The sixth and final meeting of the year for the Governor’s Council on Education concluded Dec. 12, with a set of recommendations focused on greater collaboration between businesses, workforce training programs and educators, along with enhanced access to a high-quality education for Kansans of all ages.

The bipartisan group of stakeholders in the education, child welfare, labor, advocacy and the business communities have been working to develop plans to improve Kansas education outcomes from early childhood through post-secondary attainment; enhance workforce development; and stimulate economic growth in Kansas.

“Quality education is vital to the success and well-being of Kansans, and essential to the economy in creating a highly trained workforce,” Gov. Laura Kelly said. “The policy recommendations are an important step toward development of a more effective relationship between educational institutions and businesses. I’m grateful for the work that has been done by this Council over the past months.”

During the meeting, the Early Childhood Team at the Kansas State Department of Education delivered its recommendations to the Council. Following evaluation and deliberation, the Council made its recommendations to the Governor:

• Establish a statewide public-private partnership. This new organization shall be tasked with matching philanthropic and private funds to support community-informed and identified approaches designed to equitably meet the needs of Kansas children and families.

• Designate the Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund to coordinate the Kansas Early Childhood Education Coordinating Council to achieve the vision of universal and equitable access to coordinated high-quality, mixed delivery programs serving children from birth to age 8, and be in accordance with Public Law 110-134.

• Implement a real-world ready, comprehensive policy approach that ensures Kansas students have equitable access to high quality, work-based learning experiences designed to prepare each student for post-secondary and workforce success in high-wage, high-demand and critical-need occupations throughout Kansas.

• Establish a Work-Based Learning Coordinating Council charged with implementing a comprehensive and aligned policy approach focused on identification of “market value assets” or skills and credentials sought by industry; develop and disseminate best practices, guidelines, procedures and protocols for implementation of work-based learning, inclusive of market value assets; identify strategies to address struggles and challenges; and measures progress on key outcomes.

• Establish the Advantage Kansas Coalition, charged with implementing a robust cross-agency strategic plan, intentionally focused on aligning education and training with the workforce/talent needs of business, industry and human services in the top eight sectors. The strategic plan shall chart the course focused on four overarching pillars: talent development, talent fulfillment, economic prosperity and quality of life.