Category Archives: Kansas

Kansas COVID 19 Booster Not Approved Yet

Reminder: COVID-19 Booster Doses Not Yet Approved
~~Official approval happens AFTER CDC adopts recommendations from FDA and ACIP~~

“The following are the COVID-19 vaccines our health departments are able to administer at this time: Moderna for individuals 18 years and older. Now carrying Pfizer, which is FDA approved for individuals 12 years and older,” Rebecca Johnson, Southeast Kansas Multi Health Department said.  “We are also are able to give an additional dose of Moderna or Pfizer to those individuals who are moderately to severely immunocompromised. We have a limited supply of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for those individuals 18 years and older.

“We also have flu shots available at this time for the public. Mondays are walk-in days. Call for an appointment otherwise. Allen County: (620)365-2191; Anderson County: (785)448-6559; Bourbon County: (620)223-4464; Woodson County: (620)625-2484.”

 

TOPEKA – On Friday, Sept. 17, the first step was completed in COVID-19 vaccine booster shots. However, there are three steps that still need to happen before certain Kansans can receive a booster shot.

What has been approved:

  • Friday, Sept. 17 – The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) voted 18-0 in favor of a Pfizer-BioNTech booster dose for adults aged 65 and over and individuals aged 16 and over at high risk for COVID-19.
    • They did not recommend boosters for all individuals aged 16 and over. The committee had concerns about the lack of robust data, especially safety data in younger populations. They felt that a booster dose would not significantly impact or mitigate the state of the pandemic.

What still needs to happen:

  • FDA authorization of booster dose.
    • The FDA is expected to authorize a booster vaccine for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine early this week.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) Recommendation
    • The ACIP is scheduled to meet on 22 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sept. 23 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. to consider the authorization from the FDA regarding booster doses.
    • The ACIP recommendation will likely provide more specifics as it relates to the length of time after initial series completion, eligible age groups and identified high-risk groups.
  • CDC Director Approval
    • Following the ACIP meeting, the CDC Director will make a final decision to approve, amend or reject the ACIP recommendations. Only this final decision by the CDC Director will allow for providers to begin administering booster doses.

In August 2021, an additional dose of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine was approved for individuals who are moderately or severely immunocompromised. These additional doses are not considered booster doses and remain available.

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Kansas Stories: Humanities Hotline

Head down to Flavortown on September’s Humanities Hotline

Topeka – Humanities Kansas (HK) announces four new stories now available on the Humanities Hotline.

Topics on the toll-free hotline feature unique Kansas stories about Wichita’s Keeper of the Plains sculpture,
podcasting, John Brown, and poetry. The Humanities Hotline is free and available anytime, day or night, to
anyone with a landline or smartphone at 1-888-416-2018. Hotline topics change monthly.

The Humanities Hotline offers a menu of short Kansas stories, both serious and lighthearted, that are
researched and presented by experts from across the state.

This month, the Museum Director and Curator
of the Mid-America All-Indian Museum, Erin Raux, shares the story of Blackbear Bosin, the artist behind
Wichita’s iconic Keeper of the Plains sculpture. David Tamez, Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Lawrence
Talks shares the inspiration for his podcast series Charla de Merienda–or “snack talks.”

Natalie Vondrak
from the Watkins Museum gives us a brief history of legendary Kansan John Brown in preparation for their
new national traveling exhibit, Encountering John Brown.

Danny Caine, poet, and owner of The Raven
Bookstore in Lawrence reads his poem The American Kid West from his new book, Flavortown.

These
hotline selections are available through September 30, 2021.

The Humanities Hotline provides an accessible alternative to today’s Zoom culture and encourages the
people of Kansas to participate in lifelong engagement with the humanities. The hotline was developed as
a way to combat social isolation and bridge the technology divide with stories that could be easily
accessed without the need for internet.

The Humanities Hotline is free and available to all Kansans and can be especially helpful to those without
access to broadband.

