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City of Lincoln
Mayor's Office

2008 Media Releases

June 19, 2008
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Jan Norlander-Jensen, City Urban Development Dept., 441-7117
Jim Linderholm, Greater Lincoln Workforce Investment Board, 479-2200


Mayor Chris Beutler today announced that the U.S. Department of Labor has awarded the City a $250,000 Regional Innovation Grant. The funds will be used to establish plans for promoting economic growth in a 12-county area of southeast Nebraska.

“These funds will be used to develop a strategic plan for attracting innovative businesses and good jobs for the entire region,” said Beutler. “This effort will complement each community’s economic development efforts by taking a broader look at our strengths, opportunities and workforce development strategies.”

The City’s Urban Development Department applied for the grant on behalf of the Greater Lincoln Workforce Investment Board (Lancaster and Saunders counties) and the Lincoln Area Development Partners (Fillmore, Gage, Johnson, Nemaha, Otoe, Pawnee, Richardson, Saline, Seward and York counties). Other partners are the Greater Nebraska Workforce Investment Boards; Nebraska Workforce Development - Department of Labor; Aquila; Southeast Community College; and FutureForce Nebraska – “Dream It. Do It.”

The Lincoln Chamber Economic Development Corporation will coordinate grant activities. “We appreciate the City of Lincoln and the Lincoln Workforce Investment Board for leading the region’s effort in securing this funding,” said Wendy Birdsall, President of the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce. “Innovation and technology will be the key to our economic future. However, a significant step in pursuing these initiatives will be the collaboration of government, business and education. This effort will help us make a giant leap in charting our direction and we look forward to our role in this partnership.”

The regional planning effort will include the formation of a leadership group and communication network; the creation of strategies to shorten the time from worker dislocation to re-employment; and the development of ways to link the strategies to other regional economic development initiatives.

High-growth industries targeted for recruitment include life sciences, computer software, insurance, financial services, business services and logistics/distribution. Jan Norlander-Jensen of the Urban Development Department said a focus on individualized solutions for specific industries at a regional level will link workforce education to regional economic priorities.

Regional Innovation Grants are drawn from National Emergency Grants, which are part of the Secretary of Labor’s discretionary fund. More information is available at

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