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Mid-America Workforce Summit

Pre-Conference Meetings (as organized by individual committees)

KBOR Technical Education Authority
Kansas Advisory Counsel on Career and Technical Education
Kansas Workforce

Post-Conference Meetings (as organized by individual committees)

KansasWORKS State Board


Workforce Development,

a Look to the Future

(Updated 11/18/2019)
Stay tuned as the agenda is continually updated.

DAY 1 (January 22)

** Speakers/Presentations subject to change**


9:00 Registration Begins
11:00 Exhibits Open
12:00 Opening Plenary Luncheon
Kansas Governor Laura Kelly (Invited) and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue (Invited).
12:45 Break and Exhibit Visitation
1:00 Opportunity Occupations: Driving Outcomes for Workers without a Bachelor’s Degree

Keith Wardrip, Community Development Research Manager, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, will discuss recent research on “opportunity occupations,” or jobs that typically pay a good wage but do not require a bachelor’s degree. He will highlight findings for mid-American regional economies and tease out implications for rural areas. Wardrip will answer questions such as: Which opportunity occupations are most prevalent? Why are they concentrated in some places and scarce in others? What are their future prospects? And how can communities connect prospective workers with these jobs?

Wardrip’s comments will draw heavily from his recent publications, Opportunity Occupations Revisited: Exploring Employment for Sub-Baccalaureate Workers across Metro Areas and Over Time, co-authored with Kyle Fee and Lisa Nelson at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.

2:15 Advisory Committee for Career & Technical Education Business Panel
The panel will discuss how best to provide business and industry a unified voice to advocate and provide recommendations for continuous improvement for CTE in K-12 and Higher Education.
3:15 Break and Exhibit Visitation
3:30 Enrichment Network

The Enrichment Network will present how they work to ensure all Kansas youth have access to safe, affordable, and high-quality out-of-school time learning and how other communities can do the same.

4:15 America’s Job Link Alliance

Joy Bancroft, Customer Relations Manager, and Kyle Batson, Lead UX/UI Designer, of America’s Job Link Alliance – Technical Support will discuss their experiences improving America’s JobLink, the labor exchange and case management system for 10 states. Both Bancroft and Batson are traveling to all AJLA states to visit with job seekers, employers, and American Job Center staff to understand how users are experiencing the system.

The panel will also touch on what it means to design a state web-based application based on its user’s needs, rather than strictly on business requirements.

5:00 Break and Exhibit Visitation
5:15 Improving Disability Employment

Steve Gieber, Executive Director, Council on Developmental Disabilities, will interview a panel of individuals who have overcome obstacles to employment by using some of the Kansas employment systems to help them develop career paths. Brought to Kansas in 2012 by the Kansas Council, Project Search is one of the tools that has helped our youth successfully transition from high school to employment. Other panelists featured have received assistance from other parts of the Kansas employment system.

6:00 Reception, Cash Bar and Exhibit Visitation
6:30 Celebration Banquet sponsored by the Kansas Department of Commerce
Midwestern Higher Education Compact Presentation
Susan Heegaard, President, Midwestern Higher Education Compact
SDA Performance Awards
Kansas Department of Commerce
KACCTE Award of Merit Presentation
Kansas Department of Education


DAY 2 (January 23)

** Speakers/Presentations subject to change**

7:15 Continental Breakfast and Exhibit Visitation
8:00 The 2020 Legislative Update
Pat Roberts, U.S. Senate (Invited); Julia Lynn, Kansas Senate; Bud Estes, Kansas Senate; Ed Berger, Kansas Senate; Barbara Ballard, Kansas House of Representatives; Ken Rahjes, Kansas House of Representatives; and Brad Ralph, Kansas House of Representatives.
8:45 Flint Hills Job Corps Center Presentation

Johnny Taylor, Center Director, Flint Hills Job Corps Center; Aaron Estabrook, Business and Community Liaison, Flint Hill Job Corps; and Justin Looson, Owner, White Line CDL Training, will participate in a discussion to discuss how the Flint Hills job Corps uses their tuition-free training and education program to connect eligible young men and women with the skills and educational opportunities they need to establish real careers and end generational poverty. The panel will also highlight how business and industry driven partnerships are used to improve workforce development and inform the educational culture in developing curriculum for “power skills.”

Finally, Looson will discuss the successful public-private partnership between White Line CDL and Flint Hills Job Corps. White Line CDL is headquartered in Topeka with a location in Manhattan that partners with the Flint Hills Job Corps and another stand-alone site in Wichita.

9:30 Break & Exhibit Visitation
9:45 Regional Labor Market Update

Tyler Tenbrink, Labor Economist, Department of Labor, will present the latest statistics measuring the health of the regional labor market, including job growth and industry performance.

10:30 Rural Workforce Development

Panel conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture.

More information coming soon!

11:55 Key Strategies and Commitment – Eddie Estes
12:00 Hit the Hill for Workforce Development