AINSWORTH, Neb. – The president of Northeast Community College and several board members held an information sharing session recently in Ainsworth.

The gathering was designed for constituents in the Keya Paha, Brown, and Rock County (KBR) region, including the KBR Leadership class and alumni, as well as county, municipal and school representatives, to learn more about Northeast's work to support rural vitality in the region.

Dr. Leah Barrett, president, was joined by five Northeast board members at the event - Del Ames, Neligh, Jeff Scherer, Beemer, Nicole Sedlacek and Carol Sibbel, O’Neill, and Pat Wojcik, South Sioux City.

“Dr. Barrett gave an outstanding presentation talking about Northeast Community College followed by outstanding dialogue and conversation among the attendees and college representatives,” Sedlacek said. “I think people have been appreciative of the different efforts and outreach by the College that have taken place out in the KBR counties over the last few years.”

The KBR region is an important portion of the western region of the Northeast Community College’s service area. The College operates a regional office in the ESU #17 Technology Building in Ainsworth. The Ainsworth Regional Office offers residents the opportunity to gain fast-track skills to a career or develop the first steps toward a bachelor's degree.

A variety of credit and non-credit courses, short-term business and industry training, and Adult Education classes are offered through the Ainsworth office.

Northeast has actively worked with the KBR Leadership Academy since its beginning in 2016. With the assistance of Jim McCarville, workforce development coordinator, and Sonny Corkle, coordinator of the Ainsworth office, the advisory board created a nine-month program each year that recruits a group of emerging leaders from Keya Paha, Brown and Rock counties and provide them with the tools, resources and knowledge that would allow them to step up and become the region’s next leaders.

Barrett spoke to the group during its Education Day in Springview in Oct. 2021 and is scheduled to meet with the current class in Nov. 2023 in Bassett.

“For the past three years, data from the Nebraska Community Foundation suggests our youth are interested in staying in their rural communities," Barrett said. "Northeast Community College is positioned to support the interest of our young people and those looking to upskill and reskill through providing pathways to a career, whether it be new or different.

“Meeting with community leaders in our region allows us to learn the specific needs and identify collaborative activities to support rural vitality through our extended campuses, in our Early College programs throughout our communities, and on our main campus in Norfolk. Our recent visit to KBR provided insight as we work to be good stewards of our resources in the context of our mission and vision to support our region and empower people to reach their educational and workforce goals."

The 2022-23 KBR class is currently meeting monthly at sites across the three-county region.