Irrigation company recipient of grant to help train youth

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts and leadership from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development announced that Reinke Manufacturing, Deshler, Nebraska, will receive a Nebraska Developing Youth Talent Initiative grant for the second consecutive year.

Reinke will receive a $22,000 grant to partner with the local public schools served by Educational Service Unit No. 5 to encourage students to explore careers in manufacturing, information technology, and math or science related fields.

“We are very proud to once again receive the Developing Youth Talent Initiative grant. Reinke has for many years supported youth educational activities and we are excited to have an opportunity to further enhance the education of students in our area,” said Reinke President Chris Roth. “We’d like to thank Gov. Ricketts for his continued commitment to engage students in workplace learning and career exploration.”

Three Nebraska companies were selected to receive the grants. Reinke will use the funds to create engaging science, technology, engineering and math career curriculum, along with a mobile learning lab that will reach up to 850 students through their Exposing Kids to Career Opportunities program. It will feature simulators to teach students about 3-D printing, welding, software programming and more. The ESU5 serves 10 Nebraska public school systems in three counties: Beatrice, Bruning-Davenport, Deshler, Diller-Odell, Fairbury, Freeman, Meridian, Southern, Thayer Central and Tri County.

Launched in 2015, the DYTI creates collaboration between Nebraska businesses and public schools, connecting young Nebraskans in seventh and eighth grade to learning opportunities that can play an important role in their decision to build a career in the state. Exposing the next generation of leaders to learning opportunities and advanced skills for occupations in manufacturing and IT industries encourages an expanding statewide workforce. Since it began, 7,000 students in more than two dozen school districts have benefitted from the program. This year’s recipients will add up to 4,600 students to that total.

Last year, Reinke utilized the DYTI grant to buy equipment to help educate students on coding, robotics and mechatronics. One of the work stations featured a computer numerical control machine, used to create parts of tools by utilizing computers to precisely machine different materials.

As the world’s largest privately held manufacturer of center pivot and lateral move irrigation systems, Reinke has a long history of supporting and expanding educational opportunities for area youth.

For the past two years, Reinke has sponsored a robotics team for students at Deshler Public Schools. The team took the state title this year and advanced to the First Tech World Championships in Detroit this spring.

Eleven years ago, the company started welding programs for high school students in Deshler, Geneva and Belleville, Kansas, providing welding equipment for hands-on learning. The welding equipment additionally provides adult education opportunities through night classes offered at the schools in cooperation with Southeast Community College.

In 2014, Reinke worked alongside the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis to develop its Irrigation Technician Concentration and Certification Program, providing instruction insight and donating equipment and supplies, including a GPS-equipped center pivot to the NCTA field laboratory for hands-on learning. Reinke has also awarded scholarships for students enrolling in the irrigation technician program at NCTA.

For the past 15 years, Reinke has awarded 137 scholarships to area students and children of their employees to attend college.