Training and Education
Training and education are vital to the establishment of a productive workforce. Local partners in Hays provide opportunities to create training programs customized to the needs of employers.
Fort Hays State University is a regional comprehensive university with more than 13,000 students and approximately 350 faculty. FHSU is located in Hays, Kansas, which has been recognized as the third-best college town in America among small cities.
FHSU is known for its innovation and entrepreneurship. Among the universities in the Kansas Board of Regents system, FHSU has the unique mission to integrate computer and telecommunications technology into the educational environment and the workplace. It is a national leader in delivering education-at-distance through its Virtual College.
The University has three teaching modalities: on-campus, with an annual enrollment of about 4,500; the Virtual College, with an enrollment of about 5,000 that includes Kansas, nearly all 50 states and U.S. Armed Services personnel internationally; and in China, with about 3,500 students at partner universities.
The university has a long history of addressing the needs of the people, institutions and businesses in its primary service area of western Kansas and beyond. Here are just a few examples:
- A change in regulations under the federal No Child Left Behind Act threatened to leave a segment of public school teachers without certification about a decade ago, so FHSU quickly established accessible online courses to fill the gap.
- When the petroleum industry expressed the need for more highly trained workers, FHSU worked with the Kansas Independent Oil and Gas Association to develop a petroleum geologist program.
- Through its Department of Informatics, FHSU serves as both a local and regional academy for Cisco Systems, the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet. The U.S. government has designated the university a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance.
- FHSU has been a frequent partner with local governments and the Ellis County Coalition for Economic Development to provide training and other services to new and expanding businesses.
With the lowest tuition in the region, FHSU offers its students hands-on learning with close attention from faculty that prepares them with a global perspective, professional skills and confidence to pursue successful careers. Students can pursue majors in more than 30 academic departments in four colleges and the Graduate School.
North Central Kansas Technical College (NCKTC) is committed to being a leader in innovative workforce development and a world class learning resource for the ever changing needs of business and industry. NCKTC offers 13 programs of study and six short-term courses in a number disciplines:
- Buildings and trades
NCKTC will also work with employers to create a customized training plan to meet their needs.
Estimated median house or condo value in 2015 was $168,905, compared to $141,200 in Kansas.
Mean prices in 2015: All housing units: $181,708; Detached houses: $183,281; Townhouses or other attached units: $259,556; In 2-unit structures: $135,850; In 3-to-4-unit structures: $149,719
Median gross rent in 2015 was $657.
Cost of Living
March 2016 cost of living index in Hays: 79.20 (low, U.S. average is 100)
This index takes into account a number of factors: housing, utilities, groceries, fuel, regional consumer price index, etc.
|Civilian Labor Force||16,778||16,767||16,652||16,076||16,791||17,080||16,903||16,679||17,153||17,302|
|Civilian Labor Force||16,744||16,813||16,761||16,753||16,842||17.187||17,057||16,791||19,981||17,143||17,101||17,048|
|Civilian Labor Force||16,921||16,910||16,986||16,792||16,732||16,979||17,274||17,086||17,134||17,140||17,147||16,902|
|Civilian Labor Force||17,556||17,526||17,532||17,523||17,445||17,607||17,344||17,206||17,196||17,042||17,078||16,843|
|Civilian Labor Force||17,975||17,962||18,167||18,015||17,847||17,964||17,891||17,629||17,501||17,631||17,675||17,564|
|Civilian Labor Force||21,019||21,154||21,275||21,114||21,208||21,158||20,919||20,650||20,873||21,062||21,096||20,859|
Wages & Salaries
Source: Kansas Department of Commerce
|Industry Sector||Averages Wages In Western Kansas|
|Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing/Hunting||$26,642|
|Transportation & Warehousing||$31,038|
|Finance & Insurance||$29,973|
|Real Estate & Rental/Leasing||$19,115|
|Professional & Technical Services||$27,550|
|Management of Companies & Enterprises||$38,003|
|Administrative and Waste Services||$17,360|
|Health Care & Social Assistance||$24,878|
|Arts, Entertainment & Recreation||$10,803|
|Accommodation and Food Service||$8,561|
|Other Services except Public Administration||$17,225|
Western Kansas residents have long been accustomed to traveling for for their needs: retail shopping, entertainment, employment, etc. The nine-county Ellis County Labor Basin, defined as the counties surrounding Ellis, makes up the bulk of our commuting workforce. 65 percent of the labor pool would commute up to 30 minutes each way per day, and 21 percent would commute 45 minutes each way. Willingness to commute was influenced by wages paid. The full report can be found here.
Grow Hays contracted with the Docking Institute at Fort Hays State University to conduct a Labor Basin Analysis of the Ellis County labor basin. The analysis provides a wealth of information regarding labor availability, including the “Available Labor Pool,” which represents those who are looking for employment or are interested in new jobs for the right employment opportunities.
The Docking Institute’s independent analysis of this labor basin shows that:
The population of the Ellis County Labor Basin is 82,830. The Civilian Labor Force is 45,367. The Available Labor Pool contains 25,697 individuals.
Of the non-working members of the Available Labor Pool, an estimated 1,337 (5.2%) are currently looking for work and 3,790 (14.7%) are interested in working for the right opportunities.
Of the working members of the Available Labor Pool, 3,622 (14.1%) are currently looking for work, while 16,948 (66.0%) are interested in different jobs given the right opportunities.
More than four-fifths (82.8%) of the Available Labor Pool have at least some college experience and almost all (99.2%) have at least a high school diploma. The average age for members of the Pool is about 40 years old, and women make up more than half (56.2%) of the Pool.
Almost 18% of the Available Labor Pool are currently employed as general laborers, while an additional 5.1% work in government services or technical/high skill blue-collar occupations. About 40% of the Pool work in service sector jobs, while 17.1% work in professional white-collar jobs. A fifth (20%) are not currently working.
More than three-quarters (77.8%) of the Available Labor Pool are “willing to work outside of their primary field of employment for a new or different employment opportunity.”
- More than a quarter (29%) of the members of the Available Labor Pool will commute up to 45 minutes, one-way, for an employment opportunity, while 72% will commute up to 30 minutes for employment.
The four most important desired benefits, in order, are good salary or hourly wage, on-the-job training (OJT) or paid training, good health benefits, and good retirement benefits.
An estimated 3,836 members (15%) of the Available Labor Pool are interested in a new job at $10 an hour; 10,134 (39%) are interested at $15 an hour; and 15,579 (61%) are interested at $20 an hour.
Of the 20,570 members in the subset of employed members of the Available Labor Pool, 5,816 (28%) consider themselves underemployed.
About a 4,558 (9.1%) of all survey respondents (Available Labor Pool members and non-Pool respondents) report that they have childcare services for their children. Another 895 (1.8%) report that they need childcare services but currently lack services.