31 Jul 2019

Economic Development

A “super region” for attracting tech talent was announced on Friday, June 28 by the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development and Greater Omaha Chamber. The joint initiative by the two organizations is designed to connect highly skilled workers with regional tech positions. 

“The super region is an incredible place to live and work,” said David Brown, president and CEO, Greater Omaha Chamber. “Our rapidly expanding base of tech companies needs ambitious and skilled workers, and our organizations together are attacking this challenge for our members and investors by leveraging both communities’ competitive advantages.”

“OPTiN: Opportunities in tech,” is a digital solution connecting global and local tech employers from across the super region with job seekers looking to accelerate their tech careers. The initiative encompasses a newly developed super region brand and messaging, a digital tech jobs portal and an aggressive targeted marketing campaign in select markets. Details of the super region campaign were unveiled at an 11 a.m. press conference at Buildertrend’s Omaha headquarters.

“Lincoln and Omaha have gained a deserved reputation as a corridor of innovation and a thriving environment for a variety of growing companies that operate at the intersection of technology and disruption,” said Wendy Birdsall, president, Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development and Lincoln Chamber of Commerce.

Across the world, companies and cities are competing for tech talent. The super region effort will extend to markets where Omaha and Lincoln have a strong, competitive advantage in order to attract workers. The initiative will begin by marketing to talent in four select areas: the greater Denver region, Chicago, Detroit and Sioux Falls.

“Omaha and Lincoln’s super region creates a marketplace of 1.3 million people, two dynamic urban cores along with global tech industry brands creating one of the most dynamic growth centers in the mid-west,” added Mike Dunlap, executive chairman, Nelnet.

OPTiN leaders say it’s essential to invite professionals outside of Nebraska to accelerate their career in the Lincoln and Omaha corridor, including Council Bluffs. Both organizations put attracting tech talent at the top of their priorities. The Greater Omaha Chamber’s Prosper Omaha 2.0 campaign sets its sights on attracting 10,000 tech workers in the next five years.

“Our workforce continues to be a strength for Lincoln and Omaha and it's vital that both cities continue to attract these highly skilled workers,” said Mindy Simon, chief information officer, Conagra Brands.

The super region’s competitive strengths are already on record. In April 2019, MarketWatch named Omaha/Lincoln America’s No. 1 New Tech Hot Spot, citing such examples as being a haven for entrepreneurs, a supportive culture of tech businesses and a history of successful start-ups.

While the opportunity for innovative work at a competitive salary might draw professionals, OPTiN organizers also point to the collection of global tech industry leaders making their home in the super region. 

LinkedIn recently announced an expansion making Omaha the third-largest employee base in North America for the global organization. Toast, the restaurant payment system disruptor that opened an Omaha office in late 2017, has since ramped up its workforce to more than 230 workers and has plans for more.  The company’s CEO Chris Comparato called Omaha’s tech scene, “a hidden gem.” 

And Hudl, the Lincoln-based sports video software company, announced in May 2019 continued growth plans in the region. The organization currently has 540 Nebraska-based employees – 490 in Lincoln, and 50 in Omaha.

“Attracting and retaining top talent is a key component of sustained economic growth. We are all in,” Brown said.

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