Kate Bolz

Senator

Lincoln, NE

A proud sixth generation Nebraskan, Kate Bolz grew up on a family farm near Palmyra, outside of Lincoln. She has represented South Central Lincoln in Nebraska’s Unicameral Legislature since 2013.

In the Legislature, Kate works with both Republicans and Democrats to deliver an annual balanced budget that reflects Nebraska’s priorities. Her colleagues elected her to serve as vice chair of the Appropriations Committee, which proposes that budget. She is a member of the Legislature’s Executive Board and Retirement Committee. She also serves on several special committees. She is chair of the Economic Development Task Force, as well as a member of the Children’s Commission and the Department of Correctional Services Special Investigative Committee.

In addition to her legislative work, Kate is the Executive Director of the Nebraska Association of Service Providers, an association of community-based disability service providers across the state. She is also an adjunct professor at Nebraska Wesleyan University. She is a Meals on Wheels volunteer at Tabitha, a member of the Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools Board of Directors, and an active member of both her hometown church, the Palmyra Presbyterian Church, and of First Plymouth Church in Lincoln.

Kate earned her bachelor’s degree from Nebraska Wesleyan University and a Master of Social Work from the University of Michigan.

Pro-Growth Progressive Ideas Shared

Problem

The ACE Promise program solves two problems: one, the lack of skilled workers in in-demand occupations like nursing and two, the need to create opportunities for students to pursue, pay for, and complete a career track higher education program.

Solution

The ACE Promise program builds on an existing program, the Access College Early program, which funds low-income high school student enrollment in dual credit courses. The ACE Promise program would provide community college scholarships to students pursuing certificates, diplomas, or associates degrees in the career field they began in high school.

Dual-credit has had a proven impact on college-going rates for low-income students: 81 percent of students go on to college, vs. 53 percent of low-income students who do not participate.

These "middle-skill" careers account for 56 percent of Nebraska’s labor market, representing true job opportunities for students.


Problem

In 2015, a Nebraska Chamber of Commerce Survey of 1,200 employers found that 52% had experienced difficulty hiring qualified employees within the previous year, and one fourth said that limited availability of labor and skilled employees was limiting growth. A number of states, including Nebraska, face workforce shortages in technical job fields that require skills certificates. Despite these shortages, no state or federal aid existed for non-credit community college courses and skills certificates. This created problems both for the economy at large, and individuals. On the state level, it restricted economic growth. On the individual level, it shut employees out from a variety of well-paying careers.

Solution

The Community College Gap Assistance program addresses workforce needs through financial aid to lower-income students taking non-credit courses, helping them to build the 21st century skills they need to work in competitive industries. Skills certificates and degrees have a proven return for employees that seek them. We’re taking a proven way to create career opportunities, work certificates and degrees, and aid is focused on training for industries experiencing workforce shortages. Furthermore, after completing the program, those that have degrees can continue through the career ladder and have a greater ability to pursue an associate's degree or field-specific training.

 Nebraska's effort builds on Iowa’s success by expanding eligibility so low-income adults can apply. By expanding gap assistance program eligibility, more workers can gain access to in-demand jobs and Nebraska leverages our existing under-employed workforce.