ELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times
Good economic development news has been spreading through Kansas for several months, and recently, another announcement from the State of Kansas gave more good news.
Wednesday, Gov. Laura Kelly announced Kansas has topped $3.5 billion business dollars invested in Kansas in 2021 at Integra Technologies Inc., a manufacturing service provider based in Wichita, a release from the State of Kansas noted. This newly announced $3.5 billion is more than $1 billion more than the previous record-breaking $2.5 billion secured in 2020, making 2021 the most successful economic development year in Kansas history.
“This announcement is more proof that, despite the challenges over the last two years, business is booming in Kansas,” Gov. Kelly noted in the State of Kansas release. “It’s not rocket science, businesses want to be in communities that are growing and attracting families. We will continue building on this success by staying laser focused on the issues that Kansans elected us to take care of – like fully funding our public schools, strengthening our roads, bridges, and high-speed internet, and protecting access to health care. In 2021, the Kelly Administration has successfully closed 312 economic development projects representing more than $3.69 billion in investments made by the private sector. More than 12,000 jobs have also been created or retained this calendar year. Since January 2019, more than $7.5 billion new business dollars have been invested in the state of Kansas, with nearly 40,000 jobs created or retained.”
“The dynamics of disruption in our economy are very real,” Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland noted in the State of Kansas release. “Yet from the beginning Governor Kelly’s economic development team has worked day and night to create opportunities for Kansans in these unprecedented times. We are proud of these historic investment and job numbers, but nowhere close to satisfied. Project successes since Gov. Kelly took office have included a vast array of industries and sectors: Advanced Manufacturing, Aerospace, Food Manufacturing/Agriculture, Logistics/Distribution/Transportation, Professional and Technical Services and more, with announcements in every part of the state from companies locating or expanding in Kansas.”
Wednesday’s announcement comes amid numerous economic development project wins and related accolades this year for the Kelly Administration, including Kansas’ receipt of Area Development magazine’s coveted Gold Shovel award, which recognize states for attracting high-value investment projects that create a significant number of new jobs in their communities, back in June.
“This Gold Shovel Award proves that even in the face of a once-in-a-century pandemic, Kansas can compete and win to recruit jobs and businesses across the globe,” Gov. Kelly noted in a June release from the State of Kansas. “This award would not have happened without the strategic investments we have made since 2019 including fully funding our schools, starting more than 130 infrastructure projects, and expanding high speed internet access – because business development is not possible without a strong foundation. In addition to the Gold Shovel Award, last year we broke the record for new business dollars invested in Kansas, and we are poised to break that record again in 2021. As the state’s lead economic development agency, the Department of Commerce works to help businesses and communities grow in Kansas. All business successes submitted for the Gold Shovel Award were supported by Commerce’s business recruitment team.”
In June, the State of Kansas also announced throughout Gov. Kelly’s term so far, more than $6 billion new business dollars have been invested in the state of Kansas, leading to much in the way of job creation.
“This administration has prioritized rebuilding our state’s economic foundation and supporting services that make Kansas a place where families and businesses want to be – our continued success is proof those efforts are paying off,” Gov. Kelly noted in a June 29 State of Kansas release. “For the third year in a row, we fully funded our schools, we’ve expanded access to broadband to thousands of families and businesses, and more than 130 long-overdue road and bridge projects have been greenlit. These actions, along with the Department of Commerce’s recruitment work, have shown prospective companies why Kansas is a premiere business destination. As we once again approach record-breaking business investment in 2021, my team will harness this momentum to create jobs and support businesses that choose to locate to or expand in our state.”
In September, Kansas also 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,” Gov. Kelly noted in a September release from the State of Kansas. “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.”