Together, Project 17 with the help of the region’s citizens can provide job skills training to better match employees to the jobs available in the region. With the highest unemployment rate in the state, this is vital to the future of the local economy. In the Project 17 region alone, there are hundreds of jobs available but employers are unable to fill positions with qualified employees. Many job applicants lack soft skills, have a history which makes them difficult to employ, or are hindered by persistent generational poverty which limits their options for where to work.
Breaking this cycle by building opportunities for educated individuals from the region will be a key to the region’s success. The vision is to create higher paying jobs so professionals can learn, grow and live a high quality life in Southeast Kansas.
With community-wide effort, there will be a lower unemployment rate in the region. When jobs are filled with employees who are qualified and ready to work, increased efficiency will lead to growth for businesses in the region. More people in the region working and holding good jobs will lead to a better quality of life for everyone in the community.
Creating a More Qualified Workforce
Soft Skills Improvement
Soft skills are one of the core issues of the high unemployment rate for this region. Soft skills are workforce readiness skills such as communication, attitude, teamwork, networking, problem solving, critical thinking and professionalism. Due to a lack of individuals with quality soft skills, employers have a difficult time filling job vacancies. It can also be a challenge for those seeking work to secure a job without past professional experience. We have prepared a soft skills inventory for the region, and many resources are available.
Labor Force Analysis
Partnering with the Kansas Department of Labor, Project 17 has collaborated with the Docking Institute at Fort Hays State University to execute a labor force analysis across the region, which includes a survey of over 2,000 people about their work readiness, skills, job qualifications and prior work experience. Labor Shed Skill Shed