The Workforce Development unit focuses efforts and resources to prepare workers for careers in Kansas’ highest-priority fields, such as health care, advanced manufacturing/aviation, energy, and health sciences. Education and training in these critical industries will help ensure a strong Kansas economy long into the future. Successful workforce development programs improve our learners’ employability and earnings potential and continued profitability for employers. The Workforce Development unit:

  • serves as the link between higher education and the workforce and economic needs vital to local communities and the state;
  • fosters economic development in the state by providing leadership in defining and advocating statewide economic development initiatives;
  • partners with the Kansas Department of Commerce and Kansas Department of Labor to develop an integrated education and workforce training system that unifies efforts, produces highly skilled workers, and leverages resources to aligned priority needs and maximize benefits;
  • supports college partners as they provide high-quality, cost effective, short-term, career-relevant training solutions, as well as academic programs and certifications aligned with the needs of today's employers.


Agency leadership at the Kansas Department of Commerce (Commerce) and the Kansas Board of Regents (the Board) recognize the link between economic development and workforce development. Both the Kansas Framework for Growth and Building a Future documents describe the critical importance of this relationship.

Commerce holds a seat on the Technical Education Authority and the Board holds a seat on the state Workforce Board. The two agencies work on various initiatives together such as:

Workforce AID
Industry demand for skilled workers in Kansas is significant, and the skills gap faced by many Kansas employers requires new, creative solutions to overcome the challenges and create a pipeline of qualified employees. In partnership with the Kansas Board of Regents, the Kansas Department of Commerce developed Workforce Aligned with Industry Demand (AID) to address the skills gap currently challenging companies across the state. Visit for more information.

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act
Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) is administered by the Kansas Department of Commerce and provides funding for four separate programs: Adult Programs, Dislocated Worker Program, Youth Program, and Wagner-Peyser Labor Exchange. WIOA requires State Workforce Agencies to partner with other State Agencies )which administer Vocational Rehabilitation and Adult Education) in the collaborative strategic four-year plan, approved by the state Workforce Board, describing how WIOA will be implemented in the state.

Notice of Amendments to WIOA Combined State Plan for Kansas (pdf)

Jobs for Innovative Industry Skills Training
Passed by the legislature in 2015, H. Sub for S.B. 112, Section 142(e), Jobs and Innovative Industry Skills Training (JIIST) provides funds for the two-year sector colleges as a cost reimbursement grant through a competitive process. The purpose of JIIST is to 1) provide innovative programs with private companies in Kansas needing specific skills; and 2) provide for other industry training needs that cannot be addressed with current funding streams. Strategic industries include rural development and agriculture, energy and natural resources, manufacturing (aerospace and general professional), scientific and technical services, and biosciences. The target for these funds is high growth, high wage, and higher skilled occupations with higher than average job vacancy or projected growth rates.

Kansas Micro-Internships
Kansas Micro-Internships are short-term, paid, professional assignments in sales, marketing, finance, human resources, technology, and many other areas. These projects can be completed remotely year-round and typically range from 5 to 40 hours of work. The projects are usually due within a month after kick-off and are preceded by the intern completing the Agile Work Profiler developed by the DeBruce Foundation. Through this program, Kansas-based companies and nonprofit organizations that select a student who is currently enrolled in a Kansas public two-year college or four-year university is eligible to receive a 50% matching micro-grant up to $250 per project (for a maximum of two projects).

These Micro-Internship projects serve as a bridge to future employment opportunities and help organizations find their next great hire. For more information or to register for the program, visit