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Kansas to Develop Strategy to Expand Apprenticeships for Youths


By Kansas Commerce


TOPEKA, Kan. – Governor Laura Kelly announced yesterday (on July 31) that Kansas has been selected to participate in the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) Policy Academy to Advance Youth Apprenticeship. Through the Policy Academy, Kansas will develop a strategy to expand apprenticeship opportunities to youth ages 16 and older to help them build the skills needed for the modern workforce.

“My administration has focused on apprenticeships as a way to build the Kansas workforce in a way that is both pro-business and pro-worker,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “Now, we are furthering our efforts by developing a plan to ensure more of our high school students graduate with the skills they need to get good-paying jobs that don’t require a four-year degree.”

With Kansas’ unemployment rate at 2.8% and a surge in economic development activity that continues creating new jobs, the state is pursuing multiple avenues to build up the pipeline of prospective workers. Apprenticeship is one proven method of developing home-grown talent.

“Expanding the apprenticeship pipeline to include younger Kansans is a logical next step to support our historic growth,” Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “The Kansas Office of Registered Apprenticeship is developing top-tier talent that makes it easier for businesses to invest in our rural communities.”

Youth apprenticeship is defined as a structured, work-based learning program that supports high-quality outcomes for young people and employers include:

  • Paid, on-the-job learning under the supervision of skilled employee mentors
  • Related classroom-based instruction
  • Ongoing assessment against established skills and competency standards
  • Industry-recognized credentialing and postsecondary credits

“With more than 160,000 high school students across the state, Kansas youth apprenticeship has significant potential,” said Shonda Anderson, Director of Apprenticeship and Internship for the Kansas Office of Registered Apprenticeship. “The Policy Academy will support Governor Kelly’s focus on improving employment opportunities for young adults, especially in rural parts of the state.”

The Policy Academy to Advance Youth Apprenticeship officially kicks off in Washington, D.C., in August when teams from six states convene for a day of learning and action-planning with state peers, federal leaders, and national subject matter experts.

“From my perspective, this collaboration between unions, industries and educators across multiple sectors to engage young people in Registered Apprenticeship opportunities is exciting,” John Nave, Executive Vice-President of Kansas AFL-CIO, said. “I believe this strengthens the economic prosperity in Kansas now and for generations to come.”

The Kansas team includes officials from the Governor’s Office, Kansas Office of Apprenticeship, Kansas Apprenticeship Council, Kansas Department of Education, Wichita Plumbers and Pipefitters Union, IBEW 304, Kansas AFL-CIO and other stakeholders representing education and industry. To see a list of members of the Kansas Youth Apprenticeship Collaborative, or to find out more about Youth Apprenticeship in Kansas, click here.