Affordable Care Act Forum

The Workforce of Tomorrow Needs the Skills of Yesterday!

Developing our future workforce in areas that are needed for our regional and economic support is VERY important.  I continue to hear from some of our local business leaders and residents about the need to have training in classes in high school or apprenticeship programs for our students.  The reasoning behind why such skills of yesterday are in DIRE short supply can be associated to:  school budgeting cuts or restrictions in the ‘arts and vo-tech’ areas, federal mandates on schools to push one style of curriculum – steering our kids toward a degree field, less encouragement toward students following desiring these fields, or other reasons which are so numerous it would take another page to get them all down. The fact remains, there is a big push to get our students to higher degree fields in college — now more than ever.

OK.  With that being said, please don’t misinterpret my intentions as being against our kids pursuing higher education.  That is definately NOT the case, but we need to ENSURE that our kids are 1) given all the options as to ALL employment fields/options and benefits to working in that field, 2) encouraged to take apprenticeship training throughout their high school years in order to provide a guaranteed source of employment immediately out of school, and 3) are recognized for their innovation and committment in blue collar trades as well as those seeking a higher degree at a college or university.

I  have been working with several local busiensses wanting to expand or start new ancillary businesses over the last few years.  This is one major reason why PCED has been at career fairs over the last few years marketing our area businesses and job opportunities.  Workforce development issues, once again, is a trend experienced by many firms over the years. Where are all the skilled workers? We are losing our pool of workers with technical skills. Fewer high schools offer trades courses, fewer kids grow up learning mechanical skills at home or on the farm.  It is because of these challenges, the Rural Opportunity Zone legislation was passed as an incentive to our rural communities.  It was a tool to help recruit more workforce into the areas to accomodate the growth trend of our western Kansas businesses.

Current reports show that some of the most in demand careers now and in the future do not require a four year degree, but training from technical schools/community colleges, or on the job training. Trade skills in fields such as welding, machining, electronics, drafting/autoCAD, etc. are in demand and will continue to be so in the future.   There is also a shortage in CDL drivers in many areas, and the recent oil boom in the Midwest is only growing the demand.  With some proactive changes and financial investment to our local schools vocational-technical programs, these learned trades could: 1) have more students working right out of high school, 2) create more business expansion of existing businesses, 3) keep more residents in our rural areas, and 4) strengthen our local economies.

A number of organizations are looking at this issue and how to get people interested in working in careers in skilled trades: economic developers, workforce specialists, schools, manufacturers, etc. There are a number of resources available to assist people looking to change careers. But the first step is educating our youth and residents that there are good careers in manufacturing, and growing opportunities across the country. Not every child is suited to go to college. Nationally, the percentage of students that enroll in a four-year college and don’t finish is around 45%. Imagine the savings if those students were directed to different career paths, with shorter training requirements and considerably less expense. We need to keep this in mind as we look to the future and decide where we want to be, and what we want to be doing.

Jeff Hofaker, PCED executive director

…With thanks to Aaron White (ECC Director) with some format insights

Swap Meet and Cruise Night

Swap Meet Cruise Night


Swine and Poultry

Gather information, share in a meal, and meet the Kansas Secretary of           Agriculture at the Farm Bureau meeting.

Swine and Poultry Operational Enterprise



August 23 (Thursday)

5 pm at

Huck Boyd Center

Gather information at this meeting from the Department of Agricuture about           opportunities which may be presenting themselves for individuals in Kansas.  A panel of specialist will be at the meeting to answer questions pertaining to large swine and poultry operations.

There is no cost to attend!

If you have questions, contact

Marly Denio at Farm Bureau at 785-543-5202

The meeting will last around an hour.  There will be a short break; then the Farm Bureau Annual Meeting and supper will begin at 7 pm at the same location with
Kansas Secretary Agricuture… Rodman will be the main speaker.

Speakers at the 1st meeting:

Dept of Ag JJ Jones, KS and Thad Geiger, KS Dept of Ag & PIC.

