Location is everything. Cloud County is fortunate to be located at least in part, in the Northwestern quadrant of the state. With this distinction comes the reward of being one of the counties served by the Dane G. Hansen Foundation.
Any kid who has grown up in our neck of the woods is aware that his foundation gives some of the largest scholarships in the
state. With the recent annual giving to community foundations, we are even more aware of Hansen Foundation. Most won’t know that Dane G. Hansen was one of the most successful entrepreneurs of his time. With that in mind, it is only natural that the foundation expanded into economic development with their newly formed Northwest Kansas Economic Innovation Center.
This organization was started a little over a year ago, and hired one of my economic development colleagues, Scott Sproul, from Norton. Sproul has spent the majority of his career in economic and community development in Northwest Kansas and is no stranger to the obstacles we face. He spends much of his time thinking about how we attract our kids back to northwest Kansas.
One of the solutions Sproul has thought about is to create a pipeline of high school and college graduates from the region. Think of it as a more sophisticated alumni program. In this pipeline, information is captured on the student after they leave for college such as their major and work experience. The information is then used to target individuals based on their interest and experience. If an automotive shop comes up for sale, then someone like me can scan the database to see if there are any graduates from our county or the surrounding counties who have an automotive background. We will also have the ability to recruit for jobs this way. The pipeline would also allow for a Concordia graduate sitting in Kansas City to scan through opportunities close to home.
The pipeline idea is an excellent start for this new organization and can help us all solve our communication problem with our graduates.