Effort Underway to Retain Kansas Talent, Fill Critical Industry Jobs
Written by Emily Younger
A relatively new effort to attract and retain Kansas talent while filling high-wage, high-demand and critical-need occupations is proving to not only be successful but life-changing.
“It was the best thing that could have happened to me,” said JoJuan Gibson.
“It has allowed me to focus entirely on school without any hindrance at all,” said Collin Countryman.
Gibson, 43, and Countryman, 20, are recent Butler Community College (Butler) graduates and recipients of the Kansas Promise Scholarship, a scholarship created by the Kansas Legislature in 2021 to assist students attending Kansas community colleges and technical colleges who are enrolled in specific high-priority industry programs such as:
- Information technology and security
- Mental and physical healthcare
- Advanced manufacturing and building trades
- Early childhood education and development, OR
- One additional field of study in one of these areas: agriculture, food and natural resources, education and training, law, public safety, corrections, and security or distribution of logistics.
Gibson, a father of three and a former car salesman, received his associate degree in construction technology in May 2023.
He decided to go back to school at the age of 41 after he was laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Kansas Promise Scholarship was advertised. I thought, ‘I can do that,’” the California native explained. “Thanks to the scholarship I didn’t have to worry about money during school. I could concentrate on my courses and family.”