The Nonprofit Association of the Midlands, with the support of SMITH HAYES, presented the 2012 Catalyst Award to Wendy Boyer, the Greater Omaha Chamber’s vice president of community affairs, at the Nov. 8 Midlands Nonprofit Summit.

The Catalyst Award recognizes the leadership skills needed to add excellence to our communities. Boyer was nominated by Heartland Workforce Solutions. Through her position at the Chamber, Boyer is in the thick of formulating ideas and connecting people with opportunities that have the potential to impact Omaha’s future. With the knowledge that some areas of our community suffer from an unemployment rate of 18 percent to even 30 percent, Boyer envisioned a reorganization of workforce development efforts in Omaha to address the issue.

Boyer championed ideals for this new system, beginning by securing a grant that funded Omaha as one of 11 U.S. cities to develop new workforce development models.

Three years later, Heartland Workforce Solutions operates as a 501(c)(3) organization serving Douglas, Sarpy and Washington counties. A new career center at 57th and Ames streets features a business-friendly atmosphere and an emphasis on customer service. HWS and its 11 community partners serve more than 3,000 people a month. Boyer continues to stay deeply involved with the organization and will serve as chair of its board next year.

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