TCEDA Celebrates Economic Development Week 2024

TCEDA Celebrates Economic Development Week 2024 Main Photo

5 May 2024


Economic Development Week (EDW), May 6 - 10, 2024, is a time to recognize the work that economic development organizations and professionals do in their communities. This acknowledgment has been a globally celebrated event since 2016.

Executive Director Carley Bruning and Community Coordinator Paige Hansen are a powerful team that makes up the Thayer County Economic Development Alliance (TCEDA). Backed by the Board of Directors and supported by energetic interns, TCEDA embodies the philosophy, “We rise together!”

The website states, “TCEDA works to help local businesses grow, create workforce training programs, and invest in the quality of life that makes Thayer County an incredible place to live and raise a family.” But how?

What is Economic Development?

Economic development is a collaborative effort that involves working with businesses, governments, and community stakeholders. The goal is to stabilize and enhance the well-being, wealth, and overall quality of life. At its core, economic development involves a collection of activities to attract, create, and retain jobs to foster a resilient and growing economy.

The role of organizations like TCEDA is to execute these activities. Such activities include:

  • Business Retention & Expansion (BRE) - Creating jobs through infrastructure improvements and resource access, supporting existing businesses to succeed and expand.
  • Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development - Assist entrepreneurs and small businesses with access to capital, space, technical assistance, and hiring resources/practices.
  • Incentives - Help businesses access financial services, incentive programs, and grants for building upgrades, growth, and expansion.
  • Marketing & Attraction - Showcasing community strengths with campaigns to attract businesses and talent.
  • Real Estate Development - A conduit for public sector support to ensure equitable projects like industrial parks, Main Street in rural communities, and housing.
  • Workforce Development - Work with companies to understand current and future talent demands, then collaborate with educational institutions to translate the needs into training programs.

While TCEDA has been active for many decades, Bruning was the sole force for three years until the necessary addition of Hansen. Together, TCEDA continues to shower Thayer County with care and commitment to providing residents and businesses with opportunities and growth.

TCEDA’s Updates

In 2024 alone, TCEDA has been busy, busy, busy. Bruning and Hansen have been burning the midnight oil as wives, mothers, and employees of Thayer County. The top priority missions on TCEDA’s strategic plan are:

  • People attraction
  • Housing
  • Child care

In 2022, TCEDA applied for a Nebraska Affordable Housing Trust Fund grant to build two new single-family dwellings. Upon receiving the grant, TCEDA worked to capture other funding to build two additional houses, replicating the specs of the grant houses. In 2023, TCEDA selected a contractor and moved forward with breaking ground on three of the four house projects. Anticipated completion is set for early summer 2024. Houses are listed and ready for purchase. Interested buyers may review them on the Housing page.

Quality and accessible child care is another tool for the attraction and retention of Thayer County residents and businesses. Over the past two years, TCEDA supported, advocated for, and promoted childcare resources, encouraging more opportunities to organically grow. According to the Communities for Kids (C4K) initiative’s 2022 statistics (minus the many longtime in-home providers nearing retirement), Thayer County had an approximate 145-child care gap and was considered a childcare desert. Through TCEDA’s work, backed by a C4K grant and the local C4K committee, Thayer County will welcome an estimated 120 new childcare spots by the end of 2024. This estimate continues to grow as TCEDA supports more small businesses and in-home providers.

Thrive With Us

Thayer County is full of opportunities and jobs. Thayer County has quality schools, health care, and businesses.TCEDA continues to create choices for current and future residents with its mission to provide choice housing, child care, and quality of life. TCEDA thanks all of Thayer County for continuing to choose this place to live, work, and thrive. Bruning and Hansen personally invite you to join them here in the good life.


TCEDA is a member-driven, nonprofit organization. As stated on the website, “There is no limit to what we can accomplish when we work together!” Your membership will help TCEDA increase its efforts to ensure Thayer County’s stable future for generations. For more information and to apply, review the Membership page

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