Commerce Secretary outlines vision for Kansas with Greater Wichita Partnership

Jul 10, 2020

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TOPEKA – Under the direction of Governor Laura Kelly, Secretary of Commerce David Toland this morning outlined key initiatives for participants at the annual Mid-Year Investor Meeting of the Greater Wichita Partnership.

Secretary Toland discussed momentum building in Kansas and around the region, as well as the growing role of Kansas’ Framework for Growth initiative in the state’s growth and recovery from COVID-19.

“Governor Kelly and I are committed to rebuilding our state’s economy and putting Kansas back on the map,” Secretary David Toland said. “I very much appreciated the opportunity to speak with this group of strong partners in growth, who all are committed to, and invested in, the future success of Wichita and Kansas.”

The Secretary highlighted several key developments that have better positioned the Department of Commerce to facilitate economic growth in Kansas, including:

  • A fully staffed Business Recruitment Team (for the first time in seven years)
  • A newly formed Community Development Division
  • A revitalized International Division
  • The introduction of Virtual Statewide Job Fairs
  • A new live chat feature on the Commerce website
  • A new Mobile Workforce Center
  • A dedicated field representative for Sedgwick County

Secretary Toland also gave an update on research gathered through the Framework for Growth, the first economic development plan for Kansas in more than three decades.

Key takeaways from the initial research found Kansas lagging behind comparable states in outmigration of young residents and GDP growth. The Secretary emphasized the need to change those trends.

“Our goal with the Framework for Growth is to get a clear-eyed analysis of the headwinds facing our state right now and work to establish a comprehensive, strategic approach to economic development in Kansas,” Toland said. “We have a lot of work to do, and we appreciate the partnership of organizations like the Greater Wichita Partnership, along with the many Kansans who contributed to the plan and will continue to provide input throughout this effort.

“Despite the challenges we’re facing, there are a lot of opportunities. Seizing these new opportunities will require us to lean into the challenges and remain laser-focused on growth for our state.”

One opportunity the Secretary noted Friday related to supply chain disruption across the economy was in reshoring U.S.-based manufacturing companies from foreign labor markets.

“Companies worldwide are in the midst of taking a critical look at their supply chains and evaluating opportunities to minimize risk and shore up reliability and flexibility by investing closer to home — or closer to where their consumers are,” the Secretary said. “If a firm is looking to access the entire U.S. market faster — from a prime location and infrastructure that connects them to the world — they should look no further than right here in Kansas.”

To learn more about the Kansas Framework for Growth, visit kansasgrowth.com

To learn more about the Reshore Kansas initiative, visit kansascommerce.gov/reshoring