Statewide partners include Abilene Public Library, ArtsConnect Topeka, Augusta
Public Library, Clearwater Public Library, Coffey County Library System, Dorothy Bramlage Public Library
in Junction City, Emporia Public Library, Finney County Public Library in Garden City, Garnett Public
Library, Goddard Public Library, Hays Public Library, Lawrence Public Library, Lowell Milken Center for
Unsung Heroes in Fort Scott, Museum of World Treasures in Wichita, Norton Public Library, Ottawa
Library, and Wamego Public Library.

Contact HK if your organization would like to be considered as a
Hotline partner.

Call the Humanities Hotline at 1-888-416-2018. For more information visit humanitieskansas.org.

About Humanities Kansas
Humanities Kansas is an independent nonprofit spearheading a movement of ideas to empower the
people of Kansas to strengthen their communities and democracy. Since 1972, HK’s pioneering
programming, grants, and partnerships have documented and shared stories to spark conversations and
generate insights. Together with statewide partners and supporters, HK inspires all Kansans to draw on
history, literature, ethics, and culture to enrich their lives and to serve the communities and state we all
proudly call home.
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Bourbon County Bridge Replacement Part of KDOT Improvement Program

Governor Laura Kelly Announces Counties to Receive over $7 Million for 13 Bridge Replacement Projects

TOPEKA – Kansas Governor Laura Kelly and Secretary of Transportation Julie Lorenz today announced 13 counties will receive a combined total of $7.5 million through the Kansas Department of Transportation’s Off-System Bridge Improvement Program.

“My administration is committed to improving the overall transportation system in our state, including bridges owned by cities and counties in need of long-overdue repairs,” Governor Kelly said. “We look forward to fostering further partnerships among all levels of government to continue building the kind of robust, responsive infrastructure system that moves people and goods as efficiently as possible across Kansas and boosts our state and local economies.”

In Kansas, there are more than 19,300 locally owned bridges, of which 1,230 are in “poor” condition and an additional 3,844 are either unable to carry legal loads or accommodate modern truck sizes. Off-system bridges are located on roadways not otherwise eligible for federal aid.

State funding for the 13 projects will be enhanced by a minimum 20 percent match from each recipient, resulting in $10.4 million in total local infrastructure improvements. KDOT received 87 applications requesting $46.4 million as part of the Off-System Bridge Improvement Program.

“There is clearly a high demand for transportation infrastructure investments across our state,” Secretary Julie Lorenz said. “By partnering with KDOT, our communities are better able to help local road systems do the job they’re intended to do – like moving people and goods – and thus promote economic development and create more opportunities for growth.”

In addition to this federally required program, KDOT reinstated the Kansas Local Bridge Improvement Program bridge program as part of the Kelly Administration’s 10-year, bipartisan Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Program to assist cities and counties with the local roadway system.

For federal fiscal year 2023, the county, locations and amounts awarded for the Off-System Bridge Improvement Program include:

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KS Receives Eco Devo Recognition

Governor Laura Kelly Announces Kansas Receives National Economic Development Recognition

~ Kansas breaks into Area Development’s Top 20 States for Doing Business recognition~

TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today announced Kansas has received Area Development’s Top 20 States for Doing Business recognition for 2021 – the first time in Kansas history the state has made the Top 20 list.

“Our state’s positive economic development momentum is undeniable, and the rest of the country is taking notice,” Governor Kelly said. “This designation – in addition to our record-breaking economic success, our receipt of Area Development Magazine’s Gold Shovel Award, and being named as the top business climate in the West North Central region of the United States – is further proof our efforts are paying off in a big way.

“My administration will continue rebuilding our economic development tools, fully funding our schools, investing in much-needed infrastructure projects, and expanding high speed internet access to build on the qualities that make Kansas the best state to live and to do business.”

Area Development conducts an annual survey of site consultants and location experts on specific location considerations that matter most in corporate decision-making. States are then ranked in 13 categories, including the overall cost of doing business, business incentive programs, workforce training programs and more.

After winning the coveted Gold Shovel award earlier this year, the Top 20 States for Doing Business accolade further validates Kansas as the best place to do business. Since 2019, Kansas has seen over $6 billion in new business dollars invested in the state, and over 28,000 jobs created.

