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Wall Street Journal story looks at Wichita’s workforce issues

It’s no secret that city and business leaders in Wichita have made it a top priority in recent years to attract and retain workforce talent.

On Wednesday, the topic got some national exposure as the Wall Street Journal published a story on its website titled “The ‘Air Capital of the World’ has a problem: too few aviation workers.”

The story, by Journal reporter Shayndi Raice, touches topics that include the city’s attempts to improve quality of life for residents and potential residents, the area’s shortage of skilled workers, and newer developments like Wichita State’s Innovation Campus and a Wichita Area Technical College program that offers free tuition for training in specific needs-based career paths.

The piece even mentions the city’s new bike-share program and the possibility of a new baseball stadium.

When reached by phone Wednesday morning, Raice said she thinks Wichita has many of the same issues that other middle-America cities face – loss of manufacturing jobs, wide-ranging impact of globalization and an aging population – but she also mentioned the Air Capital stands out in some ways.

“A lot of these second- and third-tier cities in America are facing challenges,” Raice said. “What I was struck by in doing the story was how closely everybody seemed to work with each other in Wichita.”

“It seemed like it’s a coordinated effort. It wasn’t like the technical college was doing one thing and industry was doing another. Having lived in cities like London, New York, San Francisco and now Chicago, maybe I’m not used to a city being so on-point. That might speak to the importance of these issues in Wichita.”

Raice covers regional economics for the Journal, focusing mostly on the Great Plains states, she said.

Bryan Horwath: 316-269-6708, @bryan_horwath

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