Local leaders strategize to keep college graduates in Kansas

Published: Feb. 12, 2020 at 5:44 PM CST
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The Chamber of Lawrence and University of Kansas officials sat down with the Governor Wednesday to get her input on their economic development plans.

They said they're making strides to change the image of Kansas.

University of Kansas chancellor Dr. Doug Girod said that isn't possible without partnerships.

"State policy and state investment underpins everything and so the sooner we can all partner together to encourage companies to start here, to grow here, or to move here, the better," he said.

Governor Laura Kelly said, "The state needs to partner with them to help this really meet its goal of developing business centers here in the area, so that we can retain our own talent and recruit talent from other states."

Secretary of Commerce David Toland said Kansas is losing most of its graduates to Missouri.

The group discussed ways to end that trend.

"We're trying to do a better job of connecting our students to get experience and advice from businesses here locally and in the state," said Dr. Girod, "So that they understand what opportunities are here and can really grow from those opportunities."

"If we have opportunities for those kids to stay here in the state of Kansas and use their skills and their talents, we're going to be a whole lot better off as a state in addition to the community being better off," said Governor Kelly.

She said society is changing and as a state, Kansas needs to keep up.

"It's a very different world from when I graduated from college," said Gov. Kelly, "The kinds of jobs that are there, the kinds of things that young people want to do, are just more reflective of where we are as a society, so we've got to keep up."

Dr. Girod said he loves the vision the governor and Secretary Toland shared and believes collectively they can make a difference.