The western Kansas Rural Economic Development Alliance (wKREDA) has been working to develop a growing economic environment for western Kansas over the past 12 years. Growing in membership each year since its inception, the organization currently represents fifty-six (56) counties across western Kansas. wKREDA’s mission is to work together for the common good of western Kansas. Its purpose and objectives are to:
To promote the exchange of ideas and information among members while enhancing their effectiveness in their local organizations and in the wKREDA region.
To provide members with educational, legislative, and recruitment opportunities and other resources that will assist them in local and regional community and rural development efforts.
To revitalize western Kansas through cooperative, community and rural development activities.
These objectives are pursued by wKREDA members putting forth time out of their own work schedule to accomplish goals and projects, which not only help develop their own individual counties and businesses, but also strive to improve the overall economic environment across the larger region (i.e. wKREDA’s membership region or even the state of Kansas). It has been a long held platform of wKREDA to enhance existing programs through networking and to create new programs that improve the economic environment for its region.
The idea to create a workforce development program began, with the calamity of hurricane Katrina. Although Kansas was not directly impacted by this disaster, conversation by wKREDA members began to explore the issue of assisting displaced workers from Katrina by finding employment opportunities within Kansas companies needing additional employees. Due to logistics and other uncontrollable challenges, this realignment of displaced Louisiana workers to Kansas companies did not occur; but through the process, the discovery was made that many companies in western Kansas had a similar challenge – finding employees. Since companies cannot develop, grow or survive without a viable workforce, the lack of a viable workforce was determined by wKREDA to be a very important area to pursue within their business development arm of the organization. wKREDA’s concern for workforce outreach led to the creation of the “We Have Jobs” (WHJ) committee and initiative.
The first and primary portion of the workforce initiative was to development a job opportunities website. Placement of job opportunities for the western Kansas business community within each wKREDA county, by local development or chamber offices, onto this website would provide the central idea behind this initiative. A virtual site for workforce to search for opportunities was born. The second portion of the initiative focused on promoting the www.westernksjobs.com website through multiple, traditional and non-traditional means of marketing. This initial promotion was done with a business card size magnet and bottled water, which promoted the website with the slogan “Discover Western Kansas ~ Where Life Works”. This slogan continues through professionally made videos, marketing items, billboards, magazine articles and other face to face marketing avenues. Although the concept was relatively simple, it has been very successful in spreading the word internationally and nationally about the business environment potential of western Kansas. With over 20,000 hits a month and an automated e-mailer for job seekers, businesses using this service have been truly amazed at the successful results. As a business development member of wKREDA, now you can have your business advertised on each page of the website as well. For more details, send an inquiry through the “contact us”.