Nebraska’s new internship program to be led by Aksarben Foundation under $20 million state contract
25 May 2023
OMAHA — Bolstered by a $20 million state contract, the Aksarben Foundation is to lead a new internship program aimed at strengthening Nebraska’s future workforce.
Gov. Jim Pillen announced the partnership with the State Department of Economic Development Thursday at the Aksarben Foundation’s annual stakeholders meeting in La Vista.
He said that many Nebraska employers are generating jobs faster than they can fill them and that the “InternNE, Powered by Aksarben” program is designed to better train and retain young Nebraskans.
“The state’s workforce development strategy begins with recruiting in our own backyard,” Pillen said. “We want our graduates to stay in Nebraska to start a career here in the ‘good life.’ “
The nonprofit Aksarben Foundation, a network of business and community leaders, was awarded the $20 million contract, to span two years, through a competitive bidding process, foundation officials said.
Dan Curran, who recently resigned as deputy director of programs at the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, has been hired as executive director of the internship program.
State officials said the program expands upon previous state efforts, and is funded through Legislative Bill 1012 that last year allocated $20 million from the cash reserve fund.
A goal is to connect students to mentors and positions that offer exposure to high-growth, high-wage careers.
“We are upping our in-state recruitment efforts of these high-potential leaders,” said Sandra Reding, Aksarben Foundation president. “Our business-led model equips employers to design clear pathways connecting students to rewarding careers in Nebraska.”