Business

How to get a high-demand job where you live? Kansas says new website can help

The home page of the Kansas Career Navigator website.
The home page of the Kansas Career Navigator website.

Want to know which jobs in Wichita and Sedgwick County are in the greatest demand, how much they pay and where and how much training you'll need to get them?

You'll find that information on a new website, the state says: Kansas Career Navigator, kscareernav.gov .

The website, state officials say, has information that's regularly updated on the 10 most in-demand jobs in Kansas as well as in each of its 105 counties. In Sedgwick County, for instance, the top five highest-demand jobs, in order, are: general and operations managers, registered nurses, aerospace engineers, wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives, and industrial machinery mechanics.

The site also provides information on current openings, the education or training required for them as well as where you can get the training or schooling and how much that will cost.

"I refer to it affectionately as the Swiss Army knife of literally finding a job in Kansas right now," said Diane DeBacker, Kansas' executive director of business and education innovation.

Four state government organizations are behind the website: the Departments of Labor, Commerce and Education as well as the Kansas Board of Regents. State officials said there was a lot of work creating the website's features and incorporating information from each of those organizations.

"When you bring agencies together, even if you're just bringing two together, there can be a lot of challenges just in having your technology talk to each other or having permissions to share sensitive information," Kansas Labor Secretary Lana Gordon said. "It's not necessarily a quick process."

The website was paid for by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.

DeBacker said the website doesn't just benefit people looking for jobs inside and outside of Kansas. It can also help kids in high school who are considering careers to identify earlier what jobs they might want to train for following graduation.

And, she said, it will help Kansas businesses that have job openings but applicants who lack the skills to fill them.

"It really is responding to a couple of different things that are happening across the state," DeBacker said. "One is the low unemployment rate. As the governor has said many times, we have jobs looking for people. This is one way to talk about that. And then as we see what is happening in our ... education system (with career pathway programs aimed at providing job training to students still in high school), this is a way to start connecting all of the different initiatives going on."

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Jerry Siebenmark: 316-268-6576, @jsiebenmark
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