City Highlights American Job Center Program Success

Published on April 18, 2024

Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird and local workforce development advocates today highlighted the achievements of the American Job Center of Lancaster and Saunders Counties’ Incumbent Worker Program, through which more than 550 employees of Lincoln businesses have gained new skills to advance in their careers since the program’s inception in 2022.

“Workforce development is crucially important for our community’s economic growth,” said Mayor Gaylor Baird. “When we invest in developing a skilled workforce, we ensure that more community members gain access to meaningful, financially secure careers and that local employers have the talent they need to compete.”

The program addresses employers' workforce needs by providing tailored training to existing employees. Types of training offered have included advanced machinery operation, software proficiency, and language proficiency programs such as English as a Second Language.

Dylan Wren, AJC Workforce Administrator, said that 201 workers from five businesses have participated in the program since July 2023, and all of them are currently employed. The program is currently accepting applications for the next round of training.

“We encourage other employers who are eligible to consider applying to participate in this program to invest in their workforce, retain valued workers, and boost their competitiveness in the market,” Wren said. “Ultimately, the goal is to enhance employability and facilitate upward mobility for our workforce, contributing to the overall economic growth of our community.”

Through the AJC's partnership with employers, a significant percentage of employer-specific training costs are covered, with the commitment to retain retrained employees upon completion. Eligibility requires employers to meet Fair Labor Standards Act requirements and have a six-month employment history with the employee.

Testimonials from program participants and employers underscore the program's impact. Kevin Mattran, Kawasaki Motors Training Administrator, emphasized how the program enhances language skills and confidence levels, aiding in career advancement.

“Our immigrant and refugee team members are an important part of our operation. If it weren’t for these people, the help of Lincoln Literacy, and the support of the Incumbent Worker Training Program, our factory would not be able to keep pace with our current production demands,” Mattran said.

Robert Williams, Garner Industries Director of Human Resources, said the program’s role in helping employees overcome language barriers is good for employee retention and helps employees advance within the company.

“Programs like this are priceless. They truly help organizations, such as Garner Industries, be more productive and move forward,” Williams said. “Our turnover amongst those participating is also very low. It is just one of a number of ways that we are able to build community within the walls of our organization and when people belong to a community that cares, they don’t want to leave.”

Mayor Gaylor Baird and program representatives encourage local employers to take advantage of this valuable resource. Businesses interested in participating in the program are encouraged to contact the American Job Center for more information and to discuss eligibility requirements.

For more information about the AJC and its services, visit