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GoTopeka » Workforce


There are four universities in a 60 mile radius – The University of Kansas, Kansas State University, Emporia State University and Washburn University – with a combined enrollment of 60,000 and over 12,000 graduates per year. Pairing that with the comprehensive educational system in Topeka and Shawnee County creates a pipeline of skilled workers for area businesses and companies looking to grow or relocate to Topeka.

Workforce Talent

Every attempt has been made to provide current, accurate, and consistent data in this database. There may be some differences due to sources, methodologies, or timing of data-assembly.

December 2016 Labor Report

January 20, 2017

Workforce Draw - 45 Minute Drive Time to TopekaTOPEKA, Kan. – The December seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.2 percent. This was down from 4.3 percent in November and up from 4.0 percent in December 2015.

The preliminary seasonally adjusted job estimates from the Kansas Department of Labor (KDOL) and Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicate Kansas nonfarm jobs decreased by 500 from November. Since last month, Kansas private sector jobs decreased by 1,100. The largest private sector over the month job decrease was in Education and Health Services.

Over the year, Kansas lost 9,300 seasonally adjusted total nonfarm jobs. Kansas lost 9,400 private sector jobs since December 2015.

Kansas not seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs decreased by 9,500, a 0.7 percent decrease since December 2015. Kansas lost 9,700 private sector jobs since last year, or 0.8 percent. The state lost 6,300 total not seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs over the month. Since November, private sector jobs decreased by 4,900, or 0.4 percent.

“Rounding out the year preliminary estimates show fewer jobs in the state than one year ago,” said Tyler Tenbrink, Senior Labor Economist, Kansas Department of Labor. “Estimates of the size of the labor force improved in December but remain lower than one year ago.”

The BLS revised the seasonally adjusted preliminary total nonfarm job estimates for November down by 1,900 jobs from 1,394,800 to 1,392,900. Seasonally adjusted private sector jobs were revised down by 800 jobs, from 1,138,300 to 1,137,500.

Seasonally adjusted estimates for December show that the state’s labor force increased by 1,145 to 1,484,858. Of those in the labor force, 1,422,113 Kansans were employed and 62,745 were unemployed. This month’s net change in the labor force was attributable to 2,242 more Kansans counted as employed and 1,097 fewer unemployed.

Over the year, the labor force decreased by 22,527 persons, with a decrease of 24,617 in employment and an increase of 2,090 in unemployment.

The labor force participation rate was 66.7 percent, up from 66.6 in November and down from 68.1 percent last December.

Information on procedures for producing Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), e.g., labor force, estimates is available on the BLS website here. Procedures for producing Current Employment Statistics (CES), e.g., nonfarm jobs, estimates are available on the BLS website here.

For more information on the unemployment insurance program including tax and claims data please refer to the KDOL Unemployment Insurance Weekly Review.

The January 2017 Labor Report will be released on Friday, Mar. 10.

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Specialized Technical Programs

GO Topeka continues working to achieve our mission of bringing prosperity to the citizens of Topeka and Shawnee County by bringing high quality companies and jobs to our community and working to expand and grow our existing industries. We’re providing opportunities for our workforce that have never existed before.

The Advanced Systems Technology and Manufacturing Technology programs at Washburn Tech provide career training that enables you to be the workforce of the future, earning excellent pay and benefits. With a flexible curriculum and a short time frame for completion this is an excellent chance to jumpstart your career with many companies in Topeka and Shawnee County.

Washburn Tech also proudly partners with a number of area businesses to create customized training programs. These programs are highly successful and continue to grow!

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WorkKeys Testing

WorkKeys assessments measure “real world” skills that employers believe are critical to job success. Test questions are based on situations in the everyday work world.  The purpose of WorkKeys assessments allows potential job candidates the ability to demonstrate achievement and a certain level of workplace employability skills for potential employers.

Topeka and Shawnee County participate in the  Kansas WORKReady! Certificate, a statewide initiative designed to certify a quality workforce and promote economic development in our community.  The certificate, powered by WorkKeys, a product of ACT, Inc. is a nationally recognized assessment-based credential that gives employers and job seekers a uniform measure of key workplace skills. The certificate denotes that the certificate holder possesses the foundational skills required to achieve success in the workplace. It is a portable credential, allowing job seekers and employers to use it anywhere in the nation.

There are four levels of certification: platinum, gold, silver and bronze. To earn a KansasWORKReady! Certificate, individuals undergo testing related to reading, applied math and locating information through the WorkKeys skills assessment system. The level of certificate earned depends on the recipient’s scores on the WorkKeys exam.

WORKReady! Resources for Businesses and Employers

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Employer / Payroll

Every attempt has been made to provide current, accurate, and consistent data in this database. There may be some differences due to sources, methodologies, or timing of data-assembly.

Kansas Shared Work Unemployment Insurance

The shared work unemployment insurance program is designed to help both employers and employees by:

  • Allowing an employer to divide the workday among a group of affected employees in lieu of a layoff
  • Allowing employees to receive a portion of their unemployment benefits while working reduced hours

 Unemployment Insurance

  • Taxable Base: $12,000
  • Rate: 2.7% (Construction industry begins with 6% tax rate)
  • New Employer Rate: 4.0%
  • Maximum Weekly Benefit: $474

Kansas does not have a fixed rate schedule—positive balance employers’ rates are adjusted annually based on the ratio of the size of the fund balance to total payroll. For 2015, positive balance employers pay between 0.07% and 5.4%. Negative balance employers pay between 5.5% and 7.4%. Unemployment insurance rates are applied to the first $12,000 in wages paid annually to each employee.

In Kansas, the normal entry rate set for a new employer is contingent upon the type of business involved. Businesses in the construction industry begin with a 6% tax rate; all other business entities will have a 4% rate.

In 2015, the employer tax rate maximum weekly benefit for new claims filed is $474 for up to 26 weeks. The minimum weekly benefit amount is $118. Employees dismissed without misconduct are eligible to receive benefits after a one?week waiting period. An employee who voluntarily quits without good cause attributable to the work or to the employer or an employee who was discharged for misconduct connected with the work may be disqualified from receiving benefits. Employees discharged for misconduct are disqualified from receiving benefits from the date the discharge occurred, until they return to work and earn three times the weekly benefit amount of their claim.

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Young Professionals

Topeka’s vibrant and growing young professional group!

Forge is THE organization for people actively creating the place they want to be. Our members are passionate about being “in” Topeka. We enjoy getting to know others and working toward the goal of improving our city through our actions. Members are seen as passionate, unique, caring, visionary, fun, energetic, inspiring and ambitious.

Our mission is to provide opportunities for people to connect and engage with the purpose of establishing and retaining leaders in the Topeka community.

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