Cyclonaire and three other manufacturing businesses receive grants

LINCOLN – Cyclonaire is one of three manufacturing businesses in the state to receive grants through the Nebraska Developing Youth Talent Initiative program.

Gov. Pete Ricketts made the announcement during an 11:30 a.m. Monday news conference on the second floor of the Nebraska State Capitol in the Governor’s Hearing Room with a contingent from York Public Schools, York County Development Corporation and Cyclonaire looking on.

Speaking for Cyclonaire at the podium with the governor was Chief Financial Officer Sheila Brugger.

York superintendent Dr. Mike Lucas said a special curriculum to make seventh and eighth grade students aware of the wide range of well-paying, lifelong career options will begin the second semester in January.

Developing Youth Talent Initiative, a program that connects young Nebraskans to the manufacturing and technology sectors, was proposed by Ricketts as part of his biennial budget and approved by the Legislature in 2015.

Recipients in the 2017 grant cycle, in addition to Cyclonaire, are Becton Dickinson of Broken Bow and Aulick Industries from Scottsbluff. Cyclonaire’s grant is for $74,835.

Human Resources manager Jill Smith and owner Vinc Aulick, respectively, represented Becton Dickinson and Aulick Industries.

York Middle School principal Kenny Loosvelt said two sections of 25 students each have filled his school’s capacity for the classes. The program was open to all students who were interested. Indeed, enough were to max out both classes very quickly.

“Forward-thinking business leaders and communities across our state understand that early educational opportunities are the keys to building a competitive, 21st century workforce in the IT and manufacturing industries,” said Ricketts.

“DYTI metrics from previous grant recipients, such as Flowserve in Hastings, indicate a significant increase in student interest and participation in these industries,” he continued. “For example, Hastings High School has a 16 percent increased enrollment in skills and technical sciences classes from incoming freshmen who participated in a full year of DYTI programs in the eighth grade.”

Students at YMS will focus on concepts in manufacturing, design and market to support activities at their own school and other buildings in the district.

Projects undertaken by YMS students as they learn about manufacturing culture and processes in the pact with Cyclonaire may include precision manufactured booster signs for YPS sports and club teams, custom creations such as Christmas ornaments or school-requested items such as signs for the gym, plaques or banners.

“Cyclonaire is excited to partner with York Public Schools on the DYTI grant,” said president and CEOI Scott Schmid in a news release from the governor’s office released online following Monday’s press conference. “This initiative presents an amazing opportunity to increase student exposure to manufacturing technologies and career paths available in our communities. I want to thank the York County Development Corporation for providing valuable assistance in facilitating this new opportunity.”

Cyclonaire, for its part, expects to develop relationships with interested students, expand its intern pool and thus gain access to an emerging, skilled workforce as the seventh and eighth graders progress with their education.

YCDC executive director Lisa Hurley and development coordinator Bre Goben were in attendance at the news conference as were Lucas, Schmid and two representatives of Cyclonaire’s marketing service provider in Omaha.

Courtney Dentlinger, director of economic development for the State of Nebraska, reminded those at the press conference that manufacturing’s impact is second only to agriculture in the state.

Such programs as those between Cyclonaire and YPS, she said, “provide our youth with great careers in their home state.” The goal is “to build a stronger pipeline” between talented, hands-on oriented students and existing positions.

In all she said 100,000 Nebraskans are employed in the varied jobs provided by manufacturing and information technology. Projections suggest as many as 7,000 new positions in the field will be in place by 2014.

“This is a nice intro into what York High School is already doing,” said the governor, speaking of the several initiatives and career academies designed to make York students understand a four-year academic degree and the mountain of financial burden that comes with it is often not necessary – or even helpful – in choosing a long-term and potentially lucrative career.

Dentlinger said salaries in hands-on careers range from $38,810 to $84,992 after a couple or three years on the job for students who take advantage of the head start afforded by DYTI and similar early-entry initiatives.

“Those are incredible wages,” said Dentlinger.

It was said students make career decisions in large part based upon parent influence and hands-on experience or both. The days when manufacturing plants were filled with smoke and fumes, filthy and uncomfortable are no more, having given way to the squeaky clean facilities needed to build products to specifications and tolerances measured to perhaps half a dozen decimal points.

Making parents understand the stigma once applied to manufacturing no longer applies is one strategy. Exposing students themselves to the great career opportunities is another.

“We really need to break that stereotype … that manufacturing stigma,” said Ricketts. “There are career paths out there that don’t involve four years and all that debt.”

The three grants awarded Monday, said Dentlinger, are “relative small” in terms of the state’s overall budget, , but can “pay huge dividends.”

The short version is that DYTI grant recipients partner with schools to engage students to participate in hands-on career exploration and relevant workplace learning opportunities, explained the governor’s statement. The programs reach students beginning in the seventh and eighth grades and must, according to grant criteria, demonstrate sustainability and measurable impact.

Markets Cyclonaire specializes in include pneumatic conveying solutions for customers worldwide, especially in rubber and tire manufacturing, cement production and distribution, automotive battery production and heavy industry to include mining.

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