Koch companies in Nebraska are investing in the cause. The businesses recently agreed to a $200,000 four-year sponsorship of the Lincoln Career Academy (TCA).
“TCA is a joint venture between Lincoln Public Schools and Southeast Community College. It’s a way for high school students to gain experience in high-skill, high-demand jobs,” said Olson. “This money will help with equipment purchases and opportunities for students to get out of the classroom and witness skilled-trade jobs firsthand.”
The academy offers courses in a variety of career paths, ranging from precision machining and engineering to nursing and culinary arts. In addition to hands-on training and job shadowing, students can gain access to trade competitions through SkillsUSA. With more than 350,000 student members, SkillsUSA is one of the largest youth-enablement organizations in the United States. Partnering with the mikeroweWORKS Foundation in June 2016, Koch donated 100 travel scholarships for students from TCA and other schools across America to compete at the SkillsUSA Championships in Louisville, Kentucky.
“The SkillsUSA competition gives us some hope that the efforts of companies like Koch are successfully helping to close the skills gap,” said Olson. “Skilled trades are the backbone of our country. It’s good to see more students recognizing their talents in these fields and pursuing their dreams. When you’re making a living doing something you love, and helping countless other people, that’s hard to beat.”