Workforce

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

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:

  • Nursing/healthcare
  • Business
  • Buildings and trades
  • Automotive
  • Plumbing/HVAC
  • Welding

NCKTC will also work with employers to create a customized training plan to meet their needs.

Housing

Estimated median house or condo value in 2015 was $168,905, compared to $1141,200 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.

Employment Statistics

2019 January February March April May June July August September October November December
Civilian Labor Force 16,778 16,767 16,652 16,076 16,791 17,080 16,903 16,679 17,153 17,302
Employment 16,318 16,354 16,203 16,076 16,390 16,664 16,428 16,264 16,829 16,962
Unemployment 470 413 449 373 401 416 475 415 324 340
Rate 2.80% 2.50% 2.70% 2.30% 2.40% 2.40% 2.80% 2.50% 1.90% 2.00%
2018 January February March April May June July August September October November December
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
Employment 16,347 16,382 16,338 16,348 16,451 16,726 16,562 16,384 16,643 16,788 16,746 16,688
Unemployment 397 431 423 405 391 461 495 407 338 355 355 360
Rate 2.40% 2.60% 2.50% 2.40% 2.30% 2.70% 2.90% 2.40% 2.00% 2.10% 2.10% 2.10%
2017 January February March April May June July August September October November December
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
Employment 16,429 16,457 16,552 16,351 16,270 16,481 16,758 16,612 16,742 16,798 16,743 16,540
Unemployment 492 453 434 431 462 498 516 474 392 342 404 397
Rate 2.90% 2.70% 2.60% 2.60% 2.80% 2.90% 3.00% 2.80% 2.30% 2.00% 2.40% 2.10%
2016 January February March April May June July August September October November December
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
Employment 16,998 17 16,979 17,062 16,963 17,070 16,696 16,613 16,396 16,532 16,591 16,362
Unemployment 558 565 553 461 482 617 648 593 500 510 491 481
Rate 3.20% 3.20% 3.20% 2.60% 2.80% 3.50% 3.70% 3.40% 3.00% 3.00% 2.90% 2.90%
2015 January February March April May June July August September October November December
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
Employment 17,462 17,405 17,600 17,415 17,266 17,370 17,240 17,104 17,033 17,161 17,219 17,564
Unemployment 513 557 567 603 581 594 651 525 468 470 456 451
Rate 2.90% 3.10% 3.10% 3.30% 3.30% 3.30% 3.60% 3.00% 2.70% 2.70% 2.60% 2.60%
2014 January February March April May June July August September October November December
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
Employment 20,463 20,561 20,698 20,638 20,698 20,622 20,315 20,106 20,408 20,650 20,649 20,428
Unemployment 556 598 577 476 513 536 604 544 465 412 447 431
Rate 2.60% 2.80% 2.70% 2.30% 2.40% 2.50% 2.90% 2.60% 2.20% 2% 2.10% 2.10%

Wages & Salaries

Source: Kansas Department of Commerce

Industry Sector Averages Wages In Western Kansas
Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing/Hunting $26,642
Mining $38,117
Utilities $51,871
Construction $28,237
Manufacturing $31,207
Wholesale Trade $30,422
Retail Trade $17,043
Transportation & Warehousing $31,038
Information $27,685
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
Educational Services $21,837
Health Care & Social Assistance $24,878
Arts, Entertainment & Recreation $10,803
Accommodation and Food Service $8,561
Government $22,653
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.

    Click here for the full report in pdf format. 

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