Lunch & Learn Conversation On WSC Partnership With UNL College Of Engineering Turns Into Great Discussion Among Business Leaders


WAYNE – Business & Industry at Wayne Area Economic Development joined Wayne State College and the UNL College of Engineering in welcoming business leaders to become aware of a new engineering partnership between WSC and the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.

While enjoying lunch provided by (covered by WAED) and at the Beaumont Event & Concert Hall, roughly 30 members from the community ranging from the business, city and education sectors sparked a conversion of looking to fill the demand in the state and region.

Thursday afternoon’s free lunch seminar titled, “Lunch & Learn” featured Dean of UNL College of Engineering, Dr. Lance Perez.

At least seven students are currently involved in the 2+2 program between Wayne State College and UNL. The comment was brought up that there is no cap for the number of students in the engineering program and they would address the good problem of having 100 students as Executive Director with WAED, Luke Virgil thinks that number will grow.

“This is a really, really high need, high skill, high wage career opportunity,” said Virgil. “That’s great to see that Wayne State and UNL are p[partnering to try and bring those types of opportunities to our region; we need that here in Wayne America.”

As the Lunch & Learn event concluded Thursday afternoon, a topic of discussion continued about getting people to remain in their community following their education or draw them in to start their permanent career.

“So, I think the conversation we had today where they’re talking about is there the bandwidth for opportunities is town? Yes, there is,” Virgil added. “That was the sentiment I took away from this. I think that there is a lot of energy today where people want to work together as a business community to try and attract those young people or to attract new blood to the community.”

Dr. Perez provided more information on the new 2+2 engineering program and answered several questions. The three current programs of engineering are Civil, Agricultural and Mechanical in the partnership which can add more programs of study where students will begin at WSC and then transfer to UNL to finish their degrees.

Similar questions were also brought to the attention of the business community in trying different ways to keep students in northeast Nebraska, more specifically Wayne and have businesses organize an event to get interns in town which Dean Perez stated their department would be happy to help with.

Virgil also mentioned housing will always be at the forefront of growing a community.

“I mean you can’t recruit people and expect them to live on the street,” Virgil added. “You can’t recruit people and expect them to not have the amenities in your community that makes it a good place to live. So, it starts with housing, and it continues with all the other quality of life things that Wayne has to offer.”

Contact the Business & Industry’s group through WAED at 402-375-2240 for more information.