Secretary Chao in Kansas City for Workforce Innovation Conference
While United States Department of Labor leaders were in Kansas City for the Workforce Innovation Conference, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius took advantage of the opportunity to share her concerns regarding limitations on grant funding for Greensburg.
Sebelius said, "I talked with Secretary (Elaine) Chao and Deputy Secretary (Mason) Bishop about creating some additional flexibility for using the emergency grant money in Greensburg. Without Congressional action, the Department of Labor leaders believe their hands may be tied, but pledged to take another look at the language. They also committed to work with the Kansas delegation to assist in passing language which would give us the opportunity to fully use our grant funds, similar to the language that was passed for Hurricane Katrina. We will work closely with the delegation on this critical issue."
At the conference Governor Sebelius and Missouri Governor Matt Blunt talked about the future of their states' economies; discussed the beneficial relationship between Kansas and Missouri; and participated in a Q&A session for a crowd of nearly 3,000 workforce development professionals from around the nation.
Afterwards, the governors signed a ceremonial copy of the Bi-state Career Readiness Certificate, an award given to workers who have completed the requirements of the Kansas WORKReady! program or its analogous program in Missouri.
The Bi-state Career Readiness Certificate follows the national model for Career Readiness Certificate, measuring the basic foundational skills used in all workplaces and based upon data from more than 10,000 job profiles collected over the past 15 years.
The certificate, which is endorsed by the Kansas Council of Chamber Executives, is recognized in 42 states by businesses, employers, educators, service providers, and economic developers.
To promote the program in Kansas, the Department of Commerce has partnered with Kansas high schools; career and technical education programs; vocational and community colleges; public workforce systems; the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services; the Kansas Department of Corrections; and various adult education providers throughout the state.
Since its pilot, the program has been successfully implemented by more than 70 businesses in the Junction City and Manhattan region.