Department of Commerce Awards Nearly $10 Million in High-Demand Workforce Development Grants

TOPEKA – Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland announced today that nearly $10 million has been awarded to 26 recipients for training and workforce development initiatives in high-demand and high-wage industries. Funding was made available through the Delivering Residents and Workforce (DRAW) program, which was launched by Commerce earlier this year. The Department of Commerce received 50 applications, with requests totaling over $24 million.

“As Kansas continues to attract transformative economic development projects,” Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland said, “it is vital our state’s talent pipeline receives the right training to build out the skillsets needed to enjoy successful careers in these targeted sectors. The DRAW program is laser-focused on the state’s most critical positions.”

The funds were designated by the Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas (SPARK) Executive Committee and approved by the State Finance Council to provide impactful capital projects that spur regional economic development in high-demand and high-wage industries, such as healthcare, education and technology-based businesses.

“It is a priority for the Legislature that these vacant high-demand, high-wage jobs are filled by Kansans whenever possible,” Senate President Ty Masterson said.

DRAW applications included investments in mobile workforce training providers, healthcare providers, education providers, technology-based businesses and employers working with the blind, visually or hearing impaired, or persons with disabilities. Additional applications were accepted by those employers designated by the Kansas Department of Labor as hiring high-demand and high-wage positions, such as accountants, welders, sales managers and computer systems analysts.

Recipients will use funds towards construction of on-site training facilities and service expansions, third-party and vendor training costs on machinery and equipment, machinery and equipment used for training, salaries directly related to training, course development costs and services for development of in-house training, marketing, communication and activities to attract talent from out-of-state. Awardees will have two years to complete their projects and utilize all awarded funds.

“The SPARK Committee wanted to prioritize Kansas workers who could fill the jobs not only of today but in the future,” House Speaker Daniel Hawkins said. “The DRAW program uniquely supports our vision.”

For a list of DRAW grant recipients and more information about the program, click here.

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
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.


― Advertisement ―


― Advertisement ―



― Advertisement ―

95.5 KNDY

1570/94.1 KNDY



Q 106.7 & 102.5 KQNK