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There are over 400,000 people in the labor pool within a 45-minute drive from Topeka!



Education is important in Topeka. Here you will find businesses that put a premium on worker productivity, who benefit from easy access to the nation’s largest markets and tap into a highly educated and skilled workforce from some of the nation’s best technical schools and universities.

Talent flocks to Topeka from all directions provided by four major universities within 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.

Washburn University

Washburn University

Kansas University

Kansas University

Kansas State University

Kansas State University

Emporia State University

Emporia State University

More About Education

Specialized Technical Programs

We’re partnering to help offer opportunities for our workforce that have never existed before. Washburn Institute of Technology has two locations in Topeka that offer customized training programs where companies help build the curriculum for cutting-edge programs. Washburn Tech can address current training needs or prepares students to enter the workforce with a level of knowledge that is specific to the industry they are working in.

Washburn Tech’s main campus is comprised of seven buildings which offer a mix of classrooms, lab space and shop facilities. This location also features the Ichabod Shop at TechAdvantage Center, Conference Center and numerous meeting spaces. Parking is readily available and the campus is close to one of Topeka’s busiest business districts, the Wanamaker corridor.

Washburn Tech East offers training in manufacturing, health care, construction trades and the General Education Diploma (GED) as well as English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. Another opportunity is the Accelerating Opportunities-Kansas program or AO-K. Developed by the Kansas Board of Regents in partnership with the Kansas Department of Commerce, it enables students to work toward their GED while acquiring technical training at the same time. Costs, to the student, are minimal.

Washburn Tech has a 94% job placement rate, which is the highest in the state of Kansas.

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.

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Kansas 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: $14,000
  • Average Insurance Rage: 4.25%
  • New Employer Rate: 2.7%
  • Maximum Weekly Benefit: $594

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 $14,000 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.

The employer tax rate maximum weekly benefit for new claims filed is $594 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.

Workforce Support Directory

Workforce Support Directory