Kansas facing severe shortage of technically trained workers

(KSNT Photo/Brian Dulle)

WICHITAS, Kan. (AP) — Business, civic and state leaders says Kansas needs to quickly address a severe shortage of employees with the skills needed to fill jobs in technical industries.

The latest available data from the Kansas Department of Labor says the state had 45,000 job vacancies in 2016 — more than the entire population of Hutchinson.

The Wichita Eagle spoke to dozens of leaders who said companies such as Spirit AeroSystems or Textron Aviation might have to consider moving jobs elsewhere if more skilled workers can’t be found.

Spirit AeroSystems vice president Justin Welner says 40 percent of the more than 10,000 workers in Wichita will be eligible to retire in five years.

The officials are pushing the state to consider several steps, including more technical education and better-targeted tax incentives.

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