Apprenticeship Program Helps Rural Kansas

Three newly hired apprentices at two companies say the chance to earn money while they learn more about their jobs was one of the main reasons they considered positions created through Kansas Farm Bureau’s (KFB) award-winning Rural Kansas Apprenticeship Program (RKAP).

South Bend Industrial Hemp used the program to hire Joseph Rogers and Kaidence Sanchez as hemp processing facility operators at the Great Bend-based company.

“I think it’s really cool the apprenticeship comes with some educational opportunities,” Rogers says.

Sanchez says he’s never seen anything like the apprenticeship program and believes “it’s an exciting way to learn more and earn more money.”

Camron Hicks is the second apprentice hired through RKAP at Moundridge-based Mid-Kansas Cooperative (MKC). He’s training as an operations specialist at MKC’s Canton location. Hicks says he wants to travel throughout Kansas and learn more about grain elevators, and he sees a real career path through his apprenticeship.

“I’ve always wanted to move my way up in a company,” Hicks says. “I’m very excited to see where this takes me with knowledge and the overall functions of elevators.”

RKAP helps companies like South Bend Industrial Hemp and MKC design apprenticeships to meet state and federal guidelines while being tailored to specific jobs. On top of an apprentice’s work duties, there are educational and training components with scheduled wage progression.

“The goal is to create trained and skilled workers for companies operating in rural Kansas,” says Kylee Stout, KFB business development manager. “RKAP helps employers manage the paperwork of an apprenticeship while giving them the ability to create pathways for workers to acquire practical skills that lead to well-paying jobs.”

Apprenticeships benefit employers by developing a skilled and loyal workforce. Employees benefit from having a full-time job as they earn a certified credential showing mastery of their craft.

In addition to operations specialist, MKC has apprentice openings for agriculture equipment operators and CDL drivers. Other employers with open apprenticeships include positions as a CDL driver at Ag Partners and agronomy operator and grain elevator operator at Alliance Ag & Grain, LLC.

To learn more about RKAP, contact Kylee Stout at [email protected] or visit