City leaders were excited to see a lot of positive trends from the 10th annual State of African-Americans and North Omaha progress report Saturday morning.
“Omaha is really a city on the move,” said Mayor Jean Stothert.
That move is all upward according to the statistics presented.
“We’re addressing education, healthcare, housing, employment, workforce development, job training, all of those things that are so important to a community, we’ve just been facing them and addressing them head on, and you are really seeing the results now.”
Statistics from Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer showed a downward trend in violent crimes that he attributed to the efforts of the Empowerment Network and their partners.
“It brings them together and works toward the common goal of reducing crime and reducing the root causes of crime. And I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that since the inception, crime had gone down sequentially with the number of shootings, and also the good trends are going up,” said Schmaderer.
UNO also presented findings that more African Americans are getting their bachelor’s degrees, buying houses, and starting businesses.
The mayor pointed to new developments such as the Fair Deal Village here at 24th & Burdette as evidence of North Omaha’s growth.
“We want to bridge that gap between those that are unemployed and underemployed and the jobs that are out there, so help them get the education, the skills,” said Mayor Stothert.
Through the REACH program, provided by the Greater Omaha Chamber, more minority-owned companies are getting loans and being awarded city contracts.
“We recognize the benefit of good community relationships and we can only see them improving more in the future,” said Mayor Stothert.
Although growth appears positive, that future includes even more growth for Omaha.
“We’ve seen some progress in regards to some of the work that the Empowerment Network is walking us through. I think the one refrain I’ve heard over and over again this morning is we’ve got a lot more work to do moving forward,” said Senator Heath Mello.
Mayor Stothert also announced that she plans to double the amount of money given to the empowerment network’s jobs program to a million dollars by 2018.