A look back on the people, places and events that made an impact on Greater Omaha, Lincoln and Council Bluffs in 2023.
Editor’s note: Reflecting on the past year, it’s no secret that our community is inherently strong. We as people and organizations lift one another up to achieve greater things. Omaha swore in its first female fire chief, many companies moved into improved facilities and major corporations made investments in the business community. While challenges remain with labor shortages and high interest rates, the Midlands business community has much to be proud of in 2023.
Three Organizations Become Innovation Hubs
In November, a year after opening applications, the Nebraska Department of Economic Development announced the first three organizations receiving an innovation hub (iHub) designation.
In a statement, the Nebraska Department of Economic Development noted, “Designation as an iHub signals that an organization has demonstrated experience with innovation programs, has an articulated management structure and plan, has assets and resources at its disposal to drive innovation, and has successfully engaged partners in pursuit of its strategic objectives.”
The first organization to receive the designation is the Fermentation Collaborative, a Bio Nebraska initiative. The Fermentation Collaborative is a partnership between the bioscience industry and Nebraska colleges and universities to develop, coordinate, and promote an emerging fermentation industry in Nebraska. Based in Lincoln, the organization is close to partners Invest Nebraska and Southeast Community College.
“The Fermentation Collaborative’s iHub designation gives the Collaborative formal recognition and will help accelerate its purpose to grow a precision fermentation workforce, cultivate the entrepreneurship innovation fermentation ecosystem, and sustain a vibrant fermentation industry in Nebraska,” said Rob Owen, Bio Nebraska executive director.
The second organization is the Omaha Innovation Connection Hub is focused on helping the North Omaha community, as well as local universities, colleges, and entrepreneurs in the tech field.
Lastly, the Julian and Brittany Young Foundation was established to help entrepreneurs start and build successful businesses in North Omaha.
“We saw the iHub designation as a tremendous opportunity to partner with our state government to build on what we’ve been doing over the last decade,” said Julian Young, chief executive officer, and Brittany Young, chief operating officer, in a statement. “We look forward to increasing the impact on Nebraska-based entrepreneurs.”
JET LINX GEARS UP FOR ANNIVERSARY
Just ahead of its 25th anniversary, Jet Linx celebrated two major developments.
The first came in July when Jamie Walker, son of founder Denny Walker, announced that he would be moving to chairman of the board. Industry veteran Brent Wouters was announced as the new chief executive officer.
Wouter previously served as president and CEO of Cirrus Aircraft, an aircraft manufacturer. During the 10 years he was with the company he saw it grow from a domestic startup to a best-selling aircraft in 60 countries.
Then, in October, Jet Linx celebrated the grand opening of its brand-new, state-of-the-art flagship terminal at Eppley Airfield in Omaha. The original Omaha facility debuted in 2004 before the company’s nationwide expansion.
“As we approach our company’s 25th anniversary, it seems fitting to return to our roots in Omaha as we enter a new phase of expansion and operational excellence,” said Jamie Walker, Jet Linx chairman.
Omaha-based HDR designed the new 60,000-square-foot private terminal focused on creating a stress-free experience. The 28-foot-high doors can house the largest of business jets, and heated pavement ensures smooth departures and arrivals regardless of weather.
The company, founded in 1999, is currently the third-largest private jet management company in the United States and as of April 2023 has the highest third-party safety certifications.
GREATER OMAHA WELCOMES TWO NEW CONCERT VENUES
Live music fans in the metro were introduced to two new venues in 2023.
Fitting a need for mid-sized concert spaces, both venues opened with big names on their marquees.
Omaha Performing Arts venue Steelhouse Omaha opened May 12 with its first concert featuring The Killers. That concert sold out in six minutes. Steelhouse Omaha is currently nominated as a “New Concert Venue of the Year” by Pollstar.
The Astro’s debut this September is part of the growing La Vista City Centre mixed-use development. The venue features both an indoor concert space as well as an outdoor amphitheater.
To date, the venue has hosted eight performances by acts such as 311, Goo Goo Dolls and Wilco, with more than 10,500 fans in attendance.
A MERGER OF LAW FIRMS
In January Lincoln-based Baylor Evnen, LLP announced a merger with Wolfe Snowden Hurd Ahl Sitzmann Tannehill & Hahn, LLP creating Baylor Evnen Wolfe & Tannehill, LLP. With the merger the firm will be able to grow across the Midwest, covering Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota.