As the state’s lead economic development agency, the Department of Commerce works to help businesses and communities grow in Kansas. Making it easy and worthwhile for businesses seeking to relocate to Kansas is a key focus for Commerce’s business recruitment teams.

“We have a new way of doing business in Kansas, and we’re getting results,” Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland said. “Kansas has set the standard for growth and recovery in the wake of COVID-19. We’ve applied our proven approach to attracting new businesses, and it’s led to one of the most successful capital investment streaks in the history of our state. This is what happens when an administration is serious about building a strong economy.”

To see the most recent business successes in Kansas, check out the Kansas Department of Commerce website.

Area Development is a leading corporate site selection and facility planning resource. The full report on Area Development’s Top 20 States for Doing Business awards can be found here.

About the Kansas Department of Commerce

As the state’s lead economic development agency, the Kansas Department of Commerce strives to empower individuals, businesses and communities to achieve prosperity in Kansas. Commerce accomplishes its mission by developing relationships with corporations, site location consultants and stakeholders in Kansas, nationwide and worldwide. Our strong partnerships allow us to help create an environment for existing Kansas businesses to grow and foster an innovative, competitive landscape for new businesses.

Emergency Funding For Current COVID19 Surge

Governor Laura Kelly Announces Funding for Frontline Nurses and Care Workers

~$50 Million in Funding Going to Nurse & Care Workers as Strain on Hospitals Continues to Increase~

TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today announced $50 million available for hospitals to either provide premium pay or improve retention of nursing resources and support personnel, approved by the SPARK Executive Committee. This emergency funding will provide immediate support for Kansas hospitals to manage the current COVID-19 surge and address critical shortages in nurse staffing across the state.

Qualified facilities may use the funding for either premium pay as defined in ARPA or for funding a program designed by the facility to improve the retention of nursing resources and support personnel. Premium pay may be distributed by the hospitals to frontline employees in the manner that they believe is most appropriate to ensure retention of critical resources and maintenance of staffed hospital beds.

“Many of our nurses are risking their lives every day to save Kansans from COVID-19 – and the immense strain on our hospitals is causing them to be exhausted and disheartened,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “They’re taking on extra shifts and caring for more patients than they can handle – and it’s our responsibility to give them the support they need.

“Frontline nurses need this funding to continue battling the COVID-19 surge here at home. I sincerely thank all Kansas frontline nurses and health care workers for all they do to protect our communities from the threat of COVID-19. I encourage all Kansans to do their part and get vaccinated immediately – for our health care workers, for our businesses, and for our families.”

The funding can provide frontline nurses and care workers with premium pay by increasing their hourly wages up to $13 per hour. Hospitals can apply for these State Fiscal Recovery Funds and receive funding based on their number of nursing resources, and will have discretion over how to distribute premium pay.

Additionally, hospitals will be allowed to use the funding for alternative purposes to retain staff if it meets compliance with ARPA guidance. Funding in retention programs must be spent on pay and associated benefits of qualified employees.

By October 31, 2021 and for each month thereafter, all Qualified Facilities receiving funding shall report the following to the Office of Recovery and the SPARK Committee:

  1. The number of nurses on a full-time equivalence basis staffing ICU beds and non-ICU beds as of the most recent pay period ending prior to September 15, 2021, broken out by contract nurses and employees.
  2. The number of nurses on a full-time equivalence basis staffing ICU beds and non-ICU beds as of the most recent pay period ending prior to or on October 31, 2021, broken out by contract nurses and employees.
  3. How much of the money received by the Qualified Facility has been earned under the program to date.
  4. The number of weeks the Qualified Facility has had the program in place.
  5. The number of frontline clinical employees and nurses who left the employment of the Qualified Facility during the period from June 1, 2021 to August 31, 2021.
  6. The number of frontline clinical employees and nurses who left the employment of the Qualified Facility during each month from September 1, 2021 to February 28, 2022.
  7. For any terminations of clinical frontline workers and nurses from September 1, 2021 through February 28, 2022, the number of such terminations and the reason given for all voluntary and involuntary terminations.
  8. All current Covid-related policies, such as testing policies, quarantine policies, and vaccine policies, and any changes thereto with the date such changes were announced and implemented.

