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Career Academy

With unemployment low, workforce development is a focus for state and local officials. Recruiting job seekers is one aspect, but training programs -- including career pathways at the Career Academy -- are also important.

I often hear that we have about 60,000 job openings in Nebraska and about 25,000-plus individuals to fill those positions. As far as I am concerned, the No. 1 way to solve this problem is through education.

We have to create curricula that students can follow that will lead them to the jobs to fill the needs of the business community.

We have some politicians in the state who continue to fight funding for education. Looking back at the last two legislative sessions, the funding for education has not kept up with the funding for other programs.

I know there is a need to fill manufacturing jobs, and we continually hear that, but there is a critical need in all segments of business.

Just to give you one example, if every freshman who enrolls at the University of Nebraska at Omaha would get an information technology degree, there would still not be enough graduates to fill the needs in just Omaha. This is true with nearly all professions, such as health care, manufacturing, education, etc.

We need to fund and support all facets of education any way we can from getting a high school degree, attending a community college, state colleges, the university system and apprenticeships in the trades as well as helping private institutions that do not receive funding from the state so we can help their graduates fill the work shortage needs.

The second step in this process is then keeping the graduates in our state to fill these positions.

I think our governor and state senators are doing a great job, but I want them to realize that anytime education dollars are cut, they could potentially be cutting a program that will fill the needs of our businesses.

Tom Hastings, Hastings

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