KFB launching apprenticeship program focused on rural workforce


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MANHATTAN — Kansas Farm Bureau (KFB) announced today the creation of the Rural Kansas Apprenticeship Program (RKAP) developed with a grant from the Kansas Department of Commerce’s Office of Registered Apprenticeship to help address workforce needs in rural communities across Kansas.

“We’re excited about this partnership opportunity to offer a program where employers and employees grow alongside each other,” says Joel Leftwich, KFB chief strategy officer. “RKAP will assist businesses to create individual programs to meet their needs while employees will receive on-the-job training, mentorship and increased earning potential.”

RKAP is Kansas’ first registered apprenticeship program focused solely on agriculture and rural communities to provide industry-driven career pathways for farmers, ranchers and small businesses serving agricultural areas. Registered apprenticeships benefit employers by developing a skilled and loyal workforce. Meanwhile, apprentices enjoy a full-time job with a certified credential showing mastery of their craft.

“Apprenticeship programs allow us to expand the skillsets of our workforce to meet the needs of rural communities,” says Shonda Atwater, director of Apprenticeship and Internship for the Kansas Department of Commerce. “Investing in talent – a key pillar in the Kansas Framework for Growth – is critical because it creates opportunities for our young people to thrive.”

Registered apprenticeships can be tailored to meet the needs of every business and industry. The model has proven successful amongst other industries including construction, healthcare and manufacturing for many years in Kansas. For more information on RKAP, contact Joel Leftwich at leftwichj@kfb.org or visit the Office of Registered Apprenticeship here.

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Derek Nester
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 2020 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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