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Local leaders share goals at 13th Annual State of North Omaha

Posted at 1:14 PM, Jan 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-26 14:14:53-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — the annual State of North Omaha gives city leaders a chance to reflect on their revitalization efforts. It's also a moment they reevaluate those plans and set new goals.

"Employment and high wage jobs," State Senator Justin Wayne said. "It's not just employment, but we have to make sure we're having a livable sustainable wage for people to survive and have disposable income."

Wayne says providing not just jobs, but a livable wage to residents is crucial for continued growth in North Omaha.

"From a financial stand point, the state has to pay for free and reduced lunch," Wayne said. "From a social economic stand point, you have more crime, you have higher incarceration rates and then it becomes a snowball effect. "

Empowerment Network in Omaha, agrees. Their top three goals to meet by 2025 are all employment related.

In the next five years, the group plans to connect 5,000 people to living wage careers, help create 2,000 jobs for young adults and develop 250 new businesses, through legislation and collaboration with developers.

Vicki Quaites-Ferris with Empowerment Network says recent development in North Omaha stems from the 2011 revitalization plan passed by the city council.

"This is an exciting time, not just for the entrepreneurs or the residents, but also you got the capital... the access to capital," Quaites-Ferris said. "That really plays another role in wanting to make sure that folks have the resources that they need to make that investment happen."

She, along with State Senator Wayne agree. They say progress has been made in North Omaha, even though it's taken some time.

"It's important that we are transparent as leaders and the community can get information on some of the good things that are doing, Wayne said. "We know that we still have some obstacles we have to overcome, but it's important to highlight what we're doing."

Increasing graduation rates, voting percentages and tourism numbers are a few other goals Empowerment Networks wants to meet by 2025.