The Kansas Department of Commerce and the Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR) have awarded $117,100 in grant funding to nine community and technical colleges to provide job training for 100 individuals to eventually take positions in needed health care professions. The program, called Kansas Health Professional Opportunity Project (KHPOP) will help address the labor shortage in these occupations while providing career pathways for candidates that traditionally face obstacles in finding well-paying jobs. KHPOP will enable participants to become self-sufficient and decrease the number of individuals receiving public assistance.
The Commerce Department provided $108,800 of the funding and KBOR’s Adult Education federal funding contributed the rest. The money was awarded to the state last September through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This is a five-year program, funded at $15 million that eventually will train and place 500 people per year. Targeted populations include Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients, youth aging out of foster care, recently separated or disabled veterans, high school dropouts pursuing GED completion and low-income individuals at or below 200 percent of poverty level.
“The Kansas Health Professional Opportunity Project really helps the state in two areas,” said Commerce Secretary Pat George. “First, it gives individuals access to training that lays the groundwork for a career, not just a job. Secondly, the program trains workers in needed areas in health care, which in turn helps grow the Kansas economy.”
In addition, KHPOP leverages partner resources to provide employment opportunities in well-paying health care positions. The Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, Local Workforce Investment Boards, the KANSASWORKS State Board and Registered Apprenticeship, as well as health care associations, private employers and representatives from education and training and other state agencies contribute to the KHPOP mission.
“We are pleased to offer this program in partnership with the Kansas Department of Commerce,” said Andy Tompkins, President and CEO of the Kansas Board of Regents. “Helping individuals attain the skills and education necessary for a successful career in a growing and high-demand field, like health care, is vital to improving the lives of the individuals in the program, the health of the patients they will care for, and the health of the Kansas economy.”
KHPOP features several innovative elements, including career coaches, incentives for GED completion, financial assistance for employers, high-definition video conferencing, Work Opportunity Tax Credit and Federal Bonding.
Schools participating in KHPOP with grant funding awarded:
Butler Community College and Adult Education Program ($12,000)
Salina Area Technical College and Salina Adult Education Center ($12,773)
Garden City Community College and Adult Learning Center ($12,000)
Fort Scott Community College and Paola Adult Education Center ($13,750)
Neosho County Community College and Southeast Kansas Adult Education Consortium ($12,000)
Cloud County Community College and Adult Education Program ($12,000)
Johnson County Community College and Adult Education Program ($18,560)
Flint Hills Technical College and Adult Education Program ($12,000)
Kansas City Kansas Community College and Adult Education Program ($12,000)