Community Engagement

Unique Competition Helps OPPD Find Ways to Fill Workforce Gaps

A unique competition was recently completed in which middle school, high school, and college students from across Nebraska and the country, as well as college students from Colombia, India, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates, were invited to engage with the Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) to find ways to fill workforce gaps.

OPPD was among several Nebraska employers sponsoring real-world challenges for the Symphony Workforce Foundation’s virtual Find the Why! contest.

Students who took part in the short seven-day virtual challenges also received assessments to be more self-aware, as well as discover their “why” through solving real business problems from various industry segments of Nebraska.

OPPD’s partnership with Symphony Workforce and other Nebraska businesses and organizations “give all young people an opportunity to be recruited for careers, similar to the way high school athletes are being recruited to colleges across America,” OPPD said.

The challenge set forth by OPPD took place Sept. 21–27. The utility invited students to generate ideas on how to attract, increase awareness about the careers in energy, hire and retain Nebraska talent, as well as ensure diversity of the workforce.

Winners were announced Oct. 7, as determined by subject matter experts selected by Symphony Workforce.

The first place winner was a group called “Sanguine Thinkers.”

OPPD said that 96% of students said this challenge helped clarify their future, 51% said the industry interested them and 67% said the culture fit them. In addition, 97% said the OPPD brand was "cool." 

Additional details on the challenge are available here.