MCC OFFERS FIRST MOBILE DEVICE REPAIR CERTIFICATION
Seeing an opportunity to provide training for a growing sector, Metropolitan Community College, in collaboration with iFixOmaha and CTIA, launched the Mobile Device Repair Academy. The academy consists of a one-week boot camp followed by an eight-week internship. Upon completion, participants can earn two Wireless Industry Service Excellence certifications from CTIA, the wireless industry association.
VIREO SYSTEMS OPENS FIRST CREATINE PLANT IN THE U.S.
In February Vireo Systems opened the first U.S. creatine & amino acids plant in nearby Plattsmouth.
“We chose Plattsmouth, Nebraska for the first-ever creatine plant in the U.S. due to the incredible city, county, and state support we have gotten over the years since establishing our first holistic products manufacturing facility back in 2009,” said founder and President Mark Faulkner.
He said the company plans to add 200 jobs to the area and forecasts $174 million in economic impact each year.
Unless you’re an athlete, you might not have heard of creatine before. Traditionally it’s been used to help athletes increase endurance or reduce injuries, but studies show that a creatine supplement can also improve cognition and brain and bone health.
Vireo Systems will be manufacturing its supplement, CON-CRET, from this plant.
“This year alone the plant has produced over 3.5 million units and volume is increasing,” Faulkner said.
NEBRASKA’S FIRST AMAZON FULFILLMENT FACILITY OPENS
Nebraska’s first Amazon fulfillment center opened on Jan. 15 this year. Located in Papillion, the facility is joined by two delivery stations, an Amazon Air Gateway at Eppley Airfield, and a fulfillment center in Council Bluffs. According to Amazon information, more than 6,000 local small businesses and independent authors sell their products through Amazon.
MORE COVERAGE FOR SARPY COUNTY
The Sarpy County Chamber added six satellite offices to better reach the communities it serves. The offices are located in Bellevue, Springfield, Gretna, La Vista, and Omaha. While the main office in Papillion will remain open during regular hours, the satellite locations will have varying hours of operation.
NEW POST-DOCTORAL CERTIFICATES
Acknowledging the complex issues that persist in the health care field, Nebraska Methodist launched two post-doctoral certificates to help leaders. Both the Leadership in Healthcare Organizations and Public Health Policy certificates can be completed online in 12 months.
A GROWING PORTFOLIO FOR A FORBES-LISTED COMPANY
In February Mutual of Omaha Mortgage, a subsidy of Mutual of Omaha, acquired Keller Mortgage, LLC, formerly a part of the real estate franchise Keller Williams. Additionally, Forbes ranked Mutual of Omaha as No. 24 on its Best Large Employers Nationwide list for the fifth year. Forbes based the rankings on an independent survey conducted by Statista.
VOLLEYBALL SET TO SPIKE IN NEBRASKA MARKET
It’s been a big year for volleyball in Nebraska.
In February, the Pro Volleyball Federation announced its second team, The Omaha Supernovas. The team is backed by Danny White, Omaha-based City + Ventures co-founder, and music artist Jason Derulo. The Omaha Supernovas will compete against the Atlanta Vibe, Columbus Fury, Grand Rapids Rise, Orlando Valkyries, San Diego Mojo, and two other unnamed teams.
The Omaha Supernovas will face off with the Atlanta Vibe in the team’s first game of the 2024 season at CHI Health Center on January 24.
In August, League One Volleyball (LOVB) announced that Omaha would be the fifth of six cities to host an affiliated pro-team. In an interview with MBJ, LOVB CEO Katlyn Gao said “We believe in the power of this market – and for good reason.”
She referenced record-breaking attendance at collegiate games and the caliber of athletes in collegiate programs.
“The market has bred incredible athletes, whom we are strongly tied to. Our robust pro roster includes Justine Wong-Orantes and Kelsey Robinson, who both hail from the University of Nebraska,” Gao said.
Speaking of the university, it broke the world record for the largest crowd to watch a women’s sporting event when the University of Nebraska-Lincoln hosted the University of Nebraska at Omaha for an outdoor match.
The match, which was held at Memorial Stadium on August 20, 2023, welcomed 92,003 fans. The previous world record — 91,648 — was set during the UEFA Champions League match between Barcelona and Woldsburg on April 22, 2022, in Barcelona. At the time of the game, UNL also held the record for consecutive sell-outs for women’s regular season matches in the NCCA.
