Workforce Conference Banner

2018 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Conference

Hosted by the Kansas Department of Commerce, the Kansas Board of Regents and the Kansas Department for Children and Families

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Conference will feature a series of presentations and workshops aimed at enhancing and improving workforce solutions in the State of Kansas.

Building Partnerships to Address the Future of Work

October 8 - 9, 2018

Hyatt Regency Hotel, Wichita, Kansas

$100 for two-day conference, includes breakfast and lunch


Register by September 21


Keynote Speaker

Dr. Michael Wooten
Acting Assistant Secretary & Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Colleges
Department of Education - Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education

Keynote Speaker Dr. Michael Wooten

Conference Schedule at a Glance

Sunday, October 7
4:00 - 7:00pm Registration
Monday, October 8
7:30am Check-In and Registration for Pre-Conference & Conference
8:15 - 11:00am

Office of Civil Rights Compliance Training:
Ensuring Administrative and Physical Accessibility at your Institution

8:15 - 9:00am
(choose one session)
Breakout Session 1: GED Update
Breakout Session 2: KBOR Funding 101
9:15 - 10:00am
(choose one session)

Breakout Session 3: Adult Education Update
Breakout Session 4: Carl Perkins Grant Managers Update
WIOA Board Orientation: What Every Board Member Should Know

10:15 - 11:00am
(choose one session)
General Session: WIOA Funding 101
WIOA Board Orientation: What Every Board Member Should Know
11:00 - 11:30am
(choose one session)
Breakout Session 5: Kansas Council for Workforce Education Association Update
Breakout Session 6: Kansas Adult Education Association Update
Main Conference  
11:00 - 11:30am Visit Exhibitors
11:30 am - 1:15pm Lunch Keynote: Dr. Michael Wooten
1:30 - 2:30pm Panel Presentation: Governor's Education Council
2:45 - 3:45pm Concurrent Breakout Sessions
4:00 - 5:00pm Concurrent Breakout Sessions
5:00 - 6:30pm Exhibitor Reception
Tuesday, October 9
7:30am Check-In and Registration
8:15am Welcome & Panel Introductions
8:30 - 9:30am Panel Presentation: Linking the Talent Pipeline
9:45 - 10:45am Concurrent Breakout Sessions
11:00 - 11:30am Visit Exhibitors
11:30 am - 1:00pm Lunch and Award Presentation
1:15 - 2:15pm Panel Presentation
2:30 - 3:30pm Concurrent Breakout Sessions
3:45 - 5:00pm General Session & Closing

Subject to change

Session Descriptions

Will be updated as more speakers are confirmed


Monday 8:15 - 11:00 | Office of Civil Rights Compliance Training: Ensuring Administrative and Physical Accessibility at Your Institution
Tobias Wood, Kansas Board of Regents; Ray Petty, Great Plains ADA Center; Wendy Coates, Kansas Department of Education
This session illustrates “what RIGHT looks like.” Attendees will receive the Office of Civil Rights On-Site Coordinator’s Manual, which guides institutions through the necessary preparation for an on-site review and covers many areas, including recruitment, admissions and physical accessibility. Postsecondary institutions selected for the desk audit are required to attend this training; however, this session is open to any institution representative wishing to reduce administrative or physical barriers to their CTE programs.

General Conference

Monday 1:30 - 2:30 | Panel Presentation: Governor's Education Council
Moderator: Diane DeBacker, Executive Director of Business and Innovation, Kansas Department of Commerce
Panel members:
Blake Flanders, President and CEO, Kansas Board of Regents
Randy Watson, Commissioner of Education, Kansas State Department of Education
Alan Cobb, President and CEO, Kansas Chamber of Commerce
Ed O’Malley, President and CEO, Kansas Leadership Center

Tuesday 8:30 - 9:30 | Panel Presentation: Linking the Talent Pipeline
Moderator: Keith Lawing, President & CEO, Workforce Alliance
A panel of employers will discuss their perspective on how colleges, adult education and local workforce boards can work together to drive the Kansas economy and serve their industry.

Tuesday 1:15 - 2:15 | Panel Presentation
Moderator: Greg Kindle, President, Wyandotte Economic Development Council
A panel of Wyandotte Economic Development Council members will discuss how public/private partnerships in Wyandotte County were developed to address current and long-term employment needs.

The following breakout sessions have yet to be assigned times
4-year Degree Programs for Workforce Development (Panel Presentation)
Jennifer Pfortmiller, Kansas State University - Global Campus; Joseph Chretien, FHSU; Greg Belcher, PSU
Three Universities have bachelor's degree programs that utilize credits earned in an Associate of Applied Science degree at community or technical colleges. Learn how students who are pursuing or have obtained an AAS degree can save time, money and opportunity costs as they pursue higher education. This is a great option for workforce-ready, highly skilled students with career and technical education backgrounds to earn a bachelor's degree for advancement.

Getting Career Pathways to Work (Panel Presentation)
Eric J. Tincher, Kansas Board of Regents; Chris Stanyer; Sharon Beyer; Allison Stewart
Attend and gain information on a state-wide initiative to get Career Pathways to work for you in your community. This session will provide an interactive panel discussion with experts from adult education, workforce and career/technical education.

Federal Grant Management 101
Laura Leite, Cloud County Community College
Learn the basics of tracking time and effort for federal grant awards, indirect costs, purchasing regulations and SAM registration regulations. Get a general overview of federal grants.

