TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly announced today that for the third straight year, Kansas has won Area Development magazine’s coveted Gold Shovel Award. The back-to-back-to-back accolade has no precedent in state history and reflects three consecutive years of record-setting private-sector investment.
“Every day, my administration works to grow the economy so there are better opportunities for Kansans,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “This award shows that our work is paying off, and as a result, more Kansans have good-paying jobs with which they can support their families and contribute to their communities.”
Kansas was recognized for its achievement in attracting high-value investment projects that will create a significant number of new jobs throughout the state. Five states were awarded the prestigious Gold Shovel in their respective population categories, with Kansas at the top of the list of states with fewer than 3 million residents.
Panasonic Energy’s $4 billion electric vehicle (EV) battery plant in De Soto was the largest capital expenditure in 2022, but it wasn’t the only one. There were 272 projects across the state totaling almost $7.4 billion in private-sector investment and nearly 13,400 jobs created or retained.
“Governor Kelly’s commitment to bring prosperity to communities across the state is being fulfilled by home-grown businesses and companies from around the world,” Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “A third straight Gold Shovel confirms our strategic plan for economic development is working.”
That strategic plan, the Kansas Framework for Growth, was unveiled by Governor Kelly in early 2021. Through the work of thousands of Kansans from the public and private sectors, the plan emphasizes:
- Talent development and retention
- Working with higher education institutions on job and business creation
- Innovation as a driver of opportunity
- Community assets and regional approaches
- Long-term growth policies
- Target business sectors
Almost 90% of the successes announced since the beginning of the Kelly administration came from one of the five target sectors. Over that time, Kansas has attracted more than $16.2 billion in private-sector investment and created or retained more than 57,000 jobs.
Area Development Magazine is a publication for economic development executives covering corporate site selection and relocation.