2016 Nebraska American Graduate

American Graduate Day 2016 Celebrates Importance of Mentoring

The fifth annual American Graduate Day, focusing on mentorship as one of the solutions for the nation’s education challenges, was broadcast live from Tisch WNET Studios in New York City on September 17 on more than 100 public television stations across the country.

Watch the video




Stories of Champions by NET

Stories of Champions highlights community leaders who are keeping students on the path to graduation. American Graduate Champions range from everyday heroes to high-ranking officials, and each story serves as an inspirational example of what is possible when concerned citizens work to improve outcomes for our nation’s children. NET produced three stories on Nebraska Champions: Tom and Nancy Osborne, Nikki Siegel and TR Raimondo.


Tom and Nancy Osborne

Co-founders of TeamMates Mentoring Program

Former College Football Hall of Fame coach, Tom Osborne and his wife Nancy founded the Osborne Foundation for Youth which in 1991 established the TeamMates mentoring program. At its inception, football players met with middle school students in Lincoln. In 1997, the program expanded to include caring volunteers from the Lincoln community.

Today, TeamMates operates 131 chapters across Nebraska and Iowa (as well as in San Diego, California),and serves more than 7,500 students in grades 3-12.

Nebraska Champions Tom and Nancy Osborne's Video





Nikki Siegel

Director of Street Outreach for The BAY in Lincoln

Once in and out of the foster care system and numerous group homes, Nikki Siegel is now the Director of Street Outreach at The BAY in Lincoln. Siegel goes directly to the streets every day to look for young people who might be at risk, visiting parks and bus stops and talking with school guidance counselors. In addition to doing street outreach and providing resources and services to victims, she also reaches out to those who may be hungry, abused or in crisis.

Siegel is a Homeless Youth Committee co-Chair of the Lincoln Homeless Coalition and is affiliated with the Lincoln non-profit organization, I've Got a Name (IGAN) which is dedicated to stopping the sex traffic trade in Nebraska.


Nebraska Champion Nikki Siegel's Video





TR Raimondo

Founder of Dream It. Do It. Nebraska

TR Raimondo, Chairman of Behlen Mfg. Co. and a Board Member of the NAM (National Association of Manufacturers) was instrumental in starting the Dream It. Do It. Initiative nationally after NAM members (14,000 manufacturing companies) consistently reported that the skills gap (students graduating without needed skills) slows down potential company growth throughout the U.S. 

Noticing how too many students were graduating from college with large debt and lacking the skills needed to get a good paying career in advanced manufacturing and related businesses, TR Raimondo was inspired to start the Nebraska Advanced Manufacturing Coalition (NAMC); a business / education / government / labor partnership that supports the Dream it. Do It. and STEM Match Initiative.

Dream It. Do It. is currently in its 10th year and in 44 locations around the U.S.; it is reaching hundreds of thousands of students each year.
Dream It. Do It. aims to enhance the image and identify the education paths to achieve skills needed in advanced manufacturing and related business by highlighting good paying careers to students, parents and educators. 

TR created the Career Dream Team Ambassador program which spotlights young adults (26 & under) in successful careers in Nebraska. One hour and 15 minutes before each Husker home football game, two ambassadors are interviewed by the Voice of the Huskers on the pre-game radio show. There are close to 200 ambassadors in Nebraska; as an ambassador they are encouraged to visit schools and career fairs to tell students about their success. The NAM has recognized the Ambassador Program as a Best Practice, encouraging other states to adopt it.

The STEM Match Initiative is an effort to increase the supply of students graduating in STEM and business courses to meet the workforce demand. Careers in STEM fields will grow 13% between 2012 and 2022. 


Nebraska Champion TR Raimondo's Video





Recognition Event Video

NET hosted a "Stories of Champions" recognition event as a part of
American Graduate Day on Wednesday, September 14, 2016



American Graduate Day is part of American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen, a public media initiative made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting