Timing, vision for Blueprint Nebraska could not be better

The tone of a Friday teleconference announcing the formation of Blueprint Nebraska hints that this may well be one of the most significant endeavors our great state has taken on in years.
A story in this week’s edition explains that the statewide coalition will begin working soon to develop a plan for economic growth, competitiveness and prosperity in Nebraska for the next 150 years and beyond. With low commodity prices rippling across our state’s economy, and low unemployment making it difficult to hire employees when and where needed, the timing of this project could not be better.
This year’s legislative session is an example of why so many captains of industry signed on with the project. Though Nebraska is a relatively small state, the perspectives and priorities of urban and rural communities are vastly different. Having “book-end” co-chairs from Omaha and Scottsbluff, plus representatives from a wide range of industry sectors across the state, is symbolic of Blueprint Nebraska’s desire to truly make this a statewide conversation. We are, in fact, all in this together.
NU president Hank Bounds deserves credit for pitching this project, having seen incredible results from a similar blueprint model in his native state of Mississippi. Launching a facts-based study to determine what we as a state are good at, where our weaknesses lie, and then developing a game plan to create new, high-paying jobs based on that data is simply brilliant in its simplicity.
It is not a simple task, obviously. There will be some devilish details to navigate, but the brainpower and shared vision of Blueprint Nebraska going in makes this approach different than any other economic development initiative in our state’s history.
Aurora’s own Jayne Mann Smith will have a seat at the table as a member of the Blueprint Nebraska steering committee, a feather in her cap for years of active participation in a number of leadership roles. We commend her nomination and encourage area residents to stay tuned to this project, offering your own voice when asked either by attending one of 30 planned community meetings or taking an online survey seeking Nebraska’s candid input.
Blueprint Nebraska has a monumental objective, one that we can hopefully look back on in 20 years and point to as a catalyst for positive economic change.
Kurt Johnson


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