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Topeka, Kansas: Expanding The Talent Pipeline

In today’s global economy, workforce development and talent attraction are essential components of a successful business strategy. With companies competing to attract and retain top talent—and remote work making that ever-more challenging—cities and regions are increasingly recognizing the importance of developing specialized programs and incentives to attract the best and brightest.

One city taking this challenge seriously is Topeka, KS. With a population of just over 125,000, Topeka might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of innovative approaches to workforce development—but in recent years, the capital city of Kansas has made a concerted effort to build a talent pipeline that can compete and grow in the 21st century.

Go Topeka
There are more than 191,000 people in the labor pool within a 45-minute drive from Topeka, KS. (Image: Go Topeka)

 

One program seeing success is Topeka’s Top City Interns initiative. Launched in 2017, this program aims to connect college students with summer internships at Topeka-area businesses. The program offers a range of resources to support both interns and businesses, and since its inception, Top City Interns has been a win-win for local companies and students choosing to spend their summers in the capital city. Not only does the program help businesses host talented and motivated interns, but participating interns also gain a more comprehensive view of the Topeka community and all it has to offer.

Another successful program has been Choose Topeka, which was created in 2019 to incentivize individuals to relocate to Topeka and work for local employers. Incentives are up to $15,000, which can be used toward housing or moving expenses. The initiative has been a key talent-attraction tool for the city, helping Topeka and Shawnee County compete with larger Midwest communities like Kansas City, which have traditionally been seen as more attractive destinations for young professionals. By offering financial incentives and community support, Choose Topeka has helped position the capital city as a top destination for young talent.

But the Topeka community isn’t just about attracting talent from outside the area. The city and county have also been investing in specialized workforce development programs to ensure residents have the skills and training needed to succeed in today’s economy.

By investing in the community’s next generation of leaders, Topeka is helping ensure a bright future for the city and its residents.

A great example is the Washburn Institute of Technology, known locally as Washburn Tech, which offers specialized training in fields like automotive technology, health care, manufacturing, and education. Affiliated with Topeka’s Washburn University, Washburn Tech also offers students the opportunity to start with technical courses and continue to advanced degrees.

Finally, Topeka and some of its top employers have been investing in programs that support young professionals, including initiatives like Forge Young Talent. Forge is the community’s premier young professionals organization and works to offer a range of social programming, networking events, and leadership-development opportunities for local talent aged 18-40.

By investing in the community’s next generation of leaders, Topeka is helping ensure a bright future for the city and its residents. As more cities and regions recognize the importance of workforce development and talent attraction, programs like those in Topeka can serve as a model for success.

Visit www.GOTopeka.com for more information.

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