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Kansas workers are a driving factor in the expansion of our state’s economy. With outstanding schools and good partnerships between industry and education, Kansas businesses have access to a workforce that is prepared to meet the needs of companies in a highly competitive global economy. Though much of the state’s population is concentrated in metropolitan areas, firms locating in any region of the state will find a motivated and skilled workforce ready to put its talent to work.

Unlike most states, Kansas combines economic development and workforce services in its Department of Commerce.  This combination creates a seamless experience for employers as they seek assistance in addressing their employment needs.  It also helps to assure that workforce services programs are employer demand-driven and focused on providing the skilled workforce sought by Kansas employers.

Commerce’s Workforce Services Division programs of special note to employers include:

    • is a website for both jobseekers and employers.  Companies can list their job vacancies on this site at no cost and can also search resumes posted by jobseekers. 
    • By taking the KanVet pledgeKANSASWORKS staff will work with companies to link qualified veterans to job openings.
    • Recruitment and screening assistance is available at no cost through KANSASWORKS Workforce Centers across the state.  A list of these locations can be found at
    • The Kansas WORKReady! Certificate is awarded to job seekers taking the ACT WORK Keys tests (reading for information, applied mathematics, locating information).  Many Kansas employers utilize this tool as a key measure of work readiness and prefer candidates scoring at specific levels of performance.  A map reflecting the number of KansasWORKReady! Certificates attained by level in each county can be found at
    • Workforce Aligned with Industry Demand (Workforce AID) is a partnership between Commerce and the Board of Regents implementing pilot projects to align workforce training and education with industry opportunities and demand, linking education to a job.
    • The Governor’s Career Technical Education Initiative through the Kansas Board of Regents is a highly unique program focused on developing the pipeline of future employees in Kansas.  This program allows Kansas high school juniors and seniors to take technical education courses through a community or technical college and have the tuition paid for by the state. 
    • The Engineering Skills OJT Grant can provide up to $25,000 in on-the-job training assistance to employers hiring recent college graduates or laid-off engineers.


Kansas is a right-to-work state guaranteed by a 1958 constitutional amendment. Of the 24 states that prohibit compulsory union membership, 14 are enacted by state statute rather than as amendments to their state constitutions and are vulnerable to change by state legislatures. Kansas’ right-to-work status can only be changed by a vote of the people. 

Union Membership.png

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics,
Union Affiliation of Employed Wage and Salary Workers by State

Right to Work Map


The state’s education system is a powerful factor contributing to the success of Kansas businesses.  Kansas has a long history of investing in the education of our youth to provide a quality workforce for the jobs created by firms choosing to do business in this state.  Both the public high school graduation rate and the percentage of the population with a bachelor’s degree are above the national average.  In certain areas of the state we are well-above the national average, such as in Johnson County, Kansas (Kansas City metropolitan area), where over 50% of the adults, 25 and older, have a college degree.  The progressive business climate, coupled with a top-notch educational system, has resulted in an adept, well-skilled workforce.  

 Characteristics of 2011-2012 High School Graduates
 Graduate Type
   All Male Female
4 - Year College or University 14,435 6,530 7,905
2 - Year College 9,452 4,589 4,863
Other Type College/Other Postsecondary 1,713 977 736
Employment 2,750 1,735 1,015
Unemployment 64 37 27
Parenting 114 4 110
Military Service
975 795 180
All Other Graduates/Status Unknown 3,493 1,810 1,683
Receiving Special Education Transition Services 306 184 122
Total Graduates 33,302 16,661 16,641
Source: Kansas State Department of Education

Education Comparisons Including State and Local Spending
 State Percent of Adults Age 25 years and over with High School Diploma or Higher Education, 2013 (National Ranking)
Percent of Adults Age 25 years and over with Bachelor's Degree or Higher Education, 2013 (National Ranking)
State and Local Education Spending as a Percent of General Spending, FY2012 (National Ranking)
 Kansas  90.1 16 31.1 17 32.7 15
 California 81.7 51 31.0 18 27.7 43
 New York 85.6 38 34.1 10 27.2 45
 Illinois 87.8 31 32.1 14 31.7 20
 Missouri 88.7 27 27.9 33 30.9 26
 Oklahoma 86.7 34 23.8 43 32.2 19
 U.S. Average 86.6   29.6   30.3  
 Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2013: 2012 State & Local Government Finances; (accessed July 21, 2015.)

In addition, Kansas has 26 technical and community colleges and seven universities throughout the state to provide a well-trained workforce to Kansas companies.

Our state ranks 15th overall for business competitiveness based on ten key economic factors, including workforce, education and transportation. In addition, through our workforce development initiatives, companies are receiving more value than ever from our workforce training and performance support. Companies new to Kansas, or Kansas businesses needing to expand or restructure, may qualify for assistance under one of our workforce training programs. Our Workforce Services Division is customizing a growing reservoir of business-relevant training expertise within educational institutions tailored to help your company find the skilled labor you need to achieve results. Please see the Training and Workforce Services section for more information on these programs.

Kansas Employment by Sector
(Thousands of Jobs)
2014 2013 2012 Percent of Change
2012 - 2014
Total Nonfarm 1,392.6 1,372.2 1,356.4 2.7%
Mining and Logging 10.5 10.5 10.0 5.0%
Construction 59.9 56.8 55.0 8.9%
Manufacturing 162.2 160.7 160.5 1.1%
    Durable Goods 97.6 98.1 98.5 0.9%
    Non-Durable Goods 63.8 62.6 63.0 1.3%
Wholesale Trade 61.5 59.9 58.8 4.6%
Retail Trade 145.8 144.1 142.8 2.1%
Transportation and Utilities 56.4 55.8 55.7 1.3%
Information 27.9 27.6 27.7 0.7%
Finance and Insurance 65.3 64.2 61.9 5.5%
Real Estate and Rental Leasing 14.5 19.9 13.8 5.1%
 Professional, Scientific and Technical Services 67.4 65.9 62.5 7.8%
 Management of Companies and Enterprises 18.5 17.7 16.2 14.2%
 Administrative and Support and Waste Management
and Remediation Services
83.8 80.2 77.4 8.3%
 Educational Services 19.9 19.1 18.9 5.3%
 Health Care and Social Assistance 170.0 168.7 167.6 1.4%
 Arts, Entertainment and Recreation 16.0 15.9 15.4 3.9%
 Accommodation and Food Services 107.1 105.4 104.2 2.8%
 Other Services 49.2 48.7 49.7 -1.0%
 Government 256.8 257.2 258.5 -0.7%
 Federal Government 24.9 25.4 26.4 -5.7
 State Government     51.3 51.5 52.1 -1.5
 Local Government 180.6 180.3 180.1 0.3%
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, State and Area Employment, Hours and Earnings, July 2015


The Kansas Department of Labor (DOL) compiles a significant amount of information related to the workforce in Kansas that can be very useful for employers and prospective business considering Kansas. Click here to find information on the labor force participation rate, unemployment rate, wage surveys by region and occupational code, monthly labor report as well as other data compiled on labor in Kansas.

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Kansas Department of Commerce, 1000 S.W. Jackson St., Suite 100, Topeka, KS 66612-1354
(785) 296-3481      TTY - 711      Fax (785) 296-5055