Julie Glass, a nurse at Newman Regional Hospital in Emporia, posted to the hospital’s Facebook page last month: “It’s come to a point where you not only pray for your family member to not get COVID, but you pray that they don’t have any other illness or medical emergency either because there’s not enough space or staff for them to receive adequate medical care.”

Governor Kelly believes it is imperative to act now and protect the health and safety of our frontline nurses. This funding will ensure that Kansas hospitals are adequately equipped with experienced staff, rural hospitals can keep their doors open, and nurses can appropriately be compensated for their tireless and courageous work throughout this pandemic.

COVID-19 cases continue to rise across Kansas with a daily average of 1,331 new cases from August 30 to September 7 – levels not seen since January 2021. On September 10, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) reported 4,302 new COVID-19 cases since the last update two days prior. Hospitalizations continue to rise, with 612 hospitalized COVID patients as of September 10. This poses a challenge for hospitals to be able to provide surge support staffing and incentivize nurses to stay at their current pay rates.

More information will be provided to eligible Kansas hospitals in the coming days about how to access and properly allocate this funding to their nurses and frontline care workers.

KCC Denies Motions Relating to February’s Polar Vortex by Gas Entity

KCC denies requests based on lack of jurisdiction and legal restrictions, but assures consumers state and federal level investigations continue 

TOPEKA – The Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) issued orders denying two motions filed by the Natural Gas Transportation Customer Coalition (NGTCC) relating to gas prices during February’s winter weather event.

The first motion asked the Commission to subpoena documents from S&P Global Platts Gas Daily relating to its daily price index. While acknowledging the concerns, the Commission order states that jurisdiction to investigate wholesale market manipulation lies with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which has already opened an investigation.

“While NGTCC may raise legitimate concerns, this Commission is simply not the forum for such an investigation. This Commission is focused on the behavior of its jurisdictional utilities and whether they acted reasonably and prudently, under the circumstances. However, if suppliers, traders, or other entities engaged in market manipulation or price gouging within the wholesale market, as NGTCC posits, FERC’s investigation is intended to uncover such actions.”

The second request was that invoices from Kansas Gas Service’s suppliers be made public. In denying that motion, the Commission determined that supplier invoices satisfy the definition of “trade secret” as defined by K.S.A. 60-3320 and are protected as propriety information as set forth by the U.S. Supreme Court and the Kansas Supreme Court. The order notes that giving the public access to the invoices would not aid the Commission in its investigation because the KCC’s Staff, NGTCC, and all other parties to the docket, including the Kansas Attorney General’s Office and the Commission itself, already have full access to the documents. The Attorney General’s office is investigating February’s wholesale gas prices as part of its consumer protection probe.

“Therefore, between Staff, CURB, and the AG, the general public is well represented in this proceeding. NGTCC has not demonstrated that disclosure will benefit the public interest. Conversely, the record demonstrates disclosure of the information as requested in NGTCC’s motions holds great potential to harm current and future Kansas natural gas customers through higher purchased gas costs. A general argument in favor of transparency cannot outweigh this very real harm to customers.”

All regulated Kanas utilities are required to work with the KCC to determine how the February gas prices will be passed on to ratepayers. While Federal and State investigations into the matter continue, the Commissioners emphasized their expectation that Kansas natural gas consumers will be compensated in the future if price gouging or market manipulation is uncovered.

A recording of today’s business meeting can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqpQsXpdarE

The orders are available on the KCC website: http://estar.kcc.ks.gov/estar/ViewFile.aspx?Id=d939fd87-7d2a-493a-9a58-cdb7a4fd9675 http://estar.kcc.ks.gov/estar/ViewFile.aspx?Id=49f602f8-af94-4b45-b495-12c61088ac3b

 

Grant Opportunities for Juvenile Crime Community Prevention

The Kansas Department of Corrections is pleased to announce the release of two new grant opportunities for Juvenile Crime Community Prevention.

These grants will support communities in providing services to youth that are at risk for juvenile delinquency, victimization, and juvenile justice system involvement.

