Kansas Apprentices Thrive in Award-Winning Rural Program

By Trish Svoboda

Three apprentices recently recruited by two firms had the opportunity to earn while learning through the Kansas Farm Bureau’s award-winning Rural Kansas Apprenticeship Program (RKAP). South Bend Industrial Hemp employed Joseph Rogers and Kaidence Sanchez as operators at their Great Bend facility through this program. Rogers appreciates the educational benefits that come with the apprenticeship.

Camron Hicks, the second apprentice recruited via the RKAP at Mid-Kansas Cooperative (MKC) in Moundridge, is undergoing operations specialist training at MKC’s Canton site. Hicks aspires to explore Kansas, gain knowledge about grain elevators, and envisions a promising career through his apprenticeship.

RKAP assists businesses such as South Bend Industrial Hemp and MKC in creating apprenticeship programs that comply with both state and federal regulations, while also being customized for particular roles. In addition to the responsibilities of an apprentice’s job, these programs incorporate educational and training elements, along with a planned wage increase schedule. “The goal is to create trained and skilled workers for companies operating in rural Kansas,” says Kylee Stout, KFB business development manager. “RKAP helps employers manage the paperwork of an apprenticeship while giving them the ability to create pathways for workers to acquire practical skills that lead to well-paying jobs.”

Besides the operations specialist position, MKC also offers apprenticeships for roles such as agricultural equipment operators and CDL drivers.

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