Mayor Jim Suttle announced Tuesday that his office would earmark money in next year's city budget for job training.
He also said he would seek to “enhance” the city's tax-increment financing program and create an advisory council of business professionals and policymakers to help advance economic growth.
“We must do more to bring industry and job trainers together to ensure that our workforce is properly trained to fill the high-demand jobs of today's society and anticipate trends to ensure our workforce is ready for the jobs of tomorrow,” Suttle said.
He spoke at the north downtown headquarters of the Secret Penguin marketing firm.
Job creation and economic development are emerging as key issues in this year's city election.
Suttle noted the Brookings Institution has concluded that Omaha weathered the nation's economic recession better than any other city.
“While other cities have buckled, Omaha is working,” Suttle said. “I am confident that we can continue this momentum, but I also understand that government does not have all the answers.”
Suttle lauded Omaha's relatively low unemployment rates and business climate, but he said business leaders are concerned about a lack of jobs on the city's north side.
Enhancing tax-increment financing would help businesses start or move to urban parts of Omaha, Suttle said. An advisory council would “maximize the effectiveness” of Suttle's ideas.
Suttle said the group will be made up of policy experts, business owners, city officials and workforce training officials, “all charged with ensuring that our economic growth has properly trained individuals to meet the workforce needs in our metro area.”
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