Closing the Employment Gap by Investing in Tomorrow's Workforce

The Empowerment Network and City of Omaha in collaboration with community partners are working to provide opportunities for youth and young adults to gain valuable job training and work experience during the summer.  We’re working to provide jobs, internships, work experience, vocational training, academic recovery and remediation, life skills training, and community service opportunities.

In 2012, the City of Omaha, Empowerment Network and community partners challenged the business community, philanthropists, community organizations, and individuals to help us put youth and young adults to work.  We were successful in raising nearly $900,000, put 443 youth and young adults to work and employed 22 coaches.  In 2013, we worked to put 390 youth and young adults to work, while also employing 16 coaches.  In 2015, we would like to build on this success and put 500 youth and young adults to work this summer and beyond.  Employers over the past seven years have included non-profits, educational institutions, governmental agencies, and for-profit businesses.

STEP-UP OMAHA! recruits, trains, and places prepared Omaha youth and young adults age 14 to 21, in mutually beneficial paid summer jobs and work experience opportunities.  STEP-UP OMAHA! builds on the Empowerment Network and community *partners’ successes in hiring and placing over 3000 participants over the past seven years.  Based on its commitment to building a highly competitive workforce of the future, the City of Omaha is prepared to make a significant investment in helping to expand the employment program. 
Here are the four ways that you can invest in this vitally important initiative:
1. Hire participants from the initiative and provide a high quality work experience
2. Provide work experience opportunities that are subsidized or partially subsidized
3. Sponsor participants financially.  Participants will be placed on a separate work site
4. Make a financial contribution to support the initiative

Application Deadline:
March 6, 2017 (Midnight)

Application Period For All Ages: Feb. 6 – March 6, 2017
Summer Program Starts June 5 and ends August 11, 2017


STEP-UP OMAHA! a community-based initiative of the Empowerment Network and City of Omaha in collaboration with community partners: Boys & Girls Club of the Midlands, ENCAP, Heartland Workforce Solutions, Hope Center for Kids, Latino Center of the Midlands, Metropolitan Community College, Omaha Economic Development Corporation, Omaha Public Schools and Urban League of Nebraska.

A partial list of current and past participants, contributors, and sponsors since 2008:
100 Black Men       
African-American Achievement Council
Alegent+Creighton Health
American Family Insurance
American National Bank
Bank of the West   
Bellevue University
Big Mama’s Kitchen and Catering         
Big Mama’s Sandwich Shop
Blue Cross Blue Shield           
Building Bright Futures
Charles B. Washington Branch Library
Charles Drew Health Center
City Sprouts
City of Omaha
ConAgra Foods                       
Coventry Health                     
Cox Communications
Creighton University
Dairy Queen
Davis Companies
Douglas County Treasurer’s Office
Eastern Nebraska Community Action Partnership
Family Housing Advisory Services
Habitat for Humanity
Hilton Hotels
Holland Foundation
Holy Name Housing
Hope Center for Kids                 
Lindsay Manufacturing          
Lozier Foundation  
Max I Walker         
Methodist Hospital
Metropolitan Community College         
National Park Service
Nothing But Net    
Omaha Economic Development Corporation
Omaha Minority Community Development Corporation      
Omaha Public Schools
Omaha Star
Omaha Steaks       
Physicians Mutual
Pinnacle Bank        
Salem Baptist Church
Salem’s Children Center
Salvation Army
Security National Bank
South Omaha Business Association
Turning Point                         
Urban League of Nebraska                    
Weitz Foundation                                                                                  
Wells Fargo Bank

Empowerment Network
City of Omaha
Boys & Girls Club of the Midlands
Girls Inc.
Heartland Workforce Solutions
Hope Center for Kids
Latino Center of the Midlands
Metropolitan Community College
Omaha Economic Development Corporation
Omaha Public Schools
South Omaha Business Association
Urban League of Nebraska

While Omaha overall experiences an overall 4.4% unemployment rate, in targeted areas within our community residents are facing upwards of 30% unemployment. In addition, employers are facing challenges of recruiting and retaining employees to fill key positions. Step-Up Omaha is a key ingredient to help bridge this gap.

The Mayor’s Office, City Council, and community have identified jobs and job training as the number one priority in our city. In response to this priority of providing job training, work experience, and employment opportunities to address the severe unemployment and underemployment in high poverty areas of the city, the City of Omaha, Empowerment Network, and 20+ community partners have launched STEP-UP OMAHA! Summer Training, Employment Pathway, and Urban Pipeline.

The initiative is based on the Empowerment Network’s collaboration with community based organizations over the past four years that has been responsible for engaging over 1,000 youth and young adults between the ages of 14 and 29 in work experience, internships, and job training opportunities. The groups have worked together on a comprehensive basis to help create positive opportunities for these participants to experience the work place and generate income during the summer months. As a result of the program, many of the participants have gained full-time employment, some have returned to school to complete their GED or gain a high school diploma, and others have continued their education by attending college. Participants have been placed on work sites including corporations, non-profits, and other organizations. Over 75 organizations and business have provided work site opportunities for participants. In addition, local foundations including Lozier, Holland, and Weitz have provided financial support over the past four years.