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Nebraska Colleges

Nebraska Colleges

  

Nebraska sits in the heart of the Great Plains, a big rectangular state with agricultural roots.  The state rises from the eastern border where it is about 850 feet above sea level to the eastern edge where the elevation is over 5,000 feet.  The eastern half of the state is fertile agrarian country and it where much of the population is to be found.  Also on the east side of the state are its principal cities of Lincoln and Omaha.  Lincoln has become a financial center, principally for the insurance industry while Omaha is a major grain and meat distribution point. 

 

Omaha has also, in recent years, become known for the number of phone centers that operate in the area.  Customer service lines, telemarketers and 800 sales lines pump thousands of telephone calls into and out of Omaha every day, although increasingly these “help lines” are being established offshore by major consumer electronic firms.  Omaha is also home to America’s legendary entrepreneur Warren Buffet, founder and principal stockholder of the Berkshire Hathaway empire.

 

To the west of the state, the Nebraska Sand Hill country rises.  The soil supports grasslands, where cattle wander on the hill’s slopes and plateaus between.  IN the far west the land rises to the Rocky Mountain foothills, where some spectacular rock formations can be found.  Agriculture remains the state’s economic anchor, principally in the form of cattle, wheat and other grains.  Manufacturing and white-collar diversification in the economy has taken place principally in the Omaha and Lincoln areas.

 

In 2005 the state developed the Nebraska Advantage plan in an attempt to attract new enterprises.  Many businesses have expressed interest in expanding in Nebraska. The major parts of the Nebraska Advantage package took effect January 1, 2006.  

These include expanded incentives for five “tiers” of investment and/or job creation:

  • Small Business Advantage;
  • Research and Development Advantage;
  • Microenterprise Tax Credit Advantage;
  • Rural Development Advantage;
  • Customized Job Training Advantage;

 

and in addition state sales tax exemptions of manufacturing machinery, equipment and related services.

 

Several companies intend to take advantage of these tax breaks; one of the first to announce its intention was PayPal.  The state is making a concerted effort to parlay the beginnings of an electronic and communications concentration in Omaha into a statewide opportunity.

 

The University of Nebraska has, certainly unfairly, been known more in the last 20 years for its football teams than its academic quality.  Athletic admission standards and some of the publicized off-field difficulties of the school’s star athlete’s led to the snide observation in NCAA circles that the “N” on the University’s football helmets stood for “knowledge.”  Creighton University in Omaha gained some notoriety perhaps a decade ago when it was discovered that one its graduated basketball players had gotten through college without learning how to read.

 

Both the NCAA and the schools in question have since tightened up their admission standards and their insistence that school athletes take responsibility for their scholarship as well.  The state is making a concerted effort at attracting businesses and the management talent that comes with them.  Nebraska might be one of those sleeper states where a pocket of the new, IT driven economy pops up one day; there may be opportunities growing there even now.

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