For better or for worse, if you live in one place for a long period of time you will see some pretty major changes.
This is true for me growing up in a smaller town (Elkhorn) outside of Omaha. During my lifetime, my once little hometown has grown into an Omaha suburb fully connected to Nebraska's largest city.
This is the case in most all of the areas around the city as former farmland is replaced by housing developments, apartments and golf courses. My kids don't really seem terribly impressed when I tell them we used to farm "this farm" or I used to help the neighbors bale hay on "these farms" in different areas of West Omaha/Elkhorn.
They probably just think I'm old.
One interesting development on former farmland on Omaha's outskirts was German farm machinery company CLAAS building a combine manufacturing facility in the early 2000s. The plant, located in suburban Sarpy County, is home to CLASS of America, Inc. headquarters.
The company recently announced it has broken ground for an all new on-site training facility at its headquarters, according to a CLAAS press release.
The new 20,000-square-foot training facility will be called the CLAAS Academy and will be a state-of-art facility that will aid in the training of dealer technicians. In addition, training and certification programs will be held there for the company's product specialists, sales and parts staff.
"CLAAS of America is proud to offer some of the finest training programs when it comes to preparing technicians for resolving customer issues in the field," said Adam Haworth, Director of Services for CLAAS of America. "And because we recognize the importance of continuing this high level of service and support, we realize we must train our dealer technicians in the best way possible."
The company also plans to have outreach programs, such as apprenticeships in the CLAAS Academy, which will cultivate knowledge and engage the local community and technical schools through certification programs. Earlier this year, CLAAS announced a partnership in Nebraska's first German-American Apprenticeship Program.
The new facility is scheduled to open in the fall of 2020, according to the company.
I fully admit I am really not a big fan of seeing any farmland being developed into residential and commercial setting. It completely changes an area as more and more people move in and the once small town feel is forever alternated.
However, CLAAS of America building its headquarters and now CLAAS Academy in suburb Omaha on a former family farm is very fitting.
The company does bring a lot of positives to the Omaha community in the form of jobs and, in this particular case, apprenticeship programs for the region's technical schools. Future generations who live in the region will benefit directly from these programs as a way to receive an education, as well as a possible career.
Yes, the now developed land is no longer growing crops and/or livestock. But at least there is a company there helping farmers to feed an ever-increasing world population.
And this is good news for the Omaha area.
Russ Quinn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow him on Twitter @RussQuinnDTN
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