Kansas Must Invest In and Train Young Workers: Report

In early 2020, the Kansas State Chamber of Commerce commissioned a report through Economic Leadership on the Kansas’ workforce. The report compiled research, reviews of best practices and lessons learned from states around the country. In addition, interviews were conducted with local businesses, educational institutions and workforce development leaders. The goal of the report is to find out how education and workforce development can better partner in the staffing needs of the state’s employers. 

Five major recommendations were elevated through this report:

  • Work-Based Learning for students: The report recommended the state focus on setting a statewide goal for learners gaining work-based learning and collect the data to ensure the goal is being met. 
  • Talent Retention and Attraction: Some of the activities within this recommendation include funding the initiative through appropriate or fundraising as well as scholarship opportunities that tie staying in the state after graduation to the scholarship. 
  • Registered Apprenticeships: The state needs to focus on building capacity for registered apprenticeships, specifically the recommendation focused on doubling the number of apprenticeships currently occurring within the state of Kansas.
  • Adult Education and Skills training: Multiple ideas were presented in this category like increasing the amount of short term training offerings at technical colleges, building stronger partnerships between the Department of Corrections and technical programs and promotion of the ACT Work Ready communities. 
  • KansasWorks Statewide Job System: In order to truly build a stronger workforce system there has to be a tie back to data. The recommendation for this specific data system was to be responsive to the needs of businesses and continue to expand the state longitudinal data system. 

From this report state leaders can learn from the recommendations and implement similar state strategies to increase the workforce participation in their home states. 

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August 2021