Sen. Mike McDonnell of Omaha on Thursday presented the Legislature’s executive board with two proposals to tackle the challenge of workforce development in Nebraska, one of which also would focus on developing opportunities for inmates released on parole.
McDonnell proposed a study evaluating the risk assessment and programming needs within the state’s prison system for such an effort, which would be conducted by the inspector general of the corrections system.
And he urged creation of a new workforce development committee within the Legislature to tackle the challenge on a broader scale.
The corrections system proposal (LB658) also is designed to help address the ongoing issue of prison overpopulation by providing employment opportunities and reducing recidivism.
A study could “show us what we’re doing right and doing wrong,” McDonnell said.
“The largest problem facing the state, according to business leaders, is a shortage of workers,” McDonnell said in promoting LB659, the proposal to focus the Legislature’s attention on the challenge with creation of a new legislative committee centered on workforce development.
“We need 50,000 new workers every year,” he said, pointing to an aging workforce that is reaching retirement age and leaving employment at the same time Nebraska is attempting to promote economic development.