New Campus Development Through Local Partnerships
Dr. Dennis Rittle, Cowley College; Stacy David, Linda Coleman, Jan Grace, Jessica (Sumner Economic & TECT Aerospace)
Fiscal resources seem to be on the decline, while the demand for quality talent is on the rise. The college, county and industry leaders directly involved in the emergence of the new Cowley College Sumner Campus will share their story of the powerful and vital partnerships they forged to address the need of talent, workforce and economic development through a grassroots financial model predicated upon transformative trust.

How to Enhance Knowledge of WIOA Partner Programs
Nancy McCrohan, Public Policy Associates, Inc.; Amanda Ramsey
Learn about the successes and challenges of a statewide training across workforce, education, human services and vocational rehabilitation staff in order to deepen your knowledge of WIOA partner programs. Explore training as a foundation for multi-agency coordination of clients, training and employment plans, how to improve the quality and quantity of referrals and how this can applied toy our own service area.

Wichita Promise MOVE
Sheree Utash, WSU Tech; Shelly Prichard, Wichita Community Foundation
Wichita Promise MOVE is a scholarship program designed to remove the barriers that keep individuals from getting trained in high-demand career fields. The program is available exclusively to people outside of the Wichita area who are willing and able to relocate to the city and start a new career. The scholarship pays tuition and fees for eligible programs at WSU Tech and provides certifications and credentials, personal career coaching and a guaranteed job interview. MOVE will pay relocation expenses, cost of living expenses while recipients are in the program and offer a potential sign-on bonus upon program completion.

The Kansas Vision: Building Our Future Workforce
Joni Clark-Leiker, ESSDACK, Educational Service Center; Jodi Grover
Learn what Kansas is doing to ensure the success of each student. This interactive session examines the Kansas Vision that has an intense focus on individual plans of study, career development and advising and the integration of social emotional character development and employability skills.

The New K-12 Commitment to the Workforce
Dr. Steve Wyckoff, ESSDACK; Dr. Mike Cook
The Kansas Can vision is to help each student discover their individual career interest as well as to renew appreciation for the career choices of all students. This session will provide a brief overview of the program and discuss its implications for schools, businesses and communities. It will help better inform the business world and help businesses understand how they and schools can better partner to prepare the upcoming workforce.

Making OJTs Work for You
Trent Howerton, KS Department of Commerce; Matt McNally
On-the-Job Training (OJT) is one of the most under-utilized services offered by the workforce system. Employers often have reservations about OJTs, and workforce staff sometimes find the service hard to implement. Business members who would like to take advantage of this service will learn the basics of how it works and its dos and don'ts. Workforce professionals will learn tips about how to make the OJT process run smoothly.

Using Innovation to Employ Persons with Disabilities
Tami Allen, Families Together, Inc.; Connie Zienkewicz
Persons with disabilities bring innovative perspectives to the workforce and have skills and experience that can't be found in other population sectors. The Family Employment Awareness Training (FEAT) is designed to raise expectation of employment for persons with disabilities and provide innovative resources and supports to employers. The FEAT training was developed to guide participants to "look outside the job description of a typical job" and learn ways that employment can be structured.

Hire by Trial
Matt McNally, Southeast KASASWORKS, Inc.; Lacie Bohr
WIOA administers a workforce system that is accessible to all job seekers and provides employment-driven job readiness training. Some job seekers require this added exposure to build the needed soft and hard skills that will allow them to move to the next level. This session will share information about "Try-Out Employment" and its benefits for both job seekers and employers in helping to build a pipeline of promising future employees.

Collaboration Stimulates the Pipeline
Terry Gosh, Workforce Alliance/KDOC; Aletra Chaney-Profit, Corey Brock
Presenters will discuss how two entities, Workforce System and Corrections, partnered together, leveraged available resources and developed new, dynamic tools to increase the employment rate of justice-involved individuals with the intent of helping to decrease recidivism.

Registered Apprenticeship
Gary Westerman, Kansas Department of Commerce; Chastity Troxel
Registered Apprenticeship is an employer-driven, "earn while you learn" model that combines on-the-job learning with related technical instruction that increases an apprentice's skill and wage levels. Registered Apprenticeship is a flexible training system that can be customized to meet the needs of every business. Registered apprenticeships are cost effective and time-tested certifications. Upon completion of the program, participants receive an industry issued, nationally recognized credential that certifies occupational proficiency.

Hyatt Regency Wichita Hotel

Hyatt Regency Wichita
Hyatt Regency Wichita | 400 West Waterman | Wichita, Kansas, 67202

Hyatt Regency Wichita
400 W Waterman
Wichita, KS 67202, US

Room Reservations
Book online at
OR call the Hyatt directly at 1-888-421-1442 and mention “Workforce Conference”

Conference Room Rate
$99 plus tax. Rate includes complimentary internet guestroom access, airport shuttle and self-parking. The guestrooms include two queen-sized beds.

The last day to reserve a room within the block is September 17. Cancellation of a room reservation is required 48 hours prior to check-in date to avoid penalties. Guest check out time is 11:00 a.m.

Click here for more information


Become a sponsor for the 2018 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Conference! The conference will bring together a broad spectrum of professionals who are part of the workforce development system. It is an opportunity to share information, network and build partnerships with approximately 400+ attendees. The conference provides an opportunity for your organization to reach these influential professionals and impact workforce development decisions.

>> See Sponsorship Levels

>> Apply for Sponsorship

• September 7, 2018: Sponsor/Exhibitor Application Deadline
• September 14, 2018: Sponsor Information (logo, attendees, etc.) Received

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Conference Committee reserves the right to refuse Exhibitor or Sponsor status to any company or organization.

Sponsor Contact
Adrienne McAlpine, Event Coordinator
Wichