TOPEKA – Today, Governor Laura Kelly signed Executive Order 21-08 to establish the Advantage Kansas Coordinating Council (AKCC) to improve Kansas’s workforce. Comprised of education and business leaders across the state, the AKCC will align education with state agencies and business needs to develop, retain, and attract talented Kansans into the workforce.

“As we recover from the pandemic, we must rebuild a stronger, healthier workforce that can meet the demands of our growing economy,” said Governor Laura Kelly. “The Advantage Kansas Coordinating Council will empower education and industry leaders to collaborate on long-term solutions, develop the most skilled workforce in the Midwestern region, and recruit new businesses to our state.”

“A well-trained workforce that meets the current and future needs of the state’s many industries is one of the top challenges the Kansas business community faces,” Alan Cobb, President and CEO of the Kansas Chamber said. “Creating “Advantage Kansas” is a significant step forward to addressing these hiring needs, but perhaps more importantly, this effort will provide more economic and professional opportunities for Kansas students graduating from Kansas high-schools, community colleges, technical colleges, four-year institutions or anyone attaining professional certifications. This public-private partnership will be key in ensuring our state’s education system is in sync with the future growth of our state’s economy, the workforce needs of employers, and our collective desire to keep Kansas students in Kansas.”

As outlined in E.O. #21.08, the AKCC will consist of members from the Governor’s office, State Board of Education, Kansas Department of Education, Kansas Board of Regents, Kansas Chamber, and others to create synergy between education, economic systems, and the Framework for Growth.

“This collaboration is strategically aimed at ensuring our state is future-focused, and future-ready,” Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland said. “Through efforts to align our workforce development efforts more closely with industry demand—and also our ability to support entrepreneurs and build a strong ecosystem for innovative companies to succeed in our state—we can make sure the future is built right here in Kansas.”

Goals outlined for the AKCC include:

  • Preparing workers for high-wage, high-demand, high skilled, critical need occupations;
  • Expanding public-private partnerships and strategies focused on access and equity to dual and concurrent enrollment;
  • Expanding industry driven youth and registered apprenticeship opportunities;
  • Conducting a comprehensive assessment of, and recommend targeted improvements in, the use of state and federal resources tied to workforce development, education, and training.

To read E.O. #21.08, click here.

To view a one-pager about the Advantage Kansas E.O., click here.

Find photos of the signing ceremony available below for media use: