When it comes to a developing a talented workforce in the metro, some of that work comes from local school districts.
For example, Millard Public Schools launched several academies to prepare students for in-demand fields with high wages.
Inside the Ron Witt Support Services Building, it might look like students are working their part-time jobs.
Instead, they’re in class.
“We're organizing boxes right now for like elementary and elementary kids to make sure they have stuff for their school so they can participate quickly,” said Ben Chaloupka, 16, a Millard North High student.
At the moment, they're helping teachers get ready for the next school year with math materials.
The class is part of the Business and Logistics Management Career Academy, which typically meets at Millard Horizon High School.
In simpler terms:
“Basically, it's all the hidden processes of businesses,” says Mike Rogers, an academy instructor.
Think "the operational side of business."
Students learn about matters like transportation, products, demand, supply and oversight.
Sometimes, students do hands-on projects or activities illustrating how to oversee a business efficiently.
Nearly seven years old, the academy started with one student.
Today, Rogers says 34 students are in it.
"Major employers like Union Pacific, Werner Enterprises, Cargo Zone, Brown Transfer –all these different companies that we worked with need employees, they're screaming for employees,” he says.
After meeting with community stakeholders and the Greater Omaha Chamber, school leaders decided to start the academy to create a strong, local talent pool.
Turns out, students are getting much more.
If they took enough courses by the time they graduated, they could also get their associate's degree as well, Rogers says.
“It kind of gives you an upper hand, it just gives you a head start,” says Kali Speck, 17, a student at Millard South High.
Instructors say it also gives student a foundation in life skills: they have to apply, be interviewed, and then selected.
The two-year commitment it appears is an initial investment with major gains.