect,” Hagel said. “And all of a sudden, you’re out — it’s a whole different world.”

According to the Council on Criminal Justice, roughly one in three veterans report being arrested or booked in jail at least once. The suicide rate for veterans is approximately 1.5 times higher than the rate among the general population and even higher for veterans after incarceration.

Under Nebraska’s legislation, all criminal courts — not just specialized courts, which have been established in four of Nebraska’s 93 counties — could consider whether there is “clear and convincing evidence” that a condition related to military service contributed to a criminal offense.

Returning to ‘hero status’

In 1997, Nebraska approved problem-solving courts and expanded them in 2016 to include Veterans Treatment Courts. These are 18- to 24-month intervention programs similar to the new policies advanced this year.

Across the country, 14% of counties operate similar, specialized veterans courts, though eligibility requirements exclude many veterans.

Advertisement

“The Veterans Justice Commission wanted an alternative to complement Veterans Treatment Courts, and that’s what this model policy does,” Jim Seward, commission director, said.

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, center, is joined by Brock Hunter, left, and Jim Seward of the Council on Criminal Justice Veterans Justice Commission. Feb. 23, 2024. (Zach Wendling/Nebraska Examiner)

Seward said Nebraska has more than 200 veterans in its correctional system. He said it’s hard to say how many fewer would still be sitting in prison had the new law been in place sooner.

“But I would venture to guess somewhere in the neighborhood of half of them would have been considered for this more intensive, evidence-based treatment program,” Seward said.

Seward said every criminal judge in Nebraska, from Alliance or Scottsbluff to Nebraska City, could recognize a defendant’s veteran status and determine whether there is a connection to the alleged crime.

“If the judge decides that it is, they have this opportunity to build a therapeutic treatment plan for the individual, partnering with the VA and vet centers and all the resources that that brings to bear … to really try and help that veteran get back to what we like to say, ‘hero status,’” Seward said.

“They came home a hero — something went wrong,” Seward continued.

Advertisement

Minnesota passed similar legislation a few years ago, Seward said, but before the Veterans Justice Commission developed the policy framework.

Program parameters

State Sen. Justin Wayne addresses a pre-hearing briefing on the amendment he worked on with State Sens. Tom Brewer, who reprsents north-central Nebraska, and Lou Ann Linehan of Elkhorn. (Aaron Sanderford/Nebraska Examiner)

Under the Nebraska bill, veterans are not eligible if their alleged offense is ineligible for probation, or in other select circumstances, such as if someone died as a result of the alleged crime or if the offense would qualify someone for the Sex Offender Registry

If necessary for public safety, a veteran might still receive a prison sentence.

If eligible, a veteran’s case plan would be developed with court probation and appropriate experts and would:

  • Include input from the veteran.
  • Assess specific risks and needs, including whether there is a risk of intimate partner violence.
  • Set clear and individualized goals, such as rules, consequences and incentives.

Veteran service status could be used as a mitigating factor but not an aggravating one in determining a sentence. Victims or alleged victims would need to be notified of program eligibility and could request to be part of the veteran’s restorative program.

Nebraska’s state court administrator will record how many veterans receive, decline or are denied participation in the program and will track the outcomes of those who are approved.

An annual report will be issued to the Judiciary Committee beginning July 1, 2026, regarding program completion, recidivism and housing and employment status per veteran. The data will include race, ethnicity, age, military discharge characterization and the involved offense.

Advertisement

‘Great example for the country’

Seward and Hagel said the country does a good job in supporting veterans with visible wounds — such as amputations — but not as much in supporting “invisible wounds,” such as post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury, which could trigger veterans turning to substances to cope.

“We train them to be part of the most lethal force in the world, and when they come home, many of them struggle to just turn off that switch,” Seward said.

Seward said the commission has continued to work with various organizations, including the national associations for governors, state legislatures, district attorneys and defense attorneys, as well as various state supreme court chief justices.

“It’s really, obviously, a first step, but this is how momentum begins and how change begins,” Seward said.

State Sen. Lou Ann Linehan of Elkhorn, left, meets with State Sens. Anna Wishart of Lincoln, center, and Lynne Walz of Fremont. April 9, 2024. (Zach Wendling/Nebraska Examiner)

Hagel said he took note of some of the transition challenges during his time as defense secretary for former President Barack Obama and talked with the joint chiefs about the need to do better. 

