National Seed Community: Omaha, NE

African-American Empowerment Network

About the Applicant

Established in 2006, the African-American Empowerment Network works together with residents and leaders to transform distressed neighborhoods and improve the economic condition and quality of life of African Americans and citizens of Greater Omaha. Their goal is to close long-standing gaps in employment, entrepreneurship, education, housing, and other factors to transform Omaha into a thriving & prosperous city, across every one of its zip codes and neighborhoods.

About the Project

The Empowerment Network is one of the organizations that helped reduce gun violence in North Omaha by 80 percent during the summer months; They’ve also been instrumental in decreasing African-American unemployment from 20.7 percent to 7.5 percent decreasing youth unemployment by 45 percent; and, increasing the graduation rate for African-American students by 17 percent over the past 10 years.

The goal of this project is to build on these successes and accelerate the pace of positive change by expanding Step-Up Omaha!, which recruits, trains, prepares, and places Omaha youth and young adults in paid summer jobs and work experience opportunities. Since 2008, the collective has helped 4,000 youth from lower income households explore careers and find jobs. The goal is to expand the program to support additional youth from the Asian, Hispanic, Native American, and immigrant communities in Omaha.

Key Implementation Partners

  • MBK of the Heartland
  • Latino Center of the Midlands
  • Refugee Empowerment Center
  • Omaha Public Schools