Other panel speakers will be Lane Letourneau, KS Water Office; Clayton Hussman;
Tim Stroda, KS Pork Pat Murphy, Professor Environmental Systems Agriculture           Biological and Agricultural Engineering




July 2012 Labor Report and Map of Kansas Unemployment

July Labor Report Shows Positive Long-Term Trends

TOPEKA, Kan. – In the July Labor Report, private sector employment and nonfarm jobs both showed increases since one year ago with significant increases in some industries.
Kansas gained 22,100 private sector jobs since July 2011, a 2 percent increase. Nonfarm employment grew by 19,100 jobs since one year ago, a 1.4 percent gain.
Compared to June 2012, the private sector increased by 2,600 jobs, or 0.2 percent. Nonfarm employment decreased by 16,900 jobs since one month ago, a 1.2 percent decrease mostly caused by a seasonal decline in government jobs at educational institutions.
“Private sector job growth is the encouraging note in this report. Contraction of the labor force and its impact on the unemployment rate is worthy of our attention,” stated Secretary of Labor Karin Brownlee.
Seven of the 11 major industries reported job gains since July 2011. Healthcare and social assistance gained 5,300 jobs, a 3.2 percent increase, while heavy and civil engineering construction increased by 2,500 jobs, a  24.3 percent growth.
Six of the 11 major industries saw gains from one month ago. Professional and business services grew by 2,200 jobs, a 1.4 percent increase. Construction added 1,900 jobs, a 3.4 percent gain.
“In July, the size of the labor force contracted by more than 6,100 people. Nearly all of these people came from the ranks of the employed to no longer being part of the labor force,” Tyler Tenbrink, Labor Economist, said.  “This is a trend that surfaced early in 2012 and has persisted. The major age group contributing to this trend is the group of workers age 55 and over.”
Many of the above workers leaving the labor force gave the answer that “they do not want a job now” when surveyed. This decline in the civilian labor force affected the unemployment rate.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Kansas was 6.3 percent, down from 6.7 percent one year ago and up from 6.1 percent in June 2012. The non-adjusted unemployment rate was 6.7 percent, down from 7 percent in July  2011 and up from 6.2 percent one month ago.
The August 2012 Labor Report will be released on September 21, 2012. For more information, visit www.dol.ks.govFollow KansasDOL on Twitter and Facebook.
August 16, 20122 years ago


Have you recently lost your job or are you just looking for a different scenery? Kansas is wonderful state to live in, matter of fact Phillips County is a fabulous place to locate! Wondering what incentives we have for you? Let me briefly share with you! 1) ROZ-Rural Opportunity Zones are 50 counties that have been authorized to offer one or both of the following financial incentives to new full-time residents: Kansas income tax waivers for up to five years and Student loan repayments up to $15,000. Doesn’t that sound great! Well of course it does! This link will give you more information about ROZ and what it has to offer! Or contact the Phillips County Economic Development Office at 785.543.5809 or by email: We would love to help! I’m sure you’re wondering what other reasons there are for moving to this county!? Honestly I just wanted to you about ROZ! So go to the link and check it out! If you’re wondering what you’ll do for work check this website out and click Employment! We update our county’s job openings weekly! Thanks for reading!

Business Programs working in unison to help Phillips County’s Economy!

Phillips County E-Community has had some great success collaborating with multiple development organizations to help with financing new, succession and existing business projects with their Entrepreneurship Community Partnership loan.  Over a period of a year, between June 2011 and 2012, a cumulative total of $130,878 E-community loan funds were used to help six businesses in the Phillips County area.  These e-community dollars through the Phillips County E-Community loan program were used in conjunction with six (6) other financing avenues with corresponding matched funds:  Phillips County Economic Development – Entrepreneurial Business and Enhancement ‘grant’ program ($131,953), NetWork Kansas – StartUp Kansas loan program ($112,369), Kansas Capital Multiplier Loan program ($15,000), Private Venture funding ($100,000), Local Bank loan financing ($263,600) and Business owner’s private funds invested ($127,000).  The total cumulative cost for all the projects amounted to $880,800.  These projects created ten (10) new jobs and helped preserve fifteen (15) existing jobs in the county during this same time frame.  For a county with only 5650 residents, having 25 jobs (workers) positively impacted in the community shows the beneficial and cooperative points for the E-community program.  Erik Pedersen, Network Kansas director, stated:  “It is very exciting to see the creative and collaborative way the Phillips County Entrepreneurship (E-) Community team is working to provide financing which is enabling local businesses to start and expand.  The jobs created and preserved will have a tremendous impact in Phillips County”.

