VIDEO: "Kansas Skills Tour" Launched In Salina
KSAL Staff - Tue 11:11 AM 12/11/2012
Kansas Commerce Secretary Pat George, along with officials from the Department of Labor, the Kansas Board of Regents, and local officials kicked off in Salina a new effort to build a certified, highly qualified workforce for business and industry in the state.
The Kansas Skills Tour, featuring Kansas Commerce Secretary Pat George, Interim Labor Secretary Lana Gordon, Deputy Labor/Commerce Secretary Michael Copeland, and Kansas Board of Regents Vice President of Workforce Development Blake Flanders launched a statewide tour in Salina on Tuesday morning with a media event at the Exide Technologies facility.
The focus is to encourage communities to become "Work Ready" by promoting the use of industry endorsed credentials especially in high demand occupations.
A "Work Ready" community would have a strong presence of potential workers possessing industry endorsed credentials. These can be obtained by taking a standardized test at the local Kansas Works Workforce Center. The credentials rate the workers proficiency in several key areas.
The industry endorsed credentials give both those looking for work, and employers an advantage.
Salina Exide Plant Manager Jim Thomas said the Salina facility is in the process this year of adding over 100 new jobs this year, including about 40 in the past two months. He says that industry endorsed credentials make it much easier to identify qualified applicants.
Interim Labor Secretary Lana Gordon said the labor market in Kansas is slowly improving. Unemployment is at 5.7%, down from 6.7% a year ago. As of October, there were about 43,000 job opening in Kansas. The industries most in need of qualified workers are nursing, truck driving, and computer specialists.