Kearney Works Appoints Full Board Of Directors


Kearney, NE–The new nonprofit, Kearney Works, has just appointed a full board of directors. “We have put together a dynamic and progressive board that will further the work that began as America’s Best Communities Kearney,” said Chairman of the board, Marion McDermott.

While Kearney Works looks to be a workforce development resource for all people in the Kearney area, the primary goal of Kearney Works is to provide comprehensive services and resources to the unemployed and underemployed who need to improve labor skills in order to fill available jobs and increase their earning potential. It will provide three pillars of service. It will develop a soft skills/ pre-employment training curriculum, it will assist residents in matching them with training and continuing education opportunities, and it will provide mentoring services through volunteer coaches to ensure long term success.

These individuals have committed to serving on the Kearney Works Board of Directors.

  • Marion McDermott, Bank of the West – Chairman
  • Jonathan Nikkila, Kearney City Council Member – Vice Chairman
  • Judi Sickler, Kearney Area Community Foundation – Secretary/Treasurer
  • Kelly Christensen, Central Community College
  • Meredith Collins, Community Action Partnership of Mid Nebraska
  • Shawna Erbson, City of Kearney
  • Max Kathol, Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Darren Robinson, Economic Development Council
  • Shawn Sterling, BluePrint Engines, Marshall Engines


Kearney Works was developed as the main priority in the community wide revitalization plan developed during the America’s Best Community competition for Kearney. Buffalo County Community Partners has facilitated the group through the revitalization process to the appointing of the board of directors.

The board had its first official meeting on July 26 to discuss funding, goals and vision, as well as initial projects to get underemployed area residents matched with training to fill high-paying jobs that area manufacturers are desperate to fill.

McDermott said, “I am very excited to be serving on the newly formed Kearney Works board of directors. Our goal is to provide a workforce office in Kearney that will serve unemployed as well as under employed by providing labor skills to increase their earning potential. We will do this by providing individuals with mentoring, soft skills as well as training curriculum. By working with individual agencies to utilize services already in place; as well as with businesses to train for their specific needs, we hope to address some of the labor issues Kearney is experiencing.”

Kearney Works is also focused on serving as a clearinghouse for residents to navigate workforce opportunities that already exist among all area organizations, agencies and businesses. This will help increase participation and prevent duplication.

The board of Kearney Works believes our area is a growing community with many opportunities for those interested in bettering their position. The Kearney Works leadership team is excited about the opportunity it has to play a part in improving lives and improving our community by reducing workforce barriers for our unemployed and underemployed.

Kearney Exits From America’s Best Competition




  • 6-Month pilot program
  • Nonprofit status with board of directors and a new director position to oversee
  • Workforce Career Center targets people working $9 to $14 per-hour jobs who cannot attend post-secondary school because of financial obligations or other barriers.
  • Focus on meeting employer workforce shortages in skilled labor areas of information technology, advanced manufacturing, education, retail and health care.
  • Partner with existing agencies to train unemployed and underemployed labor force
  • Establish a system of volunteers, coaches, and develop referral system
  • Soft Skills training program, with curriculum in areas such as resume building, interviewing etc….
  • Establish certificate programs
  • City of Kearney will support program with office space, equipment and other City resources



Competition Background,  Status, and Team

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“The America’s Best Communities Prize (the “ABC Prize”) Competition is an economic revitalization prize for change agents in small towns and rural communities across the Frontier Communications Service Area in 27 states. We are searching for individuals and organizations that are working together to make their hometowns better for everyone. Sponsored by Frontier Communications, DISH Network and our partners, the goal is to invest in communities to help spur economic growth and community revitalization.”

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