Posted 7-26-2012

Jeff Hofaker

How$mart Program

Do you have problems with your old HVAC system keeping up with the heat and afraid you do not have enough money or credit to get a new economical and efficient system.  Well, this proctive program through Midwest Energy may be something to look into.  It covers more things than just HVAC systems — but that seems to be the most common use for it.  This program started out as a program for residential homes and last year was expanded to include business establishments.  It is a great way to update your systems and set up the loan through the utility company through your existing billing.  They first will conduct an energy audit to give you and them some guideance as to what can or cannot be done through their program.  There are guidelines and it does not fit EVERY situation, BUT it is definately a great program (tool) that can be used to upgrade your business as well as home.

If you are utilizing this program to make renovations/updates to a business and other improvements are going to be made, then this program can be used in conjunction with the overall improvement project to count toward your matching funds needed for the EBEP program.  If you have questions, contact our office at 785-543-5809

Jeff Hofaker – PCED director – 7-18-2012

Have you checked in? is becoming very popular in the mobile app world. Checking into different places such as; work, a restaurant, a rodeo, a mall, or even the grocery store is just fun! There are plenty of places out there that you can check into and if not just add it!
Depending on how many times you check into a place in one day, or 5 or 6 different places in one day, you earn a badge! Each badge means something different! I checked into to work twice this week, and I am now Mayor of “Phillips County Economic Development Office”
I don’t know all the ins and outs yet, but I am learning! It’s quite fun!
Also an incentive on being a business on foursquare is this you can advertise certain promotions with the app. Like The Third Street Bakery in downtown Phillipsburg, KS does this : If you check into the Bakery 5 times in 7 days, you can get a FREE shake or malt! How neat is that! Go in Monday-Friday for breakfast or dinner and bam you’re a winner!
Foursquare is neat! Check it out sometime! You never know you might find yourself checking in!

Financial Product Sales - Phillips County area

Modern Woodmen of America


Industry:  Insurance Sales – Marketing Banking – Financial Services

Manages Others : No

Job Type :  Finance Insurance Sales

Education :  High School

Experience : None

Relocation Covered :  No

Salary: Commission based

Contact Information: 

Greg Mallett

Phone : 785 234 8600


Description If you are a competitive and driven individual who can overcome adversity and build long-term relationships with almost anyone, then join our team at Modern Woodmen of American and play a pivotal role in helping families realize their financial dreams. We are seeking committed Financial Advisors to offer our customers a diverse portfolio of financial products that will help meet their long and short-term goals. At your disposal you will have tools, financial resources and local as well as home office support to serve the family and small-business market.  Also, through our Fraternalism, you will positively impact families and communities through volunteer and member involvement programs.

If you are an honest, results-oriented person who wants to grow themselves by helping others, then Modern Woodmen of America may be the right place for you to make a difference!

Job Responsibilities
As a Financial Advisor for Modern Woodmen of America, you will work with current or new members to provide them information about the financial services their families could utilize. You will also be responsible for Networking with individuals throughout the community and continuously prospecting in order to secure appointments.

Additional responsibilities for the Financial Advisor include:

  • Participating in mentor-led appointments
  • Asking customers for referrals
  • Engaging in personal observation throughout the community
  • Participating in fraternal activities
  • Continuing your professional education as needed


As a Financial Advisor for Modern Woodmen of America, you must be highly competitive and professional. You must also be an excellent listener with superb verbal, written and interpersonal communication skills. At Modern Woodmen of America, we are seeking someone who values honesty, integrity and tenacity as much as we do.

Additional requirements of the Financial Advisor include:

  • Have at least three years of continuous U.S. residency
  • Be a U.S. citizen or hold a permanent resident visa
  • Read, write and speak English fluently

At Modern Woodmen of America, we recognize how hard our team members work in order to provide our members with the best products and service possible. Therefore, we are pleased to offer our Financial Advisors extensive training, competitive compensation and an excellent benefits package.

Additional benefits available to the Financial Advisor include:

  • Medical & Dental Insurance
  • 401(k) Retirement Planning w/ Company Match
  • Non-contributory retirement plans
  • Group health and dental benefits
  • Group term life insurance benefits
  • Optional group disability insurance benefits
  • Laptop provided
  • Social Security and Medicare taxes paid 
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