State, industry leaders say more engineers are needed in Kansas

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Kansas companies said there is a need for more engineers in the state.

On Monday, the governor signed a ceremonial bill, which passed earlier this year, that sends money from expanded lottery act funds to the University of Kansas, Kansas State University and Wichita State to attract more engineering students.

Schools will receive $3.5 million each per year.

The goal is to have more than 1,300 engineering students graduate each year in the state. It is the same goal lawmakers set a decade ago when the program first passed. So this year, the program was extended another 10 years.

Below is a chart showing how numbers have grown in the past decade.

The extension of the program is an effort industry leaders support.

“I think the demands on engineering companies relative to infrastructure, relative to new technology, relative to safety within our country are more than they’ve ever been before, and so the need for engineers is more than it has ever been,” said Bartlett & West CEO Keith Warta.

Warta said this program works to help fill job openings at Kansas companies.

“The universities are able to inspire people to major in engineering, and once they get them at the universities, they have an affinity for our state certainly, and they stick around,” Warta said.

Governor Laura Kelly lauded the bill as a good piece of legislation that makes a difference.

“We really need to churn out a whole lot more engineers than we do,” Governor Laura Kelly said.

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