NORFOLK, Neb. - Northeast Community College is thrilled to announce that TC Energy and the TC Energy Foundation have donated $500,000 to its Nexus campaign to support the construction of new agriculture facilities at the College.
The donation will further enable students to take courses in areas of crop production, livestock, crop science, entomology, forages, chemicals, marketing, sales and a number of other fields to form a strong foundation in the agriculture field.
The donation was presented by Trevor Jones, government and community relations advisor for TC Energy, during groundbreaking ceremonies for the Nexus project held Thursday, Sept. 10.
In his remarks Thursday, Jones said, “Projects like this underscore not only the importance, but the vitality of community colleges in Nebraska and the vital role they play in building a skilled and highly trained workforce needed to ensure a strong future for all Nebraskans, including those who have yet to start kindergarten or have taken an SAT.”
“Northeast Community College and this Nexus project are helping to develop the next generation of workers,” Jones continued, “giving them the skills and the training needed to build strong and sustainable local economies throughout Nebraska and rural America.”
A video of the ceremony as well as other video comments may be found at the website agwaternexus.com.
“TC Energy’s motto is to build stronger, more vibrant communities through their giving,” said Dr. Tracy Kruse, associate vice president of development and external affairs and executive director of the Northeast Foundation. “They have clearly demonstrated their commitment to our local communities, our workforce, and to the success of the entire agriculture industry through their generosity to this project. We couldn’t be more appreciative of their support and partnership.”
Northeast Community College has been ranked as one of the top agricultural two-year colleges in the country and its ag program allows students to explore innovative, hands-on experiential learning opportunities related to crop and livestock as well as improved conservation practices. TC Energy’s donation to Northeast supports the College’s Nexus campaign to move the institution’s farm and feedlot from its current site, which isn’t conducive to low stress animal handling, feedlot drainage or machinery storage and maintenance, to a location near the Chuck M. Pohlman Ag Complex which Northeast opened in 2004.
The campaign’s goal is to help create a sustainable future based on student, business, and community success. The Nexus campaign integrates innovation, applied research, and hands-on experience to grow the rural economy, address food and water security concerns and protect Nebraska’s resources for future generations.
"TC Energy has a long history of supporting educational initiatives, and this partnership allows us to further this commitment while directly supporting communities along our Keystone XL project route,” said Scott Castleman, director, public affairs and communications for Keystone XL. “Partnering with Northeast Community College will not only support the college in offering top-level facilities, but more importantly it will help develop the next generation of Nebraska farmers. One of the many benefits of this partnership is the positive affect among communities across the Keystone and Keystone XL routes, which TC Energy owns and operates.”
Nine out of 10 graduates of Northeast’s ag program stay in Nebraska. The program provides stable employment opportunities for its graduates, primarily in the 20-county service area outside of Norfolk. Fifty percent of jobs in northeast Nebraska are related to agriculture, and the industry is growing. Therefore, these graduates are helping to meet a key workforce demand for the state.
Site work for the Nexus project began in April and construction should be completed by Fall 2021. The initial phase of construction includes a new veterinary technology clinic and classrooms, a new farm site with a large animal handling facility, feedlot and other farm structures for livestock operations, a farm office and storage.
Funding for the agriculture facilities will come from the College’s commitment of $10 million, as well as external fundraising to fill the gap. With a total project cost of $22.3 million, Northeast has raised enough funds to begin construction; however, fundraising for the Nexus campaign will continue, as more is needed for equipment, technology and furnishings.
In August 2019, the Acklie Charitable Foundation (ACF) announced a $5 million lead gift to the Nexus project. ACF was founded by the late Duane Acklie and Phyllis Acklie, both Madison County natives and graduates of Norfolk Junior College, a predecessor institution of Northeast Community College.
For more information on the Nexus Campaign, contact Kruse at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (402) 844-7056. Online donations may be made through agwaternexus.com. Checks may also be mailed to Nexus Campaign, Northeast Community College Foundation, P.O. Box 469, Norfolk, NE 68702-0469.
Trevor Jones, government and community relations advisor for TC Energy, speaks Thursday during groundbreaking ceremonies for new agriculture facilities as part of the Nexus project at Northeast Community College. He is pictured next to Dr. Tracy Kruse, associate vice president of development and external affairs at Northeast. TC Energy and the TC Energy Foundation have donated $500,000 to Northeast’s Nexus campaign to support the construction of new agriculture facilities at the college.