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.