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Thursday, August 5, 2021

Office of Rural Prosperity Launches Project for Young Rural Professionals

TOPEKA – Lt. Governor Lynn Rogers announced today the Office of Rural Prosperity (ORP) will partner with the Kansas Sampler Foundation to develop a framework designed to engage, empower, retain, and recruit young people in rural Kansas.

“Incentivizing younger Kansans to use their talents here at home, will be critical to continuing to build a 21st century economy in our state,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “Our communities, especially rural ones, will benefit greatly if we can find ways to attract a young workforce and keep our children at home.”

The Kansas Sampler Foundation (KSF), led by Executive Director Marci Penner, has been working to support rural communities for almost 30 years. KSF has completed projects in the past focusing on young professionals (21-39 years old).

“It is an asset to be young! Why not round up the ideas, energy, talents, and vision of this age group?” said Penner. “Instead of ignoring the perspective they bring to our state, let’s capitalize on it. If we can make the state more attractive to the under-40 group, it would make Kansas stronger and better for everyone.”

The project will consist of collecting core questions through interviews in targeted regions across the state and digital surveys in all 105 counties. KSF will work with existing young professional and leadership groups to widen the base of information. With the help of data from the Kansas Department of Commerce, KSF will focus on diversity of respondents.

“Out-migration has shrunk rural communities causing them to decline in size and increase in age,” said Lt. Governor Lynn Rogers. “Focusing on the needs of young people, especially young professionals, is key to the future of these communities. Our goal with this project is to identify programs, policies, and investments that would encourage young people to stay in or move to rural communities in Kansas.”

For individuals who are 21-39, identify as rural, and would like to be interviewed, please contact the Kansas Sampler Foundation at marci@kansassampler.org or 620-585-2374.

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About The Office of Rural Prosperity
ORP is a nonpartisan initiative established in part to ensure that rural Kansas is heard and represented in the Statehouse. ORP is an effort to streamline rural policy, create an inventory of existing resources and initiatives while aiding in rural improvement efforts.

About The Kansas Sampler Foundation
KSF is public non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve and sustain rural culture by educating Kansas about Kansas and networking and supporting rural communities. Their goal is to keep every town viable that shows the will and spirit to help itself.

Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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