The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

By Forrest Hershberger
Publisher Sidney Sun-Telegraph 

Preparing for Recovery

 

January 13, 2021



A little more than a year ago, the state of Nebraska had challenges of filling employment needs. With the announcement of COVID-19, the need is multiplied.

Members of the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce held a virtual conference meeting January 7 entitled “Back to Business.”

Mike Boyle, chairman of the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce, said the goals for 2021 include keeping people safe, keeping businesses open and planning for the post-pandemic economy.

Bryan Slone, president of the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce, said the road to recovery past the COVID-19 impacts on business and employment will not be easy.

“All of us share a similar vision of a post-pandemic environment,” Slone said. “The Nebraska Chamber and its members will have to work really hard.”

He said coming into the pandemic, the state's challenges included an aging workforce, and workers who were not always as technology-able as other areas. Additionally, the state will need the help of the legislature. The tax burden is a detriment for families and businesses. He said prior to the pandemic, the state also had advantages.

“We also had the most opportunity,” he said.

The state will need to examine the infrastructure: highways and broadband. However, even with the need to update the infrastructure in the state, Nebraska continues to have assets.

“We've got lots of opportunities. Our quality of life continues to be unmatched,” he said.

Slone added the state needs to focus on job creation and attracting younger workers.

“We need to create additional jobs. Nebraska needs to be one of the top attractors of 18-34 year olds,” he said.

He added flexibility will be key as the state focuses on recovery.

“We're all dependent on Nebraska moving forward,” he said.

He encouraged people from all regions in the state to unite in the effort to move past the pandemic economy.

“It's time we all wear the same jersey,” he said.

Kristen Hasselbrook, executive vice-president of the state Chamber, will be working with state senators for child care subsidies. In Sidney, child care providers were hit by the Directed Health Measures impacts on businesses, reporting seeing only a fraction of their typical income because one or both parents were not working as much.

 

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