Workforce Development ‘Ground-Zero’

Today’s scholar will be tomorrow’s community leader, educator, or employer.

Scholarships

At Aksarben, it’s about more than a scholarship, it’s about jobs. Scholarships can change the lives of young students, but we are just as focused on what happens after graduation. Are our Aksarben Scholars finding gainful employment in Nebraska after graduation? That’s our goal.

Aksarben Career Promise

Aksarben Career Promise

...not all careers require a four-year degree.

Partnering with Metropolitan Community College, we aim to change the landscape of education and workforce development across the state.

Students receiving this $2,000 scholarship renewable for up to 2 years must be enrolled in designated high school career academies. Upon completing a degree at MCC, students will be qualified for high-demand, high-paying careers in our state.

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Aksarben | Horatio Alger

Aksarben | Horatio Alger

Empowering students to achieve their dreams, right here in Nebraska.

The Aksarben Foundation, utilizing the contributions of our generous donors, partners with the Horatio Alger Association to award four-year scholarships each year to Nebraska and western Iowa students who have overcome great personal adversity and need financial assistance to earn a college degree.

With every dollar being donated from the Aksarben Foundation and it’s generous donors, Aksarben restricts these scholarships to colleges and universities in Nebraska. By keeping our bright, hard-working students here, we are encouraging retention and growth within Nebraska’s workforce today, tomorrow, and beyond.

These $10,000 awards, payable up to five years, are matched by local colleges and universities, including the University of Nebraska, Creighton University, College of Saint Mary, Bellevue University…etc.

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Aksarben Cooperative

Aksarben Cooperative

“The Cooperative Education Program is a great example of a community - businesses, educators, and public servants - rallying together to take responsibility for its future,” - Governor Pete Ricketts.

In partnership with Wayne State College, the cooperative education program is one of several strategies connected to the “Northeast Nebraska Growing Together” initiative that was developed as part of the Aksarben Foundation challenge to address the workforce crisis in Nebraska.

“The next generation of Nebraska leaders won’t appear out of thin air. They’ll need to be mentored, taught, and connected to opportunities where they can contribute their skills. I applaud the Aksarben Foundation, Mike Flood, and Wayne State College for stepping up to envision and fund this program to grow Northeast Nebraska.” – Governor Ricketts

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Jamie Valadez, a freshman at the University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO) has big plans and big dreams. The seeds of those dreams were planted in places like Spring Lake Elementary, in the heart of South Omaha.

On a cool fall afternoon, Valadez lounges on the steps of the elementary school looking out on an empty playground as falling leaves swirl about.


“Home was always South O,” he says. “We moved around a lot when I was young, but starting in fifth grade I was always at the Boys and Girls Club.”

Like a lot of his friends, Valadez said his father was deported, not once, but twice. For a short while he lived in Mexico but returned to Omaha and attended Spring Lake Elementary. He loves South Omaha because its people are tough, they’ve been through a lot but always persevere.

“I’ve always said I won’t leave South Omaha until I’ve done all I can to help it prosper, Valadez says. “I see myself as an orthopedic surgeon and then getting into politics. We Latinos, Mexican Americans, haven’t always had that representation, haven’t had that voice we need. There are a lot of injustices in the world and I want to make a real change.”

He calls the Boys and Girls Club his home and his sanctuary. He was raised by his grandmother and at the club, he found mentors, father figures who pushed him to grow and thrive. He played football at Omaha South High and suffered several injuries that required surgeries. The doctor who performed the two shoulder surgeries inspired him to seek a career in medicine.

Those plans got a major boost last year when he found an email in his inbox labeled “Horatio.”

“It was during lunch and I was at the Hope Center, that’s where I always went for lunch break,” he says. “My advisor, Keri Lundeen was there. She is the one who encouraged me to apply for it. I got really excited and just told her ‘I got it.’ I was her first student to get the scholarship. Then I texted my grandma. She was so proud. She is very spiritual and said ‘thanks to God and His will be done.’”

Valadez is majoring in Medical Humanities, which he says is a major that is becoming more popular with premed students. It is a mix of the logical side of medicine and creative thinking. Valadez spends his time studying and working at the Boys and Girls Club, mentoring kids with the same background he comes from.

He is thankful to have received the scholarship and is working to inspire others with his story.

“I never came from money, for me college was always either I get scholarships to pay for it or I can’t go,” he says. To get this and have this financial security has been huge for me, it has made all the difference.”

Scholarships

At Aksarben, it’s about more than a scholarship, it’s about jobs. Scholarships can change the lives of young students, but we are just as focused on what happens after graduation. Are our Aksarben Scholars finding gainful employment in Nebraska after graduation? That’s our goal.

Over $1 million

awarded annually to deserving heartland students in the form of scholarships.