Nebraska is the heartland of the nation, not just in a geographical sense, but in terms of demonstrating heart attitudes of friendliness, kindness, and care for others. What’s more, Nebraska technology is at the heart of many products that touch our lives each day–MRI and medical equipment, industrial manufacturing equipment, automotive and aerospace components and much more.

This emphasis on a growing technology sector is one of the reasons the state has earned the nickname Silicon Prairie.

To those on the coasts, Nebraska–and all the midwest–is flyover country. But let’s zoom in and see what’s really taking place in this region.

Established centers of technology

For years, high tech has been associated with Silicon Valley and before that, Boston’s Route 128 was known as America’s Technology Highway. Both areas have large populations and high concentrations of the ingredients that lead to innovation–dynamic universities, brilliant students, and corporations with money to invest in research.

Fast forward to today. While both coasts still offer outstanding opportunities to work with high-powered individuals and bright minds on advanced projects–these advantages come at a cost. The work atmosphere is extremely competitive, the cost of living is high, and commute times in both regions rank among the longest in the nation.

What matters to workers in the technology sector

Perspectives on work have been changing in recent years, and increasingly, work-life balance is getting more attention. The Randstad Workmonitor 2023 reports that 93.7% of survey respondents indicated that work-life balance is important, and “a majority said they wouldn’t accept a role if it negatively affected their work-life balance.”

Nebraska tech centers shine in offering opportunities to work with top minds on advanced research and high technology projects combined with a lifestyle that is more affordable, sustainable, and more in balance. Long commutes, extreme competition, and high-stress no longer need to be synonymous with working in high tech.

High-tech in Nebraska pre-dates the Silicon Prairie moniker

Long before the term Silicon Prairie was coined, Aurora, Nebraska was home to high technology custom circuit board manufacturing. In the 1970s, after a career with IBM and other technology companies, Cliff Williams returned to his hometown to establish International Sensor System, Inc. (ISSI), today known as Aurora Boardworks. Williams knew about the advantages of locating a high-technology company here:

Dedicated, hardworking people

Nebraskans have a reputation for being hardworking, dedicated, and friendly. Gary Bales, President and CEO of Aurora Boardworks, adds that the workforce is resourceful, determined, and committed to doing the job at hand and doing it well. The same resilience and ingenuity that characterized early Great Plains settlers is alive and well in Nebraska today, and that includes the team at Aurora Boardworks.

“People seem to take care of each other here,” says Patrick Wall, Quality Assurance Manager at Aurora Boardworks “We wave at you even if we don’t know you.” This strong sense of community is a factor that contributes to a healthy work-life balance.

Central physical location

Nebraska’s location pretty much right smack in the middle of the United States is a great benefit. Without extreme differences in time zones, communications are easier to manage with both coasts. Transportation and shipping are more convenient as well.

Communities in Nebraska offer cutting-edge resources in education and technology yet are less crowded than the tech regions on either coast, making competition less intense and commute times shorter. Based in a smaller community, Aurora Boardworks views their smaller company size as an advantage, allowing the team to react faster to customer needs and requests with a higher level of personal attention.

Potential for innovation and advancement

While the largest industrial sectors in Nebraska are Corn, Wheat & Soybean Wholesaling and Meat, Beef & Poultry Processing, followed by Health & Medical Insurance, that doesn’t tell the whole story. Strong universities and a dynamic business climate in Nebraska are highly supportive of technology growth across an unlimited range of industries that can be served.

Nebraska is changing the paradigm. Outstanding opportunities in tech are no longer only found on the coasts, but also here in the heart of the midwest. Opportunities are abundant in a place where the atmosphere is friendly and the commute is easy, a place that offers a great quality of life and a common culture of dedication and perseverance.

Aurora Boardworks is uncomplicating the custom circuit board assembly that’s at the heart of a vast range of electronic products. With diligence and creativity, as well as the wisdom and experience accumulated through fifty years in business, the company is driving technological innovation for their customers. In the heart of America, Nebraska’s Silicon Prairie is a destination where high tech opportunities are unlimited.