U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh visits Lincoln job training center

By: - February 23, 2023 4:31 pm

Mike Smith, co-executive director and co-founder of Rabble Mill, leads a tour for U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh at the job training center in Lincoln on Thursday Feb. 23, 2023. (Courtesy of Rabble Mill)

LINCOLN — U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh was in Lincoln on Thursday visiting a workforce development program that was recently awarded a $2.1 million federal grant from the City of Lincoln.

The nonprofit Rabble Mill earlier this year was selected by Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird’s administration to receive funding from the federal American Rescue Plan Act.

Among Rabble Mill programming is The Bay, a facility featuring an indoor skatepark, a concert venue, a media lab, a student-run coffee shop and a hydroponic farm housed in a shipping container.

Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird visits with U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh during the secretary’s visit to Lincoln on Thursday Feb. 23, 2023. (Courtesy of Rabble Mill)

Bay High, a Lincoln Public Schools focus program, operates at The Bay, which is described as a place targeting young job seekers who “think outside the box.”

Thursday’s event at The Bay was not open to news media.

But in a statement, Walsh said the work being done at The Bay is giving young people a pathway into middle-class jobs.

“We must focus on giving workers access to training and skills to meet the needs of today’s economy,” he said in the statement.

Gaylor Baird joined the tour.

‘“I was honored to join Secretary Walsh in visiting the Bay High focus program that will eventually provide 75 high school students each year the ability to access unique experiences and skill-based learning to provide a strong foundation for their future career success,” the mayor said.

The nation’s labor secretary met with young people gaining skills in areas such as emerging digital technology. He reportedly spoke to participants in the Gap Year pilot program that provides mentoring, a paid internship and other preparation for college or jobs.

Gap Year is open to Nebraska youths 18 to 24 years old who are not enrolled in college and are looking for a career path.

“If you have or know youth who maybe haven’t found their thing yet, or they’re just not sure where to start, Gap Year is for them,” said Mike Smith, co-founder and co-executive director of Rabble Mill.

Rabble Mill’s workforce development programming is enabled by public and private partners and the American Job Center.


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Cindy Gonzalez
Cindy Gonzalez

Senior Reporter Cindy Gonzalez, an Omaha native, has more than 35 years of experience, largely at the Omaha World-Herald. Her coverage areas have included business and real estate development; regional reporting; immigration, demographics and diverse communities; and City Hall and local politics.