Last month, leaders in government, business, agriculture and higher education announced the launch of Blueprint Nebraska, a new, statewide economic development initiative. This effort is aimed at creating a comprehensive plan to help Nebraska set its course for the future. Dividends Nebraska applauds the vision for this project as well as the leadership that is actively moving it forward.

We're happy to say that three Dividends Nebraska organizations are represented in the project's steering committee—Union Pacific Corporation (Lance Fritz, serving as co-chair), News Channel Nebraska (Mike Flood), and Behlen Manufacturing Co. (T.R. Raimondo). These leaders, along with other experts across 15 distinct subject areas, will be charged with delving into key issues related to their specializations and informing the initiative's final plan.  Even so, it is not yet clear that quality early care and learning issues will be specifically addressed by any of the 15 Industry Councils involved in Blueprint Nebraska.  

An overwhelming amount of credible evidence clearly indicates that quality child care and early learning opportunities play a critical role in the long-term prosperity of individual communities and states. This is why any comprehensive analysis of Nebraska's trajectory needs to account for this aspect of economic development. It is our responsibility as business leaders to ensure these issues are embedded into the conversations around Blueprint Nebraska.

This is a unique opportunity to represent the facts about an often overlooked, but extremely critical factor in the long-term prosperity of our state.

Blueprint Nebraska has announced a series of hearings in 30 locations during the year ahead to gather feedback directly from different communities and economic regions around the state. While those meetings have not yet been scheduled, we're encouraging Dividends Nebraska members—and all business leaders interested in growing the productivity and marketability of our workforce—to be actively involved in those conversations when they come to or near your community. In addition to making the business case for early care and learning at the community meetings, you can also shape this discussion by communicating directly with any contacts you might have on the Blueprint Nebraska Steering Committee or Industry Councils. 

This is a unique opportunity to represent the facts about an often overlooked, but extremely critical factor in the caliber of Nebraska's current and future workforce, the marketability of our communities and the long-term prosperity of our state.

Stay tuned to Dividends Nebraska's website and social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) for the forthcoming meeting schedule and other important news. You can also follow Blueprint Nebraska's progress online through their website. 

Read more about the launch of Blueprint Nebraska here: