LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – At a news conference Monday morning, Gov. Pete Ricketts announced a new benefit that will provide 100% tuition assistance at any community college in Nebraska for the children of employees of the state.
Ricketts was joined by State Human Resources Director Jason Jackson, and Paul Illich, President of Southeastern Community College, as he spoke about the projected positive impact of the benefit on job retention.
Officials estimate the program could help up to 1,000 children of the state’s 16,000 employees.
The program offers 100% tuition reimbursement at any community college in the state.
Students can enroll in the program before their 25th birthday. They will be fully reimbursed as long as they graduate before the age of 27.
According to Jackson, the cost of the program, approved in the 2022 legislative session, was estimated to be around $1 million per year.
The community college system has agreed to give qualified students a 25% tuition discount, leaving 75% of the normal cost to be reimbursed by the state.
Ricketts said the program aims to develop and supplement the local workforce with qualified and skilled young adults. This program comes after a recent increase in wages to combat the labor shortage.
“The benefits package that Nebraska State offers our teammates is already very competitive compared to our peer states,” Jackson said. “This program provides us with another way to not only enhance the work experience of our current teammates, but also help recruit and retain a strong workforce within the state government.”
Illich said participants could help fill the statewide shortage of skilled workers in certain fields, especially health care, construction and information technology.
He said about 90% of students graduating from Nebraska community colleges stay in the state.