Jonathan Jank, President & CEO, and Jacob Jennings, Community Affairs Director, provided an update from the Seward County Chamber & Development Partnership on current happenings within the SCCDP, the community of Seward, and Seward County at Rotary's meeting on August 2, 2023.
Jonathan Jank first gave an updated status on the recent, previous presentation on the “Childcare Issues facing Seward County.”  He praise the Seward County Independent’s Emily Hemphill’s series on the Childcare Desert in Seward County and reflected on the issues.  Currently there is a potential need for 190 children to be placed in child care in Seward County. He stated that this is a real economic development issue, because, if the employer or employee does not have adequate childcare, it is hard to maintain or attract a workforce. 
Jacob Jennings highlighted the recent good news report by the Ne Public Power (NPPD) and spoke on the three new childcare centers created in Seward County-each to up and running by the end of the year and each receiving a special $575,000 grant to assist in their programs and facilities. One is located in Staplehusrt, one in Seward and one in Milford. He also commented on the new pre-school opening this fall in Seward by Stacey Piskorski-“Today Counts!”  They both noted that these childcare facilities are indeed small businesses as well as services and have a huge economic development impact.  He noted a real need called for by current childcare providers is a list of people who would be willing substitutes at the various centers-because of illness, pregnancies and even vacations. 
Both presenters noted that Seward County is the ninth fastest growing county in Nebraska because of our location, workforce, existing businesses and industries, universities and schools and…. we are economic development friendly!
They shared various Seward County Development Projects for 2022-2023.  In Community Development…
  • Executed on a Perkins basic Grant in partnership with ESU #6 on Career Fairs in Seward County, internships, job shadowing and mock interviews and were selected for an additional three years of Perkins Grants for the same efforts.
  • Have filmed 17 career experience videos with Seward County businesses and hosted the first "Gathering on the Bricks" event.  They organized the 12th annual Christmas Festival in Seward with the special lighted parade and coordinated the SCCDP’s annual Awards Banquet.  
  • Presented with Concordia University business students a feasibility of building a Utica Senior Project and installed lighting in downtown Seward with Illuminate Seward Campaign. 
  • Supported the annual Seward Fourth of July Festival and co-sponsored a new public address campaign through “Seward Gives!”
  • Sold $64,834 worth of Seward Gift Cards to promote shopping in Seward and launched the first Seward County Rising Stars Leadership Development Program to develop new leaders for Seward County and were selected to join the Nebraska Children and Families’ Foundation’s Communities for Kids Initiative to assist local childcare providers.
In the area of Economic Development:
  • Supported the Beck’s Hybrids expansion project by Goehner with area TIF appreciations and fund raised local matching funds for the Rural Workforce Housing Fund.
  • Developed a new SCCDP owned 14 lot subdivision called “Bronco Heights” in Utica and distributed funds from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplement Appropriations funding. 
  • Partnered with ALLO to apply for a $5,000.000 + Nebraska Capital Projects Fund and finalized the master plan for the Pitsch Site in Seward, which is a 92.76 acre commercial development property and awarded a $500 grant to support the CU NE Catalyst Competition for business plans by local students. 
They are also most proud that Seward was named the only BNSF Certified Site designation for the Seward/Lincoln Regional Rail Campus in Nebraska!  The need was pointed out that we are really short on development of Industrial Space and need new areas to continue to offer to the clients.  There are grant funds for master plans but the sited needs to be located.
Both presenters were excited for Seward’s future growth and have recently met with Omaha developers who were “blown away” by the Seward presence in Economic Development.  They stressed that it is up to all of us to “tell the Seward story” and be focused on planned development and growth.
For more information contact Jonathan Jank or Jacob Jennings at the SCCDP at 402-643-4189 or visit at the Seward Civic Center, 616 Bradford Street in Seward.