YCDC’s Emily Perry Graduates from the Policy Leadership Academy, Bringing New Insights and Strategies to York County

YCDC’s Emily Perry Graduates from the Policy Leadership Academy, Bringing New Insights and Strategies to York County Main Photo

11 Apr 2023


Emily Perry, Development Coordinator for York County Development Corporation, has recently graduated from the Policy Leadership Academy put on by First Five Nebraska. The academy brings together leaders from throughout Nebraska to learn about, and advocate for, the early childhood infrastructure that is necessary to support Nebraskan families and move the economy forward.

“The Policy Leadership Academy is the state’s premier, non-partisan leadership development program focused on empowering citizen-advocates to contribute information and insight so the policymaking process at all levels of government will benefit young children and create social, educational and economic opportunity for all Nebraskans.” As a participant, Perry learned how to analyze York County’s early childhood infrastructure and determine how it applies to our community holistically. She also gained an ‘insider’ understanding of how policies are made and had opportunities to advocate for our community with the legislature. As a graduate, she is prepared to identify and mobilize community resources to strengthen childcare offerings in York County - something residents and businesses have been advocating for. “Emily is an asset to YCDC and York County. As a graduate of the Policy Leadership Academy she is preparing to tackle our childcare shortages head-on, while creating plans that will ensure a strong and diverse network of childcare providers in the future,” said Lisa Hurley, Executive Director of YCDC.

We sat down with Emily to discuss the program and what’s next.

What was the motivation for you to participate in a program focused on childcare?

“York County has a large childcare gap of 316 kids. This means that there are a lot of children in the area that are either getting inadequate care or no care at all. After seeing this, paired with my own experiences as a mother, I knew that I had to do something. PLA made it so that I was able to take my knowledge and platform from the YCDC to the policy making level and really advocate for impacted families.”

How will your knowledge of childcare policy be used to benefit York County?

“I am able to bring back solutions through knowledge, relationships, and resources that might not have been made available or known in the past. I was also able to make an action plan for how to move forward, which sets steps for goals and accomplishments I wish to achieve within the county.”

What's next? Do you have any plans to implement what you learned?

Absolutely. The plan was always to learn what I can from the academy, gain experience advocating at the policy and legislative level, and use that knowledge to bring about tangible change in York County. At a high level, here is what I put together for the next year:

  • Identify Key Allies
  • Meet with Stakeholders
  • Identify roles for each group in place:
  • York Childcare Steering Committee (Business Community)
  • York County Childcare Alliance (Childcare Providers)
  • Introduce roles to each group and educate them on current legislation.
  • Assign Action Items
  • Boots to Ground – determine how to best go forward

How can people help to improve the childcare infrastructure in York County?

There are two committees that are actively working on childcare, York Childcare Steering Committee for the business community and York County Childcare Alliance for childcare providers. I encourage people to join YCDC and one of these committees. 

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