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Monday, July 26th, the Nebraska State Chamber was in Kearney to hear from local leaders about

the economic challenges and opportunities not only within the state but from the specific perspective of our community. The goal with these listening sessions is to take the statewide feedback and use it to help shape the State Chamber's public policy agenda for the 2022 Legislative Session, including attempting to identify and develop a handful of bigger and bolder public policy initiatives that might accelerate the growth of our post-pandemic economy and greatly enhance our state’s competitiveness for workforce and business expansion.

The interactive workshop kicked off with a brief introduction from State Chamber President, Bryan Slone. He spoke about Nebraska’s areas of growth and areas of decline compared to other states.

The group identified the top-tier issues in the Kearney area: Workforce, Housing and Childcare. Then some second-tier issues: Broadband, Transportation, Government Regulations, Access to Capital and Taxes.

The majority of the meeting revolved around the nationwide crisis that we are in and the lack of workforce available. Possible solutions were discussed to raise wages, more intern programs, loan forgiveness for Nebraska graduates, on-site childcare, affordable housing. Kearney has about 600 apartment units currently being constructed and new residential housing is steady. There was some discussion on the ability to create a tiny home community and the opportunities and hurdles to accomplish that idea.

The Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce is appreciative of the Nebraska Chamber's efforts and looks forward to what they hear from the rest of the state.

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