N-U President:  “This is The Year Of The Internship”

Lincoln, NE (June 8, 2022)  Ted Carter led into his address to the Chamber of Commerce with a few top gun jokes, because of his background as one of the most decorated Top Gun Pilots in the history of the U.S. Navy.

He also told a story about a day, during the Cold War, that he and a fellow pilot were flying and encountered a Russian Mig.  The Mig took action that would have allowed Carter to shoot it down, but he chose not to do so.  17 years later he was among the Command Staff of a Naval Warship that hosted a conference of military officers from various nations.  As it turned out, the Pilot Carter did not shoot down was one of the Officers who came aboard.

His point was that actions taken on a given day often take a long time to fully mean something, or to bear fruit.  It led into his point about Nebraska.

Praising the State and its people, Carter said Nebraska is facing a labor shortage, and needs to take action immediately if it is to launch and create new growth in the future.

“We need skilled Medical Professionals, Engineers, Teachers, and professionals in other areas such as housing and information technology” he said.  Many of the jobs of the future have not even been created yet.

“We have low unemployment” he said, “but we also have 50,000 unfilled jobs in this State.”

The N-U President said that a certain number of people will move to Nebraska naturally, and because their jobs move here.  He said that some who have left will naturally come back because of the superior quality of life.  He pointed, however, to the “Brain Drain” as a major problem to be addressed.

“Every year, about 2,000 of our 11,000 graduates from the University of Nebraska go to other States to begin their careers” he said.

Carter said that internships are part of many N-U programs already.  In the future, he said, all will contain “experiential opportunities”.

“That might be an internship, a part time job during school, studying abroad, or something that gets that student involved with an employer.”

Carter did not predict how many of the 2,000 departing students the new program might keep at home for their careers, but said that work experience is the best way to whet a student’s appetite for a career.

Using another Naval example, the former Admiral said getting Naval recruits to sign up for submarine duty was a big problem.  It was addressed with the use of internships while the students were enrolled in the U.S. Naval Academy.  “The problem was solved in a year” he said.

Carter hopes to use the same principle to get students interested in Nebraska careers while still attending the University of Nebraska.

While convincing more high school graduates to attend College and convincing more adults to go “back to school” Carter acknowledged that the cost of Education is also part of the discussion.  He pointed to the University’s “Nebraska Promise” program, which allows students from families with up to $65,000 in household annual income to attend N-U for free.  That program, he said, quickly attracted several thousand students who might not otherwise have attended the University.

Overall, he said the University is the best value in higher education today.  “I’d like to think that when you get a young 23 year old graduate” he said “that you’re going to be very, very happy with the quality. ”

It’s only fair to wonder whether, 17 years down the road from today, a University of Nebraska graduate will make a speech to a group somewhere in the State, and talk about how they changed their mind and chose to stay in Nebraska because of an “experiential opportunity” provided by their Alma Mater.