These grants are being made available to both governmental agencies (i.e., counties, judicial districts etc.) as well as community-based agencies and service providers (i.e. non-profits).

Applicants can submit requests for grant funds for both fiscal year 2022 (1/1/22 – 6/30/22) and fiscal year 2023 (7/1/22 – 6/30/23) on these applications.

 

These grants will have two tracts.

  • The first grant application is for Juvenile Crime Community Prevention for Nonspecific Areas of Prevention with a Matching Fund Requirement. Applications can target any area of juvenile crime prevention and is not limited to any specific priority area. This grant will require a $1-for-$1 local or private funds match.
  • The second grant application is for Juvenile Crime Community Prevention while targeting one of four priority areas (i.e., crossover youth, homeless youth, jobs/workforce development for youth, and runaway youth). This grant will not require matching funds.

 

Both grants require the development and implementation of evidence-based juvenile crime prevention programs and practices

 

All applications, including all related documents and completed signatory approval pages, are due October 29, 2021.

 

If you have questions regarding these grants or need assistance please contact either:

 

Kansas Driver’s License Visits Continue on an Appointment-First Basis

Kansas Department of Revenue Reminds Customers of Online Services Available

 

TOPEKA – As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the state, the Kansas Department of Revenue reminds its customers that many of the services provided in its offices can also be completed online. This includes, for many Kansans, renewing driver’s licenses and making tax payments, whether current or delinquent.

“Reminding our customers that these options are available merely reiterates our continued mission to provide services and assistance safely and efficiently, even during a pandemic,” said Secretary of Revenue Mark Burghart.

A complete list of online services is available at ksrevenue.org/onlineservices.

If an office visit is necessary for driver’s license services, KDOR heavily encourages making an appointment. Customers with an appointment receive priority. Information about making an appointment can be found at ksrevenue.org/DOVAppointmentInfo.

Office visits to KDOR Taxpayer Assistance Centers require an appointment. Those appointments can be made by going to kdor.ks.gov/apps/appointmentscheduler.

Kansans Encouraged to Get Flu Shot

Governor Laura Kelly Encourages Kansans to get a Flu Shot

TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly this week, after receiving her flu shot, emphasized the importance of all Kansans getting a flu shot to stay healthy and reduce the strain on Kansas hospitals.

“Increased flu-related visits to the hospital would increase strain on our hospitals, many of which are at critical capacity, or close to it,” Governor Kelly said. “I encourage all Kansans to get a flu shot to protect themselves and their communities from illness.”

Flu Facts:

  • The COVID-19 vaccine does not protect against the flu. Getting both vaccines is important to be fully vaccinated against both viruses.
  • The COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine can be administered together.
  • Flu vaccinations should be received by the end of October, if possible. However, as long as flu viruses are circulating and unexpired flu vaccine is available, flu vaccinations should be given.
  • The flu vaccine has been shown to reduce flu related illnesses, and the risk of serious flu complications that can result in hospitalization or death.
  • The same public health practices that mitigate the spread of COVID-19: mask wearing, physical distancing, avoiding crowds, and washing hands often.

“Last year we learned that the mitigation measures like social distancing, wearing masks and washing your hands helped stop the spread of influenza,” said Lee Norman, M.D., Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. “Kansans should get the flu vaccine and take mitigation measures to protect themselves and their families.”

“The commonsense mitigation efforts are proven to prevent the spread of illness,” Governor Kelly said. “If we all pull together, get vaccinated, and take these practical steps to stay healthy, we can protect the health and safety of our communities and our economy.”

For information on flu prevention and where to find a flu vaccination site near you, visit the Kansas Department of Health and Environment website at www.kdheks.gov/flu.

This photo of Governor Kelly receiving her flu shot is available for media use.

West Nile Virus Confirmed in Shawnee County Horse

MANHATTAN, Kansas — The Kansas Department of Agriculture Division of Animal Health has received notification of a confirmed case of West Nile virus (WNV) in a horse in Shawnee County.

