How Nex-Tech Invests in Future Leaders at Young AmeriTowne® of Kansas, Lenora

June 6, 2024

For many years Nex-Tech has invested in youth development across northwest and central Kansas. We pioneered the founding of Nex-Generation Round Up for Youth, Inc. (a 501(c)(3) organization). We continue to sow the seeds of community involvement in the minds of youths.

In my engagements with local, regional, and national stakeholders on rural issues, I have discovered that workforce development is a common theme that resonates across the board. Workforce development raises a basic question: how can rural places attract, keep, and sustain the manpower and brainpower that will maintain, grow, and boost rural economies? All industries and sectors in rural America have to think about this question especially when we add the challenge of succession planning in small towns to the mix. From a micro and grassroots level, it will be helpful for relevant stakeholders to reflect on how rural food systems, commercial systems, educational systems, health systems, etc.; can be sustained and supported beyond the present generation, and into the next generation.

At Nex-Tech, we have taken a proactive approach by supporting the programs and initiatives of Nex-Generation Round Up for Youth (NGRUFY). One such program is the Young AmeriTowne® of Kansas, located in Lenora, Kansas. The Young Ameritown of Kansas is a four-to-six-week, financial literacy, and career development curriculum designed for 4th – 8th grades (adaptable for high school, too) that teaches basic economics, banking, money management, government, communications, entrepreneurship, philanthropy, and employment. Learn more here.

On April 26th, 2024, I was in the City of Lenora, KS, to interact and engage with middle school kids at the Young Ameritown Center, former Lenora High School Building. I had a great time watching the teenagers take up various roles and acts, perform various responsibilities beneficial to community life, and demonstrate a passion for civic involvement. “This is workforce development“, I said to myself. “This is sowing the seeds that one day could lead to a meaningful career, that benefits the community“, I thought. The Nex-Tech support of this program has continued through various avenues for many years, including via the Round-Up Program, where our customers round up their bills to support NGRUFY.

I am grateful for the heroic and un-erasable work of Jacque Beckman and the Nex-Gen Board of Directors that laid the groundwork for this; and I am excited about where the new Executive Director, Kelli Huneke will lead the program.

After my interactions with ‘the towne’ I was lucky to be interviewed by some journalists I met :). Watch the video reel and enjoy the experience.

Learn more about Nex-Generation Round Up for Youth

Friday Otuya

Connect with Friday

Friday Otuya
Community Engagement Specialist

Friday Otuya /əoTU:ya:/ drives our multifaceted community economic development efforts and is the Nex-Tech contact for all our loan and grant programs. His vision is to position Nex-Tech as the community economic development partner of choice in Kansas for federal, state, and local stakeholders.  He lives with his wife and son in Hays, KS.

Weekdays: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.