He said Nebraskans should be proud that state lawmakers projected the state “into a real leadership role when it comes to taking care of our veterans,” which can be a model for others.

Advertisement

At least 10 states are in active talks with the commission, Seward said, and many are lining up “policy champions” to step up, a title he bestowed upon Linehan, Brewer and Wayne.

“It’s a huge effort to try to pass a law in 50 states, but you have to begin somewhere,” Seward said. “Starting in Nebraska, starting in the center of the nation, starting in a state that is, I think, well-known for reasonable politics that are not hyperpartisan, I think it’s a great example for the country.”



Source link

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Nebraska

Drought improving but still hanging around southeast Nebraska

Published

on

Drought improving but still hanging around southeast Nebraska


LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – The drought is easing in Nebraska, but it’s stubborn in some spots, mainly the southeast part of the state.

On Thursday, the Lincoln-based National Drought Mitigation Center released a map showing that only 20% of the state is in drought.

At this time last year, practically the entire state was parched.

Today, most of Lancaster County is still in moderate drought, though things are improving.

Advertisement

SEE ALSO: Nebraska farmer says wet spring is setting harvest up for success

Tom Peterson, a farmer near Waverly, said the increase in rain gives him hope, but there is still room for improvement.

“We might be able to raise a crop, get enough grass for the cows,” said Peterson. ” I mean, the subsoil moisture isn’t there yet. We’re getting soaked up from the top down, and it hasn’t gotten that far down yet.”

Peterson said growing was difficult in 2023, but this year is looking better.

“The rains have been nice and soaking,” he said. “And that’s beneficial to getting our corn crop and our bean crop off to a good start. Give them the best start they can, and then you got to hope you’re going to continue to get those rains over the summers to keep feeding those things.”

SEE ALSO: Nebraska farmers ‘cautiously optimistic’ as planting begins

While his grass and crops are growing, Peterson said some of the creeks and ponds on his property could use a little more moisture.

Advertisement

“Those ponds are actually ground fed,” he said. “So the water level underneath is what actually brings the water level up in those ponds.

Peterson said once those ponds start to fill, that will be a sign that the drought is no more.

SEE ALSO: ‘Are we going to have a crop?’: Nebraska farmers worried about drought

He is hopeful that Friday morning’s storm will be productive and not destructive.

“We got a good grass stand to start with now, and there’s a good start with that for the cows,” he said. “But if that floods over, that lays all that grass over, covers some of it with mud. And, you know, you lose a lot of tonnage, a lot of a lot of meals for the cows.”

Peterson does not use irrigation, so he’s hoping Mother Nature will give him a helping hand.

Advertisement

“She takes good care of things, most of the time,” he said. “If we don’t have to haul water to the cows, that’s great … We’re dryland farmers. But you know, if Mother Nature gives us a shower every now and then, it’s very beneficial, and you don’t have to sit there and hope for rain.”

SEE ALSO: The latest forecast from the Storm Alert Team





Source link

Continue Reading

Nebraska

Nebraska economic indicator increases 0.42% in April

Published

on

Nebraska economic indicator increases 0.42% in April


LINCOLN, Neb. (Nebraska Today) – Nebraska’s Leading Economic Indicator, designed to predict economic activity six months into the future, rose 0.42% in April.

“The monthly report suggests the Nebraska economy will grow during the fourth quarter of 2024,” said economist Eric Thompson, director of the Bureau of Business Research, department chair and K.H. Nelson College Professor of Economics. “Overall, while the Nebraska economy struggled in the first quarter of 2024, growth is expected to accelerate mid-year and continue through to the fourth quarter.”

The six components of the indicator are business expectations, building permits for single-family homes, airline passenger counts, initial claims for unemployment insurance, the value of the U.S. dollar and manufacturing hours worked. Three components improved during April.

Advertisement

“Nebraska manufacturing hours worked grew again in April, as the state and national manufacturing industry continued to strengthen,” Thompson said. “The labor market also strengthened during April.”

Business expectations were positive, as respondents to the April Survey of Nebraska Business reported plans to increase sales and employment over the next six months. Initial claims for unemployment insurance also fell.

Read the full report and a technical report describing the indicators.

Click here to subscribe to our 10/11 NOW daily digest and breaking news alerts delivered straight to your email inbox.

Advertisement



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending