Aksarben Foundation Announces New $275,000 Scholarship paired with Internship Opportunities

Students entering Nebraska and Iowa Western Community Colleges to study high-skill, high-wage, high-demand “STEM” courses (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) are eligible to apply for a newly-announced, statewide Aksarben Foundation Scholarship.

“Aksarben has been awarding scholarships to hard-working students for decades,” says Sandra Reding, President of the Aksarben Foundation. “What makes this scholarship special is that we are awarding $50,000 each to five of the greater Nebraska Community Colleges and $25,000 to Iowa Western Community College, intentionally tying these scholarships to the InternNE, Powered by Aksarben statewide internship program. Each student selected for this scholarship will also be among the growing talent pool businesses can access statewide to select interns.”

This scholarship will continue to expand the Aksarben Foundation’s impact of helping students achieve their dreams of higher learning, while also connecting them with employers eager for top talent.

“These are the kinds of relationships that we need to foster – finding ways to connect interns right into Nebraska businesses, farms and ranches, that can provide hands-on career training,” said Governor Jim Pillen. “It’s a model that has infinite opportunities for success.”

“This program is a win-win,” says Courtney Wittstruck, Executive Director of the Nebraska Community College Association. “Nebraska’s community colleges work tirelessly to remove barriers for students seeking post-secondary education, and we would like to express our gratitude to Aksarben for joining us in this endeavor by establishing this new scholarship program. These generous scholarships will open the door to the life-changing benefits of higher education for people who otherwise might never have considered or been able to afford it. It is a win for the students who will receive the transformative education and training necessary to prepare them for productive and rewarding professional careers. It is a win for the state because it will result in more highly trained workers in every community across Nebraska. Our community colleges look forward to continuing and strengthening our partnership with Aksarben to ensure every Nebraskan can access the Good Life of higher education.”

According to the 2024 Nebraska Higher Education Progress Report from the Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education, in the academic year 2022-23, community colleges enrolled the largest number of for-credit students of all postsecondary sectors in Nebraska with 56,891 students annually.

“Nebraska businesses need new and skilled graduates who have concentrated studies in STEM careers,” says Shonna Dorsey, Executive Director of InternNE, Powered by Aksarben. “As we travel throughout the state, we hear the same thing from employers – that we need to increase the talent pool to keep these businesses staffed appropriately. With this new opportunity through the Aksarben Foundation, students will have increased incentive and drive to enter these career paths and find meaningful work right here at home.”

“I personally want to thank the Aksarben Foundation for their support of students, but more importantly an amazing partnership with Iowa Western Community College. This award will benefit students into the future to help obtain their degree in the STEM programs. With the cost of education continually growing students need assistance and this grant will allow us to better serve our students in attaining their goals,” says Dr. Dan Kinney, President of Iowa Western Community College.

“At Aksarben, everything we do is about growing the state and about talent. We are very excited about this new scholarship opportunity for students, and feel it will make a real difference,” Sandra Reding, Aksarben Foundation President.

Application details will be available from the community colleges in the coming months.