Kansas education funding faces political debate amid labor shortage

As Kansas lawmakers search for solutions to a workforce shortage, government funding for education remains a politically charged topic as politicians recognize a need for schools to produce workers.

Blake Flanders, president of the Kansas Board of Regents, told the Special Committee on Workforce Development on Monday that the talent pipeline faces challenges.

“As I’ve heard from employers, more than ever, I feel like there’s a bit of a sense of desperation,” Flanders said. “It used to be employers would say, ‘We’re not getting the exact talent we need and we’d like this skillset to be developed.’ And now sometimes from more I’m hearing, ‘We just need someone to come to work; we need someone that’s going to show up.'”

Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly touted workforce development and higher education while at the groundbreaking for the Panasonic electric vehicle battery plant, financed in part by state incentives. Likewise, Panasonic executives recognized the need for education and workforce development, writing a donation to De Soto schools.

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