“West Nile virus is a preventable disease, and we know that annual vaccinations have proven highly effective for horses,” said Kansas Animal Health Commissioner Justin Smith. “Unfortunately, the infected animal had not been vaccinated for this virus. We strongly encourage all horse owners to consult with your local veterinarian and make a vaccination plan for your horses.”

WNV is a virus that can infect humans, horses, birds and other species. Horses infected with WNV can have symptoms that range from depression, loss of appetite and fever to severe neurologic signs such as incoordination, weakness, inability to rise, and hypersensitivity to touch or sound. WNV can be fatal in horses. If you see symptoms of WNV in your horse, contact your veterinarian immediately.

The virus is carried and transmitted by mosquitoes; although both horses and humans are susceptible, it is not directly contagious from horse to horse or from horse to human. Horse owners should work diligently to reduce the mosquito populations and their possible breeding areas, including removing stagnant water sources and using mosquito repellents. WNV is a reportable disease in Kansas, which means the law requires any confirmed case must be reported to the KDA Division of Animal Health.

For more information about West Nile virus or other animal disease issues in Kansas, go to the KDA Division of Animal Health website at www.agriculture.ks.gov/AnimalDiseases. Information about WNV risk for humans can be found on the Kansas Department of Health and Environment website at www.kdheks.gov/epi/arboviral_disease.htm.

Governor Updates Drought Emergency, Warnings and Watches for Kansas Counties

 

The Governor’s Drought Team examines conditions; and recommends updates to the Governor

 

Today Governor Kelly approved the updated Drought Declarations for Kansas counties with Executive Order #21-26. The declaration includes 87 out of 105 counties either in a warning or watch status.

“Unfortunately, the majority of the state of Kansas has been considered in a drought or abnormally dry conditions for the past several weeks,” said Governor Kelly. “While we are very fortunate to be in a better situation than many states north and west of us, it doesn’t minimize our dry conditions. I encourage Kansans to be mindful of drought conditions, and work to minimize the threat of fires across the state.”

The drought declaration placed 14 counties into a warning status and 73 into a watch status. This action was recommended by Connie Owen, Director of the Kansas Water Office and Chair of the Governor’s Drought Response Team. Kansas has experienced a wide range of precipitation this year. Some areas have seen equal to or more than its normal rainfall while others, such as northwest, central and south-central counties have received less than 60, 70 or 80 percent of the area’s normal precipitation.

“This year we have been in a better situation regarding drought than we were last summer, however it doesn’t diminish the conditions being experienced throughout most of Kansas now,” said Owen. “The Governor’s Drought Response Team will continue to monitor the situation and make recommendations to the Governor as necessary, as future outlooks call for drought-like conditions to persist into the fall, especially for the northwestern counties.”

This Executive Order shall remain in effect for those counties so identified until rescinded by Executive Order or superseded by a subsequent Executive Order revising the drought stage status of the affected counties. Effective immediately:

  • Declare a Drought Emergency, Warning or Drought Watch for the counties identified below;
  • Authorize and direct all agencies under the jurisdiction of the Governor to implement the appropriate watch or warning level-drought response actions assigned in the Operations Plan of the Governor’s Drought Response Team.

 

The Governor’s Drought Response Team will continue to watch the situation closely and work to minimize the effects the drought has on Kansans.

For more detailed information about current conditions, see the Kansas Climate Summary and Drought Report on the Kansas Water Office website at: www.kwo.ks.gov

County Drought Stage Declarations:

Drought Watch: Atchison, Brown, Butler, Chase, Clark, Clay, Cloud, Comanche, Cowley, Decatur, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Edwards, Ellis, Finney, Ford, Geary, Gove, Graham, Grant, Gray, Greeley, Hamilton, Harvey, Haskell, Hodgeman, Jackson, Jefferson, Jewell, Johnson, Kearny, Kingman, Kiowa, Lane, Leavenworth, Logan, Lyon, Marion, Marshall, Meade, Morris, Morton, Nemaha, Ness, Norton, Ottawa, Pawnee, Phillips, Pottawatomie, Pratt, Reno, Republic, Riley, Rooks, Rush, Saline, Scott, Sedgwick, Seward, Shawnee, Sheridan, Smith, Stafford, Stanton, Stevens, Sumner, Trego, Wabaunsee, Wallace, Washington, Wichita, Wyandotte

