The Kansas Department of Commerce provides a variety of workforce development programs.
KANSASWORKS is the state’s public workforce assistance system, and it is designed to:
- Help Kansans searching for job opportunities;
- Help Kansans improve job skills; and
- Help employers attract, recruit, and retain employees.
There are 26 workforce centers located throughout the state and 2 mobile workforce centers. Workforce centers provide services to both job seekers and employers. The centers assist job seekers by helping create resumes and conduct job searches, providing assistance with interviewing and evaluating job offers, and providing workshops to improve job skills.
Services for employers include recruiting, screening and referring applicants, providing a location to host job fairs, and highlighting opportunities available at the employer’s business.
Mobile workforce centers provide services in regions of the state that lack a permanent workforce center or face unusually high demand for workforce center assistance due to mass layoffs, business closures, natural disasters, or demographic shifts. Services offered are similar to those at permanent workforce center locations and feature computer labs and internet access.
The KANSASWORKS On-the-job Training (OJT) program aims to support local businesses that need to train and retrain skilled workers. The OJT program provides a pathway for job seekers to earn wages while learning new job skills and begin new careers. The OJT program also provides employers funds to offset up to 50.0 percent of training costs.
My Reemployment Plan
The Legislature passed Senate Sub. for Sub. for HB 2196 (2021), which implemented the My Reemployment Plan (MRP) program. Claimants who receive three weeks of unemployment payments become part of MRP. These claimants must create or upload their resume and create a job search plan in KANSASWORKS within 14 days of receiving notice of MRP eligibility. Claimants who don’t fulfill the two requirements and who are not exempt from MRP will be denied unemployment benefits until such requirements are completed.
The Office of Registered Apprenticeship (Office) within the Department of Commerce is designed to support apprenticeships across multiple industries that will benefit employers and job seekers by incorporating on-the-job learning, technical instruction, mentorship, and long-term employment opportunities. As of September 1, 2022, Kansas has 212 recognized apprenticeship programs with around 3,500 apprentices.
The 2022 Legislature added $500,000 from the Economic Development Initiatives Fund for the Registered Apprenticeship Program for FY 2023.
Workforce Development and Education
Kansas Promise Scholarship
HB 2064 (2021) established the Kansas Promise Scholarship Act, which provides scholarships for Kansas residents to attend Kansas community colleges and Kansas technical colleges to study:
- Information technology and security;
- Physical and mental health care;
- Early childhood education and development;
- Advanced manufacturing and building trades; or
- Courses designated by the institution as Promise eligible and in the areas of agriculture; food and natural resources; education and training; law, public safety, corrections, and security; or distribution and logistics.
The amount of a student’s scholarship for each semester is the aggregate of the amount of tuition and related fees or costs of the institution minus the aggregate amount of all other aid awarded to the student. The scholarship may be used for up to a total of 68 credit hours or $20,000, whichever occurs first, per student lifetime.
Other Tuition Assistance Programs
State funding is also used for the Accelerating Opportunity: Kansas (AO-K) program and Career and Technical Education (CTE).
The AO-K program delivers career and technical education simultaneously with adult basic skills instruction. Students participating in the AO-K program complete short-term certificate programs aligned with labor market needs, leading to industry-endorsed credentials and job opportunities.
The CTE program pays the tuition of high school students taking approved technical courses offered by Kansas technical and community colleges.
WERX at Wichita State University
Get to WERX is a three-year program at Wichita State University (WSU). Students have the opportunity for full-time, paid employment with the National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) WERX program while completing WSU Tech’s Aviation Maintenance Technology program and earning credits towards a Bachelor of Applied Sciences in Organizational Leadership and Learning at WSU. Students who complete the program and maintain employment with NIAR WERX are eligible for tuition reimbursement. There is an employment commitment of five years.
Workforce Aligned with Industry Demand (AID)
The Kansas Department of Commerce and Kansas Board of Regents developed Workforce AID to address skills gaps currently challenging companies across the state. Through the Workforce AID program, employers are able to define what skills and credentials their employees need to be successful. Then, training providers, like community colleges, create curriculum designed to deliver those necessary skills and credentials.