WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Federal funds to help retrain Wichita-area workers who have been laid off have fallen by nearly $870,000 in the last two years.
The funding cut comes as the local aircraft industry is looking to hire more skilled workers, the Wichita Eagle reported .
The Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas primarily uses the federal funding to help low-income workers or those displaced by job loss pay for technical training in aircraft jobs.
“There’s fewer people we’ll be able to serve at a time when we’re needing more skilled workers,” said Keith Lawing, president and CEO of the Workforce Alliance.
The funding is tied to a formula that awards money based on a state’s unemployment, poverty rates and population growth. Lawing said Kansas’ declining unemployment and sluggish population growth has led to less job training money.
Lawing said the lost money could have helped nearly 290 workers. He based his estimate off the formula in which the funding on average pays tuition of $3,500 for one person at Wichita Area Technical College, divided by the funding loss.
“Any time the Workforce Alliance experiences a reduction in funding, that has a trickle-down effect,” said Sheree Utash, president of the college.
Lawing said the group has been able to temporarily offset the decline with two grants totaling $680,000. But the group will be done for good once those grants have run out.
“2018 will be the last year we have for those funds,” he said.
The state is also seeing fewer federal job training funds. Kansas saw federal funding provided through the workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act fall more than $1.1 million between fiscal 2015 and 2016, and more than $870,000 between fiscal 2016 and 2017, according to documents from the Workforce Alliance.
Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com
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