COVID-19 INITIATIVE CONTINUES DUE TO SUCCESS
To help veterans through the claims process during COVID-19, the Nebraska Department of Veterans Affairs developed a virtual claims initiative that has resulted in nearly $2.9 million in retroactive benefits. The initiative has become a staple and was awarded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs with an Abraham Lincoln Pillars of Excellence award.
IT’S ALL ELECTRIC
Heartland Bike Share converted its entire fleet to electric bikes this year in April. A month later the bike share program had its biggest month since its inception with over 11,000 rides.
The electric bikes were introduced in 2019 and, according to Heartland Bike Share, 95% of the ride shares were e-bikes in 2022.
BROADBAND IS COMING TO BELLEVUE
Broadband high-speed fiber internet is now available for residents of Bellevue courtesy of Fastwyre Broadband. Internet ranges from 100 megabits per second to 1 gigabit per second, with an eventual goal to offer 10 gigabits per second. Fastwyre is also available in Blair and Arlington, Nebraska.
KIEWIT LUMINARIUM SHINES AS NEW ATTRACTION
The Kiewit Luminarium, an interactive science center, opened its doors in downtown Omaha in April. As part of the Riverfront development, the project has received awards for the likes of its architectural design and branding. In October, the organization announced free admission to indigenous peoples.
MUD MILE COMMUNICATIONS JOINS OMAHA MARKET
In early 2023, South Dakota-based Mud Mile Communications decided to expand, opening a second location in Omaha’s Blackstone Building. The company has over 100 international awards, including Emmys, Tellys, and W3 honors.
“Omaha was exactly where we knew we needed to be for the next growth opportunity,” said Jolene Loetscher, CEO and co-founder. “It’s a business community that embraces innovation and storytelling. When we expanded with our Omaha office, it allowed us to come back to our roots.”
She shared that the inspiration for the company name is, in fact, from the road in front of her family’s farm.
In September Mud Mile was also announced as one of the top 10 businesses in the Midwest being considered for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Top Small Businesses. In total, 70 businesses were nominated from all 50 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico.
Mud Mile focuses on a modular marketing strategy to help companies such as Coca-Cola, Sanford Health, McDonald’s, and, locally, Nebraska Methodist Hospital.
Volunteering their time, Mud Mile created a pro-bono project that highlighted the impact of NMH’s Community Counseling Program. The program provides counseling services to kids in middle school, high school, and alternative programs in Omaha Public Schools.
“The video they produced for us raises awareness about the program and sends a powerful message to donors about the impact it’s having on students and families throughout our community,” said Tracy Madden-McMahon, president and CEO of Methodist Hospital Foundation.
MEDICAL SOLUTIONS NAMED BEST PLACE TO WORK
Receiving the No. 16 spot in a list of 100 on Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work 2023, Medical Solutions is the highest-ranking in both health care and staffing categories.
Among the companies based in Nebraska to make the list, Medical Solutions was the only company headquartered in the state. Located in Omaha, Medical Solutions is one of the largest health care staffing companies in the U.S., with additional locations in California, Colorado, Ohio, Mississippi, North Carolina and Florida.
“We were deeply honored to be recognized as one of the best places to work,” said Craig Meier, CEO of Medical Solutions. “We are committed to fostering a culture of inclusion and encouragement, where diverse perspectives are not only embraced but celebrated. This acknowledgment reaffirms our commitment to continue fostering an environment where every individual thrives, knowing they are valued, supported, and integral to our continued growth and success.”
ZOETIS OPENS NEW LINCOLN FACILITY
Zoetis, an animal health company, officially opened its Lincoln-based monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) expansion facility in August. The facility’s purpose is to increase the production of osteoarthritis pain products for cats and dogs and will serve as a veterinary medicine research and development registration hub. On a 145-acre campus, the facility is housed in a 1.4 million-square-foot building. The facility distributes products to more than 100 countries.
In a press release, Chris Rasmussen, Lincoln Zoetis site leader said, “We are excited to celebrate the opening of our new facility right here
in Nebraska! This community is important to us as we have been welcomed to do business here for over a decade as Zoetis, delivering high quality, reliable supply of our animal health products for customers around the world.”
AN INTERNATIONAL AFFAIR
Over five days in April international guests from 38 countries and all 50 states descended on Omaha for the FEI World Cup Finals. Three events were scheduled to play out: the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Final, the FEI Dressage World Cup Final, and the Burlington Capital FEI Vaulting World Cup Final.
