Director of Economic Development moves to NGage | Local News

Scott Koperski Daily Sun News Editor

A new director is in place within the economic development group NGage.

Rachel Kreikemeier began her role as Executive Director of NGage in late July.

A native of Alma, in south-central Nebraska, Kreikemeier has been in Gage County since 2015.

Prior to starting NGage, she worked at Southeast Community College in Beatrice.

“I got a grant from the Department of Labor and then went to CSC to work in higher education in recruiting, marketing and that kind of stuff,” she said. “In the latter part of my time at SCC, I worked in the Career Services office directly with employers to develop internship opportunities for students so that we could provide them with the experience they need to start their professional career, but also link them to this field if we could.

“My expertise in economic development is probably in the area of ​​workforce development, training and education. In my professional career, I worked in workforce training for about seven years.

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Kreikemeier added that one of his work priorities in economic development includes working with the campus and its students.

“One of the things that I think is really important is connecting SCC to the community and building that relationship as a whole,” she said. “I think there’s a lot of good that can come from this, especially the development of a skilled workforce in this field, showing our children that we have great employers, good jobs and sustainable jobs right here in the Beatrice area. You can go to SCC, get a great education, get a great job with that education, and then live, work, and raise a family here. If you need to go away and get a different kind of education that you can’t get locally, bring those skills back and work and raise a family here.

She said access to amenities is one of the area’s selling points, while one of the challenges is changing some perceptions of small towns.

“It’s a great place to live and raise a family,” she said. “Every community has its challenges, but being a foreigner, I probably have a different love and respect for that community than someone who grew up here. I think this city is taken for granted, so showing people what opportunities we actually have and realizing that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

Kreikemeier said one of Gage County’s recent accomplishments was a grant to expand child care services. And while low unemployment rates pose challenges in attracting new business, it’s something NGage is always looking at.

“The arrival of new businesses could trigger new growth in the region if there is a pool of talent that can be tapped,” she said. “That’s the big question, is it the chicken or the egg? Do we bring big companies here to bring people here, or do we bring people here to bring companies here? With the percentage of unemployment where it is, it’s very difficult to attract business because you simply don’t have a talent pool to draw from, especially when your current employers are already short.