Business Resources

Developing Youth Talent Initiative – Nebraska Department of Economic Development

The Developing Youth Talent Initiative (DYTI) creates collaboration between Nebraska businesses and public schools. The DYTI exposes students to careers in Manufacturing and Information Technology (IT) to support a youth talent pipeline for these industries in the state.


The Nebraska Developing Youth Talent Initiative (DYTI) creates collaboration between Nebraska businesses and public schools, connecting young Nebraskans to learning opportunities in the workforce that can play an important role in their decision to build their careers in our state.

The intent of DYTI is to support an industry-defined approach to develop a youth talent pipeline for our state’s emerging STEM workforce, especially in Manufacturing, IT, Healthcare and Engineering occupations. Grant recipients will partner with schools to engage 7th and 8th grade students in participation of hands-on career exploration and relevant workplace-learning opportunities. Exposing this next generation of leaders to the advanced skills and knowledge required for STEM occupations encourages an expanding workforce to help Grow Nebraska.

Eligible Grant Applicants

Applicants must be a for-profit Nebraska businesses or consortiums of businesses in any industry. Non-profit businesses can be part of a business consortium. Eligible businesses, or consortium of businesses, must partner with local public schools to create a sustainable project plan. Letters of support from all entities participating in the application and identification of all cash and in-kind match is also requested within the application.

Eligible Projects

Projects must facilitate 7th and 8th grade student participation in hands-on STEM career exploration and exposure to STEM skills in order to increase interest and awareness of STEM occupations among area students. Priority may be given to projects with a focus on IT, manufacturing, healthcare and engineering skills. Eligible projects may be structured in a variety of ways, including (but not limited to) activities such as:

  • Developing new classroom curriculum

  • Purchasing equipment for a classroom or lab

  • Creating a mobile trailer

  • Mentoring

  • Planning new events

  • Training teachers and company staff

  • Conducting industry tours

  • Creating a makerspace

  • Providing project competitions and awards

  • Bringing in guest speakers

Application Review Criteria

Applications are evaluated based on the information provided in the application plus information obtained by DED staff.

DED and the review committee may preference applications and projects that also provide:

  • Substantial impact on businesses, community and students
  • Evidence of regional workforce needs and relationship of the proposed project to the need
  • Clear goals and projected outcomes
  • Provide a diverse learning experience
  • Detailed budget and project timeline
  • Strategic evaluation plan (by a 3rd party evaluator for Signature Projects) with a pre and post assessment of student interest in and knowledge of occupations within the industry
  • Well-planned program sustainability

 Applications are reviewed and selected by a committee of leaders from DED and the Nebraska Department(s) of Education (NDE) and Labor (NDOL). The committee will recommend projects to the DED Director for final approval.


DED will provide a required, standard pre and post assessment that should be given to students before and after project engagement (i.e. intervention) each academic year. Signature Projects (those awarded $50,000 or more) are required to utilize a 3rd party evaluator. Applicants may select the evaluator; potential evaluators include Frank Shimerdla ([email protected]) and Dick Meyers ([email protected]).

Important Deadlines

March 1st: Applications will be opened; a link to the application will be provided on the website

May 16th at 12:00pm (noon): Applications due

Late May: Review committee meets

Late June: Notices of award and denial sent

July 1st: Contracts begin

Services Provided

Management Issues

  • Recruiting Assistance

Financial Resources and Assistance

  • Technology Grants


  • Trade Education and Training
Contact Information
Rose Baker
301 Centennial Mall South
4th Floor
Lincoln, NE 68508