Workforce Alliance Receives $9.9 Million Grant for Training in Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Careers
Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas Receives $9.9 Million Grant to Support Education and Skills Training for Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Careers
WICHITA, KS ( January 21, 2021) The U.S. Department of Labor announced that the Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas is one of 19 organizations awarded funding from the $145 million H-1B One Workforce Grant Program, to invest in training the workforce of the future for critical industries such as Information Technology, Advanced Manufacturing, and Transportation.
The Workforce Alliance is receiving $9.9 million to support education and skills training, with the goal of increasing the number of people with the skills needed for successful careers that will help grow the regional economy. The grant is funded by fees from H1-B Visas and the project is designed to educate and train workers to reduce the need to import skilled workers. The project will serve 900 individuals that are under-employed or unemployed, training them to enter middle and high skilled jobs in Information Technology or Advanced Manufacturing sectors. There will also be opportunities for businesses to upskill existing workers to achieve career advancement. Local partners in the grant include FlagshipKansas.Tech, the Greater Wichita Partnership, the Kansas Department of Commerce, Wichita State University, WSU Tech, and a number of area employers.
The Information Technology and Advanced Manufacturing sectors are a significant source of jobs in South Central Kansas and crucial to the state’s economy. The need for skilled workers is critical to the growth of these industries as new technologies are being introduced in all aspects of their operations. An important element of the economic development plan for Kansas — the Framework for Growth, which brings together stakeholders from government, business and communities to develop a comprehensive strategy to accelerate economic growth in Kansas — recognizes the need to upskill works to help expand employment opportunities.
“These funds are headed to the perfect place to maximize workforce development impact for South Central Kansas,” Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland said. “I’m pleased that the Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas is putting this grant funding toward creating more opportunities for Kansans to enter these in-demand fields, while further strengthening vital partnerships with local businesses and industries. This exciting project will be a major asset to the region, and to our state.”
Along with building on economic development strategies, the project accelerates the work at Wichita State University to create applied learning opportunities in partnership with companies seeking to develop technologies like automation, robotics, and artificial intelligence.
“Wichita State is honored to be part of a partnership that will promote workforce and economic development in our region,” said Dr. Rick Muma, interim president of Wichita State. “Our commitment to the prosperity of Kansas is paramount to our university’s mission and vision, and this grant will greatly improve employment opportunities and prospects for many workers and families in our state.”
This grant comes at a time with the local economy is dealing with a large number of lay-offs in the aviation industry and the impacts on employment from COVID-19. The employer partners in this project will help design and deliver education and training opportunities that will directly lead to quality employment.
“These resources will help the Workforce Alliance better serve the large number of workers that need more skills to successfully compete in the labor market. It will also help dozens of employers that require talented employees to grow their business” stated Gabe Schlickau, Chair of the Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas.
The Workforce Alliance will begin to enroll participants in April 2021. Individuals from South Central Kansas who are interested in upskilling or retraining through this grant should inquire with the Workforce Centers of South Central Kansas, by calling 316-771-6800, or schedule an appointment at https://workforce-ks.com/virtual-career-center/career-training/.
About the Workforce Alliance
The Workforce Alliance is the Local Workforce Development Board (WA) and operates employment and training programs through the Workforce Center of South Central Kansas in Butler, Cowley, Harper, Kingman, Sedgwick, and Sumner Counties. For additional information on the Workforce Alliance please visit www.workforce-ks.com.