Project 17
A Regional Economic Development Initiative

Workforce Aligned with Industry Demand (Workforce AID)

The Kansas Department of Commerce, in partnership with the Kansas Board of Regents, is implementing a pilot project to align workforce training and education with industry opportunities and demands. Workforce AID supports Governor Brownback’s strategic plan for economic development, keeping Kansas businesses competitive and promoting a more robust economy.

Within the Project 17 region, Commerce has partnered with Coffeyville Community College to provide a 6-week course called Fast Industry Ready Skills Training (CCC-FIRST).  The curriculum for the CCC-FIRST program was developed under the guidance of representatives from local industry.  Successful candidates of the CCC-FIRST program will learn soft skills (7 Habits of Highly Effective People); basic computer, English and math skills; and basic manufacturing skills through classroom lecture, field trips and hands-on activities.  Students will receive their National Institute of Manufacturing Skills (NIMS) Level 1 and OSHA 10 certifications upon successful completion of the training.  Regular, on-time attendance is mandatory.

In addition, Coffeyville Community College has partnered to provide a 6-week training program called WELD (Work-ready Engaged Leaders in Demand). Utilizing curriculum developed under the guidance of representatives from local industry, successful candidates of the WELD program learn soft skills (7 habits of Highly Effective People); basic computer, English and math skills; and basic welding skills through classroom lecture, field trips and hands-on activities.  Students receive their American Welders Society (AWS) – Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) Certification and their AWS-Fluxed Cored Arc Welding (FCAW) Certification and OSHA 10 certifications upon successful completion of the training.

Poor attendance in either program negatively impacts successful completion.  Pre-assessment tests and registration with KANSASWORKS is required before enrollment.

For more information, contact Yvonne Hull at Coffeyville Community College at 620-252-7550 or

Neosho County Community College (NCCC) has partnered to provide an 8-week Workforce AID program as a cooperative effort with local industry and the Kansas Department of Commerce to train welders. Workforce AID training projects align workforce shortfalls with industry demand. Students who qualify through KANSASWORKS will receive a scholarship from the Department of Commerce to complete the program.

NCCC’s 8-week training includes welding safety, welding blueprint reading, and gas metal arc welding (MIG). Participants will learn communication and teamwork skills, adaptability, and employability skills; basic safety, measurements, blueprint reading; and MIG welding. Training will consist of classroom lecture, significant welding shop experience, field trips and hands-on activities. At course conclusion, participants will test for a D1.1 welding certification and OSHA 10 certification.

Participants will:  receive hands-on training for a good job that pays up to $16 per hour plus benefits; be prepared in just 8 weeks to step into entry-level jobs; earn 7 college credits toward completion of a Welding program Level I certificate and/or an Associate of Applied Science degree; obtain an opportunity to job shadow and learn what the welding manufacturing environment is really like; and meet the hiring managers of partner companies and see first-hand how to prepare for success at these companies.  Regular, on-time attendance is mandatory.  Pre-assessment tests and registration with KANSASWORKS is required before enrollment.

For more information contact Amy Smith at Neosho County Community College (620) 431-2820 ext. 205 or

Project 17 FREE Kansas Leadership Center Training

There is an exciting FREE leadership training coming to the Project 17 region. We hope that as many citizens as possible will attend and have the opportunity to improve their civic leadership skills. Additionally, a one-day format will ensure you have no overnight stay away from home, and you will not have to be away from your job for multiple days.

This single-day training will introduce people to Project 17 and provide them with the opportunity to get involved. Ron Alexander will be the faculty for the training. He will cover the difference between technical and adaptive challenges and the KLC competencies of Diagnosis Situation, Intervene Skillfully, Energize Others, and Manage Self. The day will focus on why we must work together as a region to make progress while exercising civic leadership. The people who attend these trainings will be able to select areas that they would like to work on to improve the region and will be able to join and learn of already existing efforts. If someone is already involved in Project 17 this training would be an excellent way to enhance their skills and to meet others from across the region.

All training sessions will go from 9:00 AM to approximately 4:00 PM. Dates for these trainings are listed below. The training will be the same in each location. Please register using the link provided for the training date/location most convenient for you.

Project 17 FREE Kansas Leadership Center Training Dates and Locations: 

October 28: Fort Scott Community College, Ellis Family Fine Arts Center
2108 S. Horton, Fort Scott, KS 66701

October 29: Neosho County Community College, Ottawa Campus
900 East Logan St., Ottawa, KS 66067

October 30: Independence Community College West, Woods Family Community Center
2615 West Main St., Independence, KS 67301

To register please visit:

If questions please contact Project 17 Executive Director Heather Morgan at

KANSASWORKS Holding Statewide Virtual Career Fair TODAY, Aug. 14

KANSASWORKS will host a statewide virtual career fair on Thursday, Aug. 14, in conjunction with Convergys Corp., a global leader in relationship management. The company plans to hire 500 home agents this month and up to 800 during the fall to service new client needs.

