Gov. Unveils Economic Growth Plan For Kansas

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly Thursday unveiled Kansas’ new, comprehensive economic development strategic plan, the first of its kind in more than 30 years. The Kansas Framework for Growth is an aggressive strategy to align our state’s strengths with emerging trends across the global economy, while guiding economic development at state and local levels into the future.

“Our economic development progress over the past two years has been significant, but an effective strategy does more than focus on the here and now – we must plan for the future and set the stage for sustained growth and prosperity,” Governor Kelly said. “The Framework for Growth is a bold plan to address current and future trends in our state, while we continue to promote job growth and new capital investment in communities of every size all across Kansas.”

The Framework for Growth was created through data analysis and with input from Kansans statewide. Business and community leaders were engaged to offer suggestions and determine priorities for the Kansas economy, and through a virtual survey and town hall meetings across the state, thousands of Kansans came together to help create the final plan.

“At the end of the day, the Framework for Growth is about keeping our kids and families in Kansas,” Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland said. “For too long we’ve exported our greatest asset – our educated young people – at a loss, sending them to states where they can find better economic opportunities. That’s unacceptable, and we can and must do better. The Framework for Growth provides a path forward, leveraging our assets – high-quality workers, top-notch K-12 and higher ed, excellent infrastructure and a business-friendly climate – to dramatically accelerate our rate of economic growth in this decade. Ultimately that’s how we make sure our grandchildren can grow, prosper and raise their own kids in Kansas.”

The Framework for Growth outlines specific approaches to help develop the state’s number one asset – its people. By focusing on talent and innovation, the Framework aims to build resiliency in the Kansas workforce and unlock the potential for new ideas to cultivate and develop into tomorrow’s prosperous businesses.

Some key initiatives outlined within Framework for Growth include a renewed emphasis on the following, among many others:

  • Talent development and retention
  • Harnessing the state’s colleges and universities for job and business creation
  • Innovation as a driver of new business opportunity
  • Community assets and regional approaches to economic development
  • Policies to support long-term growth.

“I know from my experiences as Governor, and later as Archivist of the United States – leading the National Archives Records Administration at the federal level – there is tremendous value in looking big-picture, long range, at where we are and where we want to be,” former Kansas Governor John Carlin said. “With everyone pulling in the same direction, you can accomplish some amazing things. I have no doubt that, if the Framework for Growth is bought-into and implemented, it can do great things here in Kansas.”

“It’s time for us to build another common approach and lay out our goals to grow the state.” former Kansas Governor Mike Hayden said. “This plan does not belong to one administration; it is the Kansas plan for growth. As former Governors, John and I are proud to join with the current Governor in making the case for this shared vision for our state’s future.”

“By emphasizing innovation across our core industries as a driver of economic development, the Framework demonstrates forward-thinking vision for Kansas,” Andrew Nave, Executive Vice President of the Greater Wichita Partnership, said. “Our region fully supports the Framework and its guiding principles as the right course for Kansas.”

“Reinforcing and expanding on commitments to businesses and manufacturers as catalysts for growth – while seizing opportunities to attract and retain talent as a way to bolster the workforce – is a welcome and appropriate strategy in positioning our state’s economy for growth now and for years to come,” Mark Chalfant, CEO of Fuller Industries, said. “We’re glad to see our state taking bold action to grow and succeed well into the future.”

“I’m pleased to see the Framework’s people-first approach, which we very much embrace in rural Kansas, and the emphasis on building and strengthening our communities statewide,” Director of Greeley County Community Development Christy Hopkins said. “This plan indicates that our state understands the value of quality of life in overall economic development in places rural, urban and suburban. The Framework’s commitment to strengthening people and communities of all sizes is both refreshing and critical to our state’s future.”

“To ensure the continued strength and vitality of the Kansas economy, we need to craft policies and programs that anticipate our long-term needs,” said Blake Schreck, President and CEO of the Lenexa Chamber of Commerce and President of Team Kansas. “We need to be creative and aggressive in our economic development efforts, and I believe this Framework gives us clear direction on how we can build a dynamic economy for our state that serves us not only today, but well into the future.”

“I’m pleased to see our state implementing this creative new approach to economic development,” Joann Knight, Economic Development Director for Dodge City, said. “Workforce and housing are major priorities in Western Kansas, and I’m glad to know that the Kelly administration sees these concerns as major priorities. I look forward to the implementation of the Framework for Growth, and I know its lasting effects will be hugely positive for our city, our region and our state.”

“Making talent retention and talent growth central to the Framework is absolutely the right and necessary move,” Matt Pavarnik, CEO of the Greater Topeka Partnership, said. “We’ve benefitted from so many young professional minds creating new opportunities, and we understand that keeping and creating the next generation of leaders in Kansas is essential for our state’s economic future. We look forward to the focus on this economic development blueprint the Framework delivers.”

Creation of the Framework for Growth began in late 2019, but the new challenges brought about through the COVID-19 pandemic created an urgent need to rethink our approach resulting in a strategic plan with the flexibility to respond to our ever-changing economic conditions.

Through the Framework for Growth, Kansas will be one of the first states in the nation to take a comprehensive look at the new normal beyond COVID-19 and develop a wholistic strategy to guide state-level economic development policy.

The full report can be seen electronically here.