Gov. Ricketts launched DYTI in 2015 to unite the public and private sectors in a common effort to inspire young Nebraskans to explore careers in manufacturing, information technology, and other industries where talent is needed and opportunities abound. The program is administered by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED).
“DYTI grants have already introduced around 22,500 seventh and eighth graders in 59 school districts to rewarding careers awaiting them in Nebraska,” said Gov. Ricketts. “By educating students about exciting possibilities in fields like manufacturing, internet technology, and healthcare, we can prepare young Nebraskans for great opportunities and a bright future right here in the Good Life.”
Under the DYTI program, grants totaling $250,000 are distributed each year to for-profit companies (typically three). The grant recipients partner with area schools to implement interactive learning experiences for middle school students, designed to teach relevant career concepts and skills.
For example, Orthman Manufacturing of Lexington used their 2019 DYTI grant to outfit three mobile trailers with robotics, welding, and other hands-on “Makerspace” equipment. The labs traveled to 11 schools for two-week periods. Students participated in various learning challenges—such as building a working, 3D-printed robot—while receiving coaching from industry professionals. As is common with DYTI programs, teachers also received specialized instruction to help students apply educational concepts to the real world.
In all, over a dozen companies have participated in the DYTI program since 2015, with projects coming in all shapes and sizes. Last year’s recipients alone are reaching an estimated 11,500 students in 17 districts.
“We view DYTI as mission-critical,” said DED Director Anthony L. Goins. “The growth of our state is contingent on our ability to expand and retain our skilled workforce. We also have a responsibility to guide our youth toward careers where opportunities and rewards will be high. Our parents, educators, and employers hold the key to achieving these goals, and DYTI is a way of empowering them to do so.”
Applications for this year’s DYTI grants are due via Amplifund by May 16, 2021.