COLLEGE OF SAINT MARY RECEIVES FUNDING FROM NASA
In an effort to close the gender gap in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, the College of Saint Mary was selected as one of seven women’s colleges to receive funding from NASA. Dr. Ganesh Naik, director of the chemistry and environmental sustainability programs and professor of chemistry applied for the grant on behalf of the college.
Of the $5 million slated for the grant, CSM received $615,000 to improve access to education in the STEM fields as well as empower women to pursue degrees.
“The goals of this program align with College of Saint Mary’s mission and strategic initiatives to provide access to an affordable education and to grow our inclusive campus culture,” said Dr. Kimberly Allen, CSM vice president of academic and student affairs in a June statement. “Furthermore, the program aims to create a holistic development model of STEM education for women.”
ACEC NAMES OMAHAN AS YOUNG PROFESSIONAL OF THE YEAR
HDR Senior Traffic Engineer and Transportation Planner Jonathan Markt, was one of five to be named Young Professionals of the Year by the American Council of Engineering Companies. The only Nebraskan named to the list, Markt was presented the award at ACEC’s fall conference in Austin, Texas.
Markt’s accomplishments include a city-wide crash study for the city of Lincoln, which resulted in a crash analysis web application. He is a member of Nebraska’s Institute for Transportation Engineers and volunteers for the Drive Smart program.
INNAGURAL MICROGRANTS SUPPORT FORMERLY INCARCERATED PERSONS
In September the Platte Institute announced the inaugural round of microgrants to aid organizations assisting individuals previously incarcerated to secure stable employment.
Organizations that received grants included Heart Ministry Center, On the Inside, Omaha Alternatives to Violence Project, Bridges to Hope, Q.U.E.E.N.S. Butterfly House, and Nebraskans Unafraid.
“We realized that many groups are already doing things to promote the dignity and workforce capacity of those who have been previously incarcerated through their direct work with them,” said Laura Ebke, senior fellow at the Platte Institute.
“The microgrants were a way for us to provide assistance to organizations that are nonprofits, and sometimes heavily dependent on volunteers — a way for us to help the helpers who are already engaged in that arena.”
For example, the Heart Ministry Center is helping individuals receive full-time employment through job training and placement.
“Grant funds are being used by graduates of the program to purchase clothing for their new jobs … Having new work clothes provides dignity for our graduates as they embark on their fresh start,” said Angie Grote, director of marketing and communications for the Heart Ministry Center.
THREE YEARS IN THE MAKING: GRETNA CROSSING OPENS
Nearly three years after Gretna voters approved raising the city sales tax by half of a cent to build a new community park, that park finally opened in September.
“Watching the community activate the Gretna Crossing YMCA and Gretna Crossing Park has been extremely inspiring. You can see by the engagement that this community is, and will be, healthier and more connected because of this outstanding investment,” said Rebecca Deterding, YMCA of Greater Omaha president & CEO.
Designed to be a community hub for Gretna, the $60 million project at 21280 Capheart Rd. has an 18-hole disc golf course, dog parks, soccer fields, baseball and softball fields, batting cages, an outdoor water park, playgrounds, walking and biking trails, picnic areas and an amphitheater.
In collaboration with Gretna Public Schools, the Gretna Crossing YMCA will provide a space for swim students to practice rather than being bussed into a facility in Omaha.
“We are incredibly grateful for the collaboration with the City of Gretna and Gretna Public Schools. Innovative public-private partnerships, like this one, maximize community resources, expertise, and collective impact,” Deterding said.
The Gretna Crossing YMCA will also have cardio and weight equipment, an indoor walking track, a sauna and steam room, a gymnasium, and classrooms for group fitness classes.
With a longstanding reputation for being a community partner, United Republic Bank was tapped as the title sponsor for the community park.
“We have plans to open a branch in the area, so as we began to look at how we could be a part of the community, how we could invest in it, this project was something we wanted to be part of,” said Chris Wiedenfeld, president and CEO of United Republic Bank.
“Having our name next to the city of Gretna’s on this great project will help build our brand and, hopefully, show our commitment to the Gretna community.”
STRENGTHENING THE STATE’S TECH CAPABILITIES
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln announced a partnership with tech talent accelerator Skillstorm to fill talent gaps in the sector. Through Skillstorm UNL will offer a range of courses such as AWS, CompTIA, Salesforce, Appian, and Pega. Currently, about 5% of Nebraska’s workforce is in tech, and those professionals earn more than 60% of the average Nebraska worker.