Drought Warning: Barber, Barton, Cheyenne, Ellsworth, Harper, Lincoln, McPherson, Mitchell, Osborne, Rawlins, Rice, Russell, Sherman, Thomas

 

KDOC ENROLLS 325 RESIDENTS IN COLLEGE

 

TOPEKA, Kansas. – Classrooms are filling up at the eight Kansas Department of Corrections adult facilities. The department currently has 325 residents enrolled in college and career classes, including CTE (Career Technical Education) programs and associate and four-year degrees.

The Fall 2021 enrollment is an increase of 129 students over the last academic year.

The increase is due in part to Second Chance Pell grants. Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced last fall that seven Kansas colleges had been awarded $2,229,125 million in Pell funding for incarcerated citizens. This was the second round of awards through the U.S. Department of Education, with 67 colleges selected from 180 applicants. Kansas received the highest number of awards in the nation.

Another four Kansas colleges are expected to apply in early 2022 for Second Chance Pell status. In July 2023, a ban – put in place in 1994 under the Violent Crimes Control and Law Enforcement Act – on Pell grants for those who are incarcerated will be lifted, leading to greater opportunities for more residents to enroll.

“Of the 325 residents in KDOC classrooms this fall, 240 are funded through Pell,” said Dr. Cris Fanning, KDOC Education Director. “By leveraging KDOC funds with Pell and other federal funds, KDOC plans to significantly increase market relevant job certifications for returning citizens.”

The classes are taught by professors from Kansas colleges. The Kansas Consortium for Correctional Higher Education, a partnership between KDOC, the Kansas Board of Regents and 11 Kansas higher education institutions, ensures prison programs are of the same quality as those on campus and that certifications and degrees are geared to high-demand occupations.

CTE programs include welding, sustainable/renewable energy, carpentry and electrical skills. Degree programs include associate of applied science, associate of arts in liberal studies and Bachelor of Science in computer information systems. As funding and space within the facilities allow, more programs and degrees will be added.

Special education and Title I services are also offered, and another 134 residents are enrolled in GED programs.

The connection between education and opportunity is well-documented. According to a recent Rand study, for every $1 spent on educating an incarcerated individual, taxpayers save between $4 and $5 in three-year incarceration costs. KDOC research indicates 75% of those entering prison have weak employment and education histories, and 50% of the reincarcerated were unemployed at the time of re-entry

“There is a direct link to education achievement and success after an individual fulfills their sentence and returns to the community,” said Jeff Zmuda, Kansas Secretary of Corrections. “Job readiness programs, transitional planning, private and correctional industry opportunities, mentors, tutors and many other key partners all play a part, but education and training are the foundation.”

Beyond the benefit to the individual, a skilled, ready-to-work workforce is one of our state’s highest needs.

KDOC releases approximately 6,000 individuals each year who return to their home communities. Providing training and education prior to release increases the labor pool for employers, and this in turn directly benefits local and state economies and improves the quality of life for all involved.

KDOC staff also observe that giving residents meaningful, relevant activities such as education and training leads to improved behavior. This is reflected in fewer rules violations and placements in restrictive housing. It also promotes positive engagement with staff and other residents and contributes to improved mental and physical health.

About the Kansas Department of Corrections

Through its strategic plan, Pathway for Success, the Kansas Department of Corrections’ vision, “Transforming Lives for the Safety of All,” is becoming reality by: (1) Investing in Individuals; (2) Creating an Environment for Change and Well-Being; (3) Enhancing and Maximizing Communication; (4) Fostering Dignity and Safety; and (5) Engaging and Strengthening Our Partnerships. In addition, KDOC now benefits from over four decades of scientific research defining the key principles of reducing crime, principles that align with this statutory purpose. The history of KDOC dates back to the founding of Kansas. More recently, the 1973 Kansas Legislature recodified KDOC’s purpose and current law reads, in part, “…rehabilitate, train, treat, educate and prepare persons convicted of felony in this state for entry or reentry into the social and economic system of the community… .”