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PowerUp & Go project asks for help

The partnership designed to keep young people in Kansas needs more young people to interview.

PJ Griekspoor

January 26, 2021

2 Min Read
House and corn field in rural Kansas
SEEKING YOUNG PEOPLE: To meet its goal of interviewing young people in every county in Kansas, the PowerUp & Go project is looking for more people to interview. The goal is to develop a framework to draw young people to live and work in rural Kansas.P.J. Griekspoor

The Kansas PowerUp & Go project is looking for more young Kansans to interview as part of its effort to develop a framework designed to engage, empower, retain and recruit young people in rural Kansas.

The effort, a joint partnership between the lieutenant governor’s Office of Rural Prosperity and the Kansas Sampler Foundation, was announced last July.

“Incentivizing younger Kansans to use their talents here at home will be critical to continuing to build a 21st century economy in our state,” Gov. Laura Kelly said. “Our communities, especially rural ones, will benefit greatly if we can find ways to attract a young workforce and keep our children at home.”

The Kansas Sampler Foundation has been working to support rural communities for almost 30 years. KSF has completed projects in the past focusing on young professionals (ages 21 to 39).

“It is an asset to be young! Why not round up the ideas, energy, talents and vision of this age group?” said Marci Penner, director of KSF. “Instead of ignoring the perspective they bring to our state, let’s capitalize on it. If we can make the state more attractive to the under-40 group, it would make Kansas stronger and better for everyone.”

“Out-migration has shrunk rural communities causing them to decline in size and increase in age,” Lt. Gov. Lynn Rogers said. “Focusing on the needs of young people, especially young professionals, is key to the future of these communities. Our goal with this project is to identify programs, policies and investments that would encourage young people to stay in or move to rural communities in Kansas.”

To date, 316 survey forms have been submitted from 154 cities in 85 counties to the Kansas Sampler Foundation. Although not everyone chooses to be interviewed, Penner has already interviewed 118 young people.

To meet the goal of have representation in PowerUp & Go from every county in the state, Penner is looking for help locating participants. Names and email addresses can be sent to [email protected].

Participants from these counties are needed:

North-central. Dickinson, Lincoln, Rush

Northeast. Geary, Leavenworth, Ottawa, Salina

Southwest. Clark, Comanche, Edwards, Gray, Hodgeman, Kearny, Morton, Pawnee, Stanton, Stevens

South-central. Chase, Harper, Rice, Stafford

Southeast. Bourbon, Chautauqua, Elk, Franklin, Labette, Neosho

Individuals who would like to be interviewed can contact KSF directly. If you are in the 21-to-39 age group and identify as rural, contact the Kansas Sampler Foundation at [email protected]er.org or 620-585-2374.

This article includes information provided by the Kansas Sampler Foundation.

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