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  • Writer's pictureTonja Brown

Getting an EDGE to advance careers

On November 15, 16 employees graduated from a 9-week professional development program called EDGE. These individuals were identified by their employers as showing potential to advance in their careers, and EDGE is designed to give them that opportunity by sharpening their soft skills.

This group of graduates represents the 5th cohort of the EDGE program. The first cohort was held in the fall of 2021—on the heels of the COVID pandemic—followed by spring and fall cohorts since. To date, 73 employees from varied businesses have completed the program.

EDGE is offered at no charge to employers or employees thanks to funding provided by the Sherwood Foundation, the Union Pacific Foundation, and FNBO. The Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce facilitates and manages the program.

Additional funding by the Union Pacific Foundation will provide the opportunity to offer additional cohorts in 2024 that target migrants and new citizens who have learned English and have a desire to advance their employment opportunities.

EDGE is one of many Grow Grand Island initiatives centered around growing and strengthening our workforce. The three-pronged approach includes targeted recruitment, young talent retention, and local upskilling opportunities.

Another key workforce initiative underway is the Career Scholars internship program in partnership with Wayne State College. The first group of interns will be in Grand Island for their senior year in 2025-2026. Statistically speaking, 70% of businesses offer successful interns long-term full-time positions, and 80% of those interns accept the offer.

Workforce and workforce housing continue to be priorities for Grow Grand Island. And, it is also important to recognize the role recreation and amenities play when attracting talent and spurring housing development. That is why initiatives such as Amur Plaza, Conestoga Marketplace, and the Mormon Island expansion are part of our program of work as well.

As we wind down 2023 and look ahead to a new year, Grow Grand Island will continue to focus on partnerships and initiatives that engage us in the work of building a vibrant community. EDGE is just one way we strive to move the needle for business and workforce. At this moment we take a pause to say congratulations to all the EDGE graduates. Well done and best wishes in your careers.

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