Mid-America Workforce Summit

Pre-Conference Meetings (as organized by individual committees)

KBOR Technical Education Authority
Kansas Advisory Committee 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 1/13/2020)
Stay tuned as the agenda is continually updated.

DAY 1 (January 22)

** Speakers/Presentations subject to change**


9:00Registration Begins
11:00Exhibits Open
12:00Opening Plenary Luncheon
Kansas Lt. Governor Lynn Rogers and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue (Invited).
12:45Break and Exhibit Visitation
1:00Opportunity 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.

2:15Advisory Committee for Career & Technical Education: Work Based Learning Panel

Alex Delaney, Council for Information and Technology Pathways, along with Kim Konecny, Manager of Talent Acqusition, and Silas Dulan, Director of Diversity and Inclusion, of Evergy will participate in this panel that focuses on how best to provide business and industry a unified voice to advocate and provide recommendations for continuous improvement for career and technical education in K-12 and Higher Education. Delaney will discuss the explorer phase of early Work Based Learning that establishes the foundational skills needed across many career fields. The research presented will show that generalists often find their path late, and they juggle many interests rather than focusing on one.

Konecny and Dulan will focus on the company’s insight by discussing the involvement with high school student career exploration and internship offering across the different levels of the company structure.

3:15Break and Exhibit Visitation
3:30Enrichment Network

EPIC (Education, Practice, and Immersion for Credit), is an expanded learning opportunity for students designed to build workforce skills, promote innovative thinking, and increase community engagement. Participants build essential skills for college and career readiness through classroom and virtual lessons in addition to hands-on learning and experiences with area businesses and trades groups.

This panel will discuss the successful partnerships that have developed between the Boys & Girls Club of Hutchinson and local Hutchinson businesses as they have grown the EPIC program in their community. The goal of this panel discussion is to share promising practices and practical strategies for innovative workforce development partnerships. 

4:15America’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.

5:00Break and Exhibit Visitation
5:15Improving 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.
6:00Reception, Cash Bar and Exhibit Visitation
6:30Celebration Banquet
Midwestern Higher Education Compact Presentation
Susan Heegaard, President, Midwestern Higher Education Compact
KACCTE Award of Merit Presentation
Kansas Department of Education


DAY 2 (January 23)

** Speakers/Presentations subject to change**

7:15Continental Breakfast and Exhibit Visitation
8:00The 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.
8:45Flint Hills Job Corps Center Presentation

Johnny Taylor, Center Director, Flint Hills Job Corps Center; Aaron Estabrook, Business and Community Liaison, Flint Hill Job Corps Center; and Justin Losson, 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, Losson will discuss the successful public-private partnership between White Line CDL and Flint Hills Job Corps Center. 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.

9:30Break & Exhibit Visitation
9:45Regional 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.
10:30Rural Workforce Development
Presented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Labor
Jacki Ponti-Lazaruk, Chief Innovation Officer, USDA Rural Development, will facilitate as the panel works to address rural workforce development issues. Panelists include Lynne Hinrichsen, Kansas State Director, USDA Rural Development; David Schemm, Kansas State Executive Director, Kansas State Farm Service Agency; Lee Price, Arkansas/Texas State Director, U.S. Department of Labor; Michelle Bish, Executive Director, Northeast Workforce Development Board; and Deb Scheibler, Executive Director, Kansas WorkforceONE.
11:55Key Strategies and Commitment – Eddie Estes
12:00Hit the Hill for Workforce Development