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Welcome mat out for former Nebraskans

To quote Dorothy after she was clobbered by the tornado, "There's no place like home. There's no place like home."

With much attention recently focused on recruiting former Nebraskans to return to live in their home state, Dorothy may have the bones of a good campaign slogan.

For decades, the number of Nebraska natives who have left the Plains to relocate elsewhere has been a steady drain on the state's intellectual and cultural resources. A lot of talent has leaked out of the state.

The Nebraska Department of Economic Development has launched a campaign to encourage expatriated Nebraskans to return to the Good Life. The department is collaborating with the state's colleges and universities to identify former Nebraskans who have relocated and try to fit them with existing jobs in the state. A comprehensive job list is available on the MovebackToNebraska.com Web site.

In addition, a Nebraska job fair was held in Denver recently that was successful in bringing several Nebraskans back to their home state. The Grand Island Area Economic Development Corp. was a participant in that event. It is important to remember that the state should be in a constant recruiting mode. This effort should include workers as well as the much publicized effort to lure companies and corporations.

Most Nebraskans have great memories of their early years living in the state. They are well-educated and have a good work ethic. It is no wonder that many companies eagerly recruit the best talent in college graduating classes and pack them up to live elsewhere. In talking to many relocated Nebraskans, they had no intention of moving away forever. They eagerly talk of eventually moving back home. But life seems to get in the way and as they get promoted within their companies, families begin to grow and soon it seems like they are entrenched elsewhere, sentenced to living a life outside the Nebraska borders.

It doesn't have to end that way. The ties to Nebraska are deep and lasting. When the alumni associations have their various events around the country, there is much talk of what is happening in the state and how things are going. There is a curiosity about what it would be like to return home and be closer to family roots.

Every resident in the state should be an ambassador of goodwill when it is time for the summer alumni reunions that occur in every city, town and village across the Plains. Encourage the "lost sheep" who may have strayed away to rediscover the pleasures of living in their home state. Welcome them back. All will be forgiven.



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