WHAT: Home agent career fair for Convergys Corp., sponsored by KANSASWORKS.

WHEN/WHERE: The Aug. 14 virtual career fair will have sessions at 10 a.m. and noon available via webinar and conference call. Job seekers can participate in the career fair remotely, or may join from a Workforce Center. Workforce Center locations can be found by visiting and clicking “Contact.”

To view the entire Kansas Department of Commerce news release, please click here.

NCCC to Provide AID Welding Training Program

The Workforce AID (Aligned with Industry Demand) training program, a cooperative effort between Neosho County Community College, local industry, and the Kansas Department of Commerce, will provide 8-week welding training linking participants to potential jobs with industry partners seeking to hire welders.

Entry-level jobs are possible with great companies such as Chanute Manufacturing, B&W Trailer Hitches, Tank Connection, and Renewable Concepts.

Check here for more information! 

Grant Funds Solar Energy System for PSU’s Plaster Center

Thanks to a major grant from Westar Energy, solar panels will provide both energy and education at the Robert W. Plaster Center, now under construction at Pittsburg State University.

Westar announced Thursday that PSU was one of 15 Kansas entities selected for its Solar Photovoltaic Project, done in cooperation with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. The company said the projects will “showcase innovative plans to test the merits of solar energy under Kansas conditions and to educate students and engage the public.”

To view the entire release via Pittsburg State University, please click here.

Garnett Ethanol Plant Expansion into Renewable Diesel Production is Expected to Mean 12 to 15 New Jobs in 2015

GARNETT — An expansion into renewable diesel production is expected to mean 12 to 15 new jobs in 2015 at East Kansas Agri-Energy LLC’s Garnett ethanol plant, the company’s top executive said this week.

The company recently announced its plans to integrate renewable diesel production into its product mix by building a new facility capable of generating 3 million gallons of the hydrocarbon fuel per year, with the ability to double that capacity in the future.

Construction is expected to begin in the next eight to 12 weeks and should take about 12 to 14 months to complete, Jeff Oestmann, East Kansas Agri-Energy’s president and chief executive officer, said.

Check out the complete article here via the Ottawa Herald


Project 17 Quality of Life Video Contest

What is this about?

The QoL video contest is part of a coordinated effort by Project 17 to improve the social and economic health in the region. The intent of this contest is to strengthen a sense of belonging and in particular to encourage young people to stay, work and live in the region. We will be looking for videos that show your personal attachment to the area and communicate to others why living here makes for a satisfying life. For details of the desired video, see the Quality of Life Video Contest Judging Criteria.

Who can enter?

The contest is open to individuals, businesses, clubs, and organizations located in the Project 17 counties. Students and youth organizations are encouraged to enter. Winning entries will be recognized in three categories:

  1. Student K-12,
  2. Student Post-secondary,
  3. Professional/Amateur (non-student).

How do I participate?

To enter, complete the Contest Submission Form and post a video (no longer than five minutes in length) by the deadline. You are encouraged to complete a Contestant Information Form to receive communications regarding the contest and to have access to support during the contest period. The full contest rules can be found here.

When do I need to submit my video?

Your video should be submitted by December 15th, 2014. You can post the video to any site that can be viewed by the judges, but you must provide details of how to access it.

What can I win?

Winners will be chosen in all three categories. A Grand Prize winner will be selected and will receive a 3-D printer to be given to an accredited educational institution within the Project 17 counties. All winners will receive recognition and publicity for their entry, including a press release, a recognition ceremony, and an article in SEK Living magazine.


Pittsburg Experiencing Tourism Increase in 2014

Southeast Kansas Tourism Impacts Local Economy

With Southeast Kansas events like the Shrine Bowl and Four States Farm Show coming up soon, the city of Pittsburg has already seen the biggest tourism year the area has ever experienced, according to Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director B.J. Harris. Harris also says for travel and tourism, 80 cents of every dollar spent in a community gets re-spent.

To view the entire article from Four States Home Page and corresponding video please click here.

Pittsburg Trauma Training Today 7/8

Today in Pittsburg, more than 150 people are joining Project 17 and the NYULMC & KVC Midwest Trauma Training Center to learn about trauma and its effect on children and families. The professional workshop is titled “Creating Trauma Informed Systems in Child Welfare and Mental Health”.

Poverty causes trauma which effects the region. Trauma impacts the productivity of employees and the stability of families.


(Above left: Training attendees. Above right: KVC’s Kelly McCauley helping people understand how trauma effects every person everyday.)

Area Radio Coverage

We made a map that lets you see radio stations in the area. Be sure to click on the links to find out more about the station, or in some cases, to stream live content.