River City Six – Lex Ann Roach

Meet Lex Ann Roach, the reemployment services regional manager at the Omaha area Nebraska Department of Labor (dol.nebraska.gov) location, serving Douglas, Washington, and Sarpy counties.

Tell us a little about your business.

Nebraska Department of Labor (NDOL) reemployment services offers a full range of programs and resources to 1) help employers find the talent they are looking for; 2) help job seekers connect with their next opportunity; and 3) partner with community agencies as part of a wrap-around community approach to self-sufficiency. I oversee a workforce team including business services experts who help employers develop recruiting and upskilling plans. The reemployment team, by working with both job seekers and employers, can assist in the invaluable step of connecting the right people to the right jobs. Job seekers are assisted with pre-employment services such skills assessment and resume preparation. Businesses are supported to get the most out the state job board, NEworks.nebraska.gov, and to navigate the many programs designed to encourage workforce growth. In addition, we also provide added services for those that served in our military and eligible spouses.

How did you get started in the business?

I am an example of the benefits of using reemployment services. I had the good fortune of connecting with the Omaha reemployment team as a job seeker while experiencing a career transition. I’m not just a cheerleader for reemployment services, I’m a result.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally?

Nebraskans are hard workers and experiencing the pandemic-related unemployment crisis was heart-wrenching. I cannot tell you how many individuals told me that they had never, in their life, not been able to go to work. In response, I had the incredible experience of watching the Omaha reemployment team step-up, going above and beyond every day.

What has been your most important achievement professionally?

As the pandemic began to impact our state, there was a decision to continue to allow public access to NDOL field offices. While addressing staff concerns and various unforeseen roadblocks, I am proud to say the reemployment team remained available to our community without fail.

Tell us a little about your family.

I am lucky, and so grateful, that my husband Russ has always supported and encouraged me in all my career choices. We both made abrupt changes four years ago when we decided to relocate from Grand Island to Omaha to be closer to kids and grandkids.

What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life?

I had considered earning a master’s degree as soon as I graduated with my bachelor’s, but it wasn’t until 2009, during the Great Recession, that I determined: If not now, when? As a result, I downplayed my work (and income) to have more time to devote to graduate school. It was a great decision and, after earning my master’s in the art of management, I earned my first experience in agency leadership.

What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know?

I grew up in the Nebraska Sandhills and come from a long line of ranchers. It was never my path; however, as a kid I, too, took part in moving cows, brandings, and putting up hay.

Who inspires you?

My parents and grandparents always put their work first—ranchers are like that. No matter the conditions or challenges, I know that they faced something just as overwhelming and take pride in relying on that foundation.

If our readers would like to contact you, how should they do so?

(402) 934-2392; lexann.roach@nebraska.gov; dol.nebraska.gov.