OTOC Partners with Nebraska Chamber for Immigration Reform


From downtown Omaha to the shadow of Scotts Bluff National Monument,... the chronic lack of in-state workers to fill jobs...brought an unusual pair of groups to North Platte Dec. 1 as they build a coalition of agricultural, business, health care, education, labor and community leaders from one end of the state to the other.

It sprang from months of talks between the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Omaha Together One Community, a 30-year-old, faith-based advocacy group that had mainly focused on social justice issues in its home city.

They say it’s time for Nebraska to aggressively recruit internationally to grow its workforce — in other words, welcome immigrants....

“They are the people staffing our meatpacking plants and fixing our roofs,” [OTOC leader Kathleen] Grant said. Often “they’ve been here for 20 years and their children are citizens and they’ve bought homes....”

“We have also heard that immigrants need certainty and to be valued in their workplaces and communities,” Grant said. But “we were very aware of the worker shortage in Nebraska....”

“I think what we heard is we have common goals and values on these issues,” Grant said. “OTOC works with people when their interests align.”

[In photo, Kathleen Grant (far left) stands with other OTOC leaders and organizer Sarah Keeney.]

Growing Coalition Points Abroad in Relieving Nebraska's Workforce WoesThe North Plate Telegraph [pdf]