LOCAL FIRM MERGES WITH SIOUX CITY FIRM
Omaha-based Smith Pauley LLP merged with Sioux City, Iowa-based Rehan Law Firm in July. Smith Pauley can now assist clients in corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, premier estate planning, real estate law, mediation, intellectual property, banking, title reviews, venture capital and growth, family law, civil litigation, and more.
CHARLES DREW AWARDED $20 MILLION GRANT
The Nebraska Department of Economic Development presented Charles Drew Health Center with $20 million as part of its Federally Qualified Health Centers Grant Program.
The program was created this year and signed into law by Gov. Pillen on June 6.
Charles Drew Health Center will use the funds for renovation and expansion to better serve the homeless and residents of public housing as well as expand and rehire its workforce after laying off workers earlier in the year.
TMCO NAMED MANUFACTURER OF THE YEAR
The Nebraska Chamber named Lincoln-based TMCO Inc. Nebraska Manufacturer of the Year.
“TMCO perfectly represents manufacturing in Nebraska. They’ve developed a welcoming place to work for people of all backgrounds, serve their customers with pride and dedication, and have led on technology investment since day one,” said Nebraska Chamber Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President Mike Johnson in a statement.
TMCO was honored at the Nebraska Chamber Manufacturing Summit in October.
Established in 1974, the company specializes in custom metal fabrication.
LNK SET FOR DEVELOPMENT
In a bid to draw more traffic through Lincoln, the Lincoln Airport Authority (LNK) announced two major developments this year.
The first, announced in January, was a $65 million long-term lease agreement between LNK and Burrell Aviation. Burrell Aviation will help develop the site’s facilities and secure anchor tenants for the airport. It’s estimated that the project will create between 180 to 350 permanent jobs for Lincoln and the surrounding areas.
A major component will be the development of cargo facilities. As a former Air Force base and a backup base for Offutt Air Force Base, the airport has one of the longest runways at 13,000 feet. Over 200,000 square feet of cargo facilities are being planned.
In addition to Burrell Aviation’s commitment, Nebraska-based trailer manufacturer Timpte, Inc. signed a long-term lease in February.
Timpte, founded in 1884 and headquartered in David City, Nebraska, plans to build a manufacturing center on a parcel of land to the west of LNK known as the LNK Enterprise Park. The manufacturing center will be between 180,000 and 200,000 square feet and will employ 80 from the local community.
“This new facility will allow us to bring further diversification to our product portfolio and create a variety of well-paid, skilled job opportunities,” said Dale Jones, president and CEO, in a press release.
LOCAL ENTREPRENEURS RECEIVE NATIONAL HONOR
Ernst & Young LLP honored 12 entrepreneurs as part of its Entrepreneur of the Year Heartland Award. Among those winners, two were Omaha-based business executives:
Dr. Shikhar Saxena, co-founder and CEO of Milan Laser Hair Removal and Todd Graeve, CEO of Scooter’s Coffee. Starting Milan Laser Hair Removal in 2012, Saxena’s venture now has 300 locations in 31 states. Graeve joined Scooters Coffee in 2005 as a franchisee and has since moved up the ranks. Scooters now has nearly 700 stores.
COUNCIL BLUFFS ORGANIZATIONS MERGE, NAME LAFERLA CEO
The Council Bluffs Area Chamber of Commerce and The 712 Initiative, a nonprofit aimed at strengthening the Council Bluffs community, announced a merger in October. As part of this strategic move, Chris LaFerla has been named president and CEO of the joint organizations. Previously LaFerla was the Dean of Administration at Iowa Western Community College and CEO of the Council Bluffs Schools Foundation.
In a Dec. 20 statement, LaFerla said:
“I am honored and excited to join the Council Bluffs Area Chamber of Commerce and The 712 Initiative. Supporting a strong business community is pivotal in fostering economic growth and improving the lives of our neighbors in the Council Bluffs area. Council Bluffs is an incredible place that has given so much to me, and I look forward to collaborating with members and partners to enhance this community that I care so deeply about.”
BEST ICE CREAM SHOP IN THE NATION
Who would have thought that a small ice cream shop focused on locally sourced ingredients in Omaha, Nebraska would top the nationwide charts?
This year Coneflower Creamery did just that. Named the No. 1 Ice Cream Shop in the U.S. by Yelp and No. 5 on the Best Indie Ice Cream Shops Across the U.S. by USA Today.
Both Yelp and USA Today listened to their users and readers, respectively, to rank shops across the nation. No other shops in Nebraska were selected for either honor, with the nearest shops listed in Missouri and Wisconsin for USA Today’s 10 Best.
Founded in 2016 by pastry chef Brian Langbehn and co-owned by Katie Arant, the shop focuses on farm-to-cone sourcing. Local purveyors include Archetype Coffee (Omaha), Bloomsorganic and Honey Creek Creamery (Honey Creek, Iowa), Kimmel Orchard (Nebraska City), and others.
Coneflower Creamery opened a second location in Millwork Commons in April 2023. Its original location in the Blackstone District remains open.
HUDL OPENS ON-SITE DAY CARE
On August 18, Hudl, a global tech company headquartered in Lincoln, officially opened its on-site day care. The company partnered with Primrose School to offer a 7,000-square-foot facility to its employees. The new benefit to its employees comes at a time when private companies have started to take notice of a growing need for affordable child care for working parents.
ENTREPRENEURIAL SUPPORT FOR VETERANS
The U.S. Small Business Administration hosted the grand opening for the Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) in Omaha on July 7, 2023. The VBOC, located on the Highlander Accelerator campus, offers free business counseling, training, and mentoring services to veterans and their families who are interested in starting a business, or expanding their business.
SCOOTER’S NABS BOWL GAME TITLE
College football fans will now be cheering on their teams at the Scooter’s Coffee Frisco Bowl. The locally-grown coffee chain will be the new title sponsor of the Frisco, Texas college football bowl via a multi-year agreement. The first game under the new name was Dec. 19 with the University of Texas at San Antonio and Marshall Thundering Herd playing.
EPIC FOR GIRLS NAMED CHARITY OF THE YEAR
An Omaha-based nonprofit has received national recognition. EPIC for Girls, an organization advocating for girls of color in sports, was named Charity of the Year by the Korn Ferry Tour.
The recognition stems from its impact and participation at the Pinnacle Bank Championship where the nonprofit raised more than $8,500 and recruited nearly 100 volunteers.
THE READER SAYS FAREWELL
After 29 years of operation, The Reader, an Omaha-based alternative newspaper, has ceased publication. Led by Publisher and owner John Heaston, the weekly newspaper published its last edition in September.
UNO LIBRARY RECEIVES MONUMENTAL DONATION
The Jewish Federation of Omaha has donated approximately 36,500 books to the University of Nebraska at Omaha Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Library. The Special Kriple-Veret Collection contains primarily scholarly Jewish works. This is the library’s largest donation to date.
GOOGLE ANNOUNCES MILLIONS IN INVESTMENTS
Google continues to invest in the Nebraska and Iowa multiple announcements.
In August the company announced plans to develop a data center in Lincoln. The data center, which will be on 589 acres on the northeast side, will be a $600 million investment in the community and bring 30 full-time jobs. It will be the company’s third data center in the state.
A press release from Google cited rising demand for AI and Google Cloud, Workspace, Search and Maps.
The company is also expanding the Papillion and Council Bluff’s facilities. The two expansions will cost roughly $950 million.
“Google’s commitment to Nebraska has gone beyond the physical, technical infrastructure,” said Nebraska State Senator Deb Fischer in the press release about the expansion. “It is also active in community engagement and supports expanding digital services across the state.”
For example, Google announced $150,000 as part of its annual Data Center community grants program to support seven local nonprofit organizations that are promoting STEM education, sustainability, and startups and small businesses.
Organizations receiving grants included: the Latino Center of the Midlands, Whispering Roots, Bellevue Public Library, Springfield Platteview Education Foundation, Kids Can Community Center, Papillon Community Foundation and Bellevue University.
KIDS CAN COMMUNITY CENTER OPENS FACILITY
Kids Can Community Center, a state-licensed child care organization, has nearly doubled its capacity with a 27,000-square-foot facility on a 3.8-acre site at 4768 Q St.
Opened on March 27 amidst child care shortages in Nebraska, Kids Can participates in the Step Up To Quality Program, of which it ranks Step 5 — the highest ranking possible. In its 115th year of operation, Kids Can serves children ages 6 weeks old to 5-years old in its early childhood education program and has served over 1,000 children in its Out-of-School programs, according to its latest annual report.