MISSION STATEMENT: Our Purpose is to promote learning and improve workforce skills through opportunities afforded by Business and Education partnerships and to facilitate collaboration between businesses, communities, and education to reach our common goals.

ABLE Program The Advocating Business Labor and Education (ABLE) program is a collaborative effort between Dawson County area businesses and school districts to curb out migration of the young people of our county.  The ABLE program was devised to facilitate exposure of area business and the quality of life of Dawson County to the local students so the students would have a greater knowledge base of the variety of career opportunities that exist in the Dawson County area.  We feel this exposure will increase the likelihood of our students choosing a career field in which they could return to Dawson County to pursue.

Seven school districts:  Eustis-Farnam, Sumner-Eddyville-Miller, Gothenburg, Cozad, Lexington, Elwood, and Overton believe the ABLE program enhances various existing school programs.  Currently, the residents in Dawson County are aware that if we do not do a better job attracting young people to our area, we will not keep pace with the potential growth of our area.  Dawson County residents are aware that our youth is truly our greatest natural resource.  The ABLEprogram was devised to facilitate our youth researching this area as a viable choice to pursue a career.  The program is designed to expose our youth to our area business and the current and future opportunities that exist for them here in Dawson County.  By doing a better job of gaining youth access to area business we can hopefully provoke student interest in a profession they can develop right here in Dawson County if they so choose.

ABLE provides the businesses and the communities a door to the school systems and the students.  Through ABLE, the businesses and communities can effectively communicate needs in the job market, assist in hands-on student experiences, provide apprenticeships, and provide the educational system with various other forms of input to assist in the development of our future workforce.  Since the communication lines are open, projects to increase student involvement in county businesses are being cultivated.  Activities such as the student Business and Industry tour, Dawson County Career Expo, Connect 2 Business program, in school speakers job shadows, internships and the development of this website are just a few of the projects now taking place due to the creation of the program.  The coordination of these activities allows for greater business exposure and avoids duplication of efforts by the school districts.

The exodus of our young people is an evident problem and we are addressing that problem in a very creative and innovative fashion that involves a complete collaborative effort from all who are involved.  The willingness of both the educational facilities and the businesses to open the lines of communication separates this program from past efforts.

Out migration is a concern of most rural areas.  School-to-work concepts are evident in the ABLE program, but the funding and reliance upon a complete countywide collaboration separate ABLE from the School-to-Work framework.  There is no model that the ABLE program is patterning its actions after, and some may wonder; Why not embrace a model?  The answer is simple; this is a program to solve local problems through a creative collaboration of schools, communities, and businesses in order to tailor actions to meet the specific needs of Dawson County.  Many programs of the past have attempted to address youth out migration however, the ABLE program is taking an innovative and fresh approach to addressing a regional issue.  Simply put, Dawson County Nebraska wants to be the model.

Contact Information:
Stephanie L. Nichols ABLE Coordinator
Dawson Area Development
1501 Plum Creek Parkway Suite 2B
Lexington, NE 68850
Direct Line: 308.217.0006
Cell Phone: 308.325.1826
Fax: 308.324.5505


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