GOAL #2 – WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT- Develop long-term programs designed to enhance partnerships between business, education, and training officials and commit Pottawatomie County to the current long-term program to enhance the availability, quality and characteristics of the current and future workforce.
Objective A: Develop creative strategies to prepare young people for the workforce essentials of the 20th century.
• Strategy 1: Reestablish the Business Education Workforce (BEW) Roundtable. The Roundtable should consist of the education and training community, human resource managers (SHRM chapter), and other industrial leaders. Could be done in junction with Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce.
• Strategy 2: Build upon the develop of the consensus developed through the Workforce Development Roundtable to plan workforce direction for the next five to ten years and continue with Workforce Crisis Summits.
• Strategy 3: Continue to work with Highland Community College, Manhattan Area Technical College (MATC) and/or Washburn Tech to develop additional programs for targeted industry, including welding and instrumentation training as well as allied health services.
Objective B: Continue to enhance the employability skills of the emerging, transitional and current workforce through the promotion and the development of the ACT Work Ready System, which offers a common language to identify skills gaps and provide training to improve scores and enhance employability by leveraging the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC), issued by ACT. The certificate is a portable, evidence-based credential that certifies essential skills needed for workplace success.
• Strategy 1: Continue to test all high school juniors on ACT Work Keys through Kansas Department of Education so students can earn the NCRC by taking three Work Keys assessments and, also conduct testing for current and transitional workers when requested.
• Strategy 2: Ensure that all students who earn NCRC are registered with Kansas Works and with ACT.
• Strategy 3: Continue to strive towards enhancing scores of all students with options in the Work Keys Curriculum, which provides a self-paced curriculum to help individuals fill their skills gap.
• Strategy 4: Continue to promote Work Keys and the NCRC so that business and industry know exactly what foundational skills they need for a productive workforce – and to easily communicate their needs and individuals understand what skills are required by employers – and how to prepare themselves for success and that policy makers consistently measure the skills gap in a timely manner at the national, state and local levels.
• Strategy 5: Promote NCRC, Work Ready Communities and Work Keys to industry both inside and outside the county so that they recognize the state of Kansas program through Kansas Works and the local Work Keys initiative of PCEDC and its thrust in maintaining a Certified Work Ready Community.
• Strategy 6: Continue to work with other counties in the state of Kansas in their efforts to become Certified Work Ready and build a significant data base of work ready individuals not only at Kansas Works but also on the ACT Work Ready Communities data base.
Objective C: Continue to develop long-term programs of enhancing youth awareness of careers and world of work.
• Strategy 1: Continue to encourage dual credit as a program for high school students and other programs in career technical education in all schools.
• Strategy 2: Support and assist in the development of internships and youth apprenticeships as well as other initiatives to enhance career viability for client youth.
• Strategy 3: Encourage and develop funding for teacher internships with Wamego industry and other teacher continuing education efforts working closely with the Wamego Chamber and human resource managers.
• Strategy 4: Enhance existing 4th grade Classroom to Careers “Adopt a School Classroom Program” and ensure that every school has exposure and potentially reach out to 8th grades.
• Strategy 5: Continue to support programs such as Senior Interview Day at both Rock Creek and Wamego High Schools as well as Peer Chamber initiatives.
• Strategy 6: Support all job fairs including Manhattan High School effort in concert with Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce.
Objective D: Continue efforts to develop programs and initiatives by working closely with the Human Resource Management Network (HRMN, SHRM affiliate), the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce’s Region Reimagined talent attraction efforts, and Kansas Works.
• Strategy 1: Continue to support human resource managers and their firms across the board in their efforts to recruit and retain workforce.
• Strategy 2: Support and promote diversity and inclusion initiatives with HRMN and Kansas State University to assist in talent recruitment.
• Strategy 3: Use KSU Occupational Practical Training (F1) student visas to bring foreign base students into the workforce for up to two and a half years or more. Emphasize visa extensions in science, technology, engineering, and math careers.
• Strategy 4: Support continual and new creative methods to employ trailing spouses (Dual Career) of Fort Riley, KSU faculty, researchers, and administrators as well as HRMN member companies.
• Strategy 5: Continue to support efforts in mental health training as well as the employment of individuals with disabilities and ex-offenders.
Objective E: Continue the development of new and creative programs to enhance the availability and affordability of day care for children from birth to five years so there is growth in the labor force participation rate by young parents.
• Strategy 1: Continue the Child Care Task Force and its close association with Kansas State University Extension office to assist the childcare community and continue to educate the communities on the importance of childcare.
• Strategy 2: Continue to explore financing methods of enhancing training for childcare workers through potential state and federal funding.
• Strategy 3: Analyze and explore the feasibility of an Early Childhood Learning Center for low to moderate income families without financially impacting existing centers.