Our Youth: A Triple “A” Investment

OUR YOUTH: A Triple "A" Investment

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In Nebraska and across the nation, people are making the connection between high quality education and staying competitive in today’s hyper-connected, fast-paced global economy.  At the same time, research shows that young people in poverty lack the same kinds of learning opportunities than their peers who grow up in middle-to-upper income households.  Nebraska’s experiences reflect the growing opportunity gap that we see emerging across the nation – what economist James Heckman calls Our Two Americas. Meanwhile, policy makers are increasingly challenged with how to invest limited public funds to maximize economic growth for the benefit of all Americans.

This program explores the impact of investments in Nebraska’s most promising resource – our youth – and what we can do as citizens to ensure that all youth have the opportunity to succeed, driving our state and national economy forward.  Our panelists and a live audience will also explore how our schools and communities can help young people develop “soft skills” – communication, patience, empathy, persistence, and listening – that are directly linked to a person’s future career success and earning potential.

"We have to think about those skills that are needed in the workforce at age 25. We have to be creative along the way.  It’s not like we suddenly get these things at age three.  We have to get the ability to learn, the capacity to learn, the willingness to learn, the ability to benefit from sitting in the classroom, even putting up with drudgery. . . . I think persistence is understated."
        — James Heckman, Professor of
             Economics, University of Chicago




Liberty Elementary — A Community Solution

Watch how one Omaha school supports the community in order to help its students succeed.

Finding a Different Path

A dedicated team of teachers and administrators cares for kids with challenging personal circumstances and empowers them to discover a different path to success.




Program Moderator
Dr. Robert L. Whitehouse

UNL Board of Regents, Papillion. Educational Consultant & retired Principal, Omaha Bryan Senior High School

James J. Heckman
University of Chicago Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics, Nobel Prize Winner
Dana Washington
Mutual of Omaha Assistant General Counsel
K. C. Belitz
Columbus Chamber of Commerce Board Member
Kyle McGowan
Crete Public Schools Superintendent
Rick Kolowski
Nebraska State Senator, District 31





NET Learning Services
Nebraska Children and Families Foundation
Nebraska Department of Education
Nebraska Loves Public Schools
America’s Promise Alliance Grad Nation
Avenue Scholars Foundation
Buffett Early Childhood Fund
Center for Children, Families, and the Law
Coalition for Community Schools
Lincoln Community Foundation
Nebraska Community Learning Center Network
Nebraska Trucking Association

Project Liftoff
Urban League of Nebraska
United Way of Lincoln and Lancaster County

United Way Readers, Tutors and Mentors


© 2013

American Graduate is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in partnership with America's Promise Alliance, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.