Lt. Governor Sheehy Visits GIPS


A new program at Grand Island Public Schools could help fill a void in the state's job market, according to Lieutenant Governor Rick Sheehy.

Sheehy said although the state is proud of its low unemployment numbers, that could create a challenge for some employers.

"We're doing a great job of creating jobs, now we need to create the work force," said Sheehy.

The lieutenant governor met with businesses three years ago, and those companies hoped to expand then. Now three years later, he said those Central Nebraska businesses have expanded, and need a stronger workforce.

The new career program at Grand Island Public Schools will come just in time.

"Just as we have done since the '80s when it was identified we were going to have a workforce shortage in the healthcare industry and we started creating pathways and explore paths in healthcare, well in all of the other trades we begin to look in the middle school," Sheehy said.

The Career Pathways Institute, set to open in August 2013, is a direct result of a demand for a larger, skilled workforce.

The education will focus on technical and industrial careers, including automotive, manufacturing, construction, and information technology; but GIPS Superintendent Robert Winter said the building space will allow them to add more hands-on learning programs as needed. Students will be able to use the experience to receive college credit.

"They can step out of the program right after high school graduation or they can take that skill set and develop it even further," Winter said.

Sheehy said this program could benefit the state as a whole.

"We're going to have to work differently to fill those jobs, because we have a lot of jobs all across the state of Nebraska."

Students will be introduced to the program in the sixth grade, but can officially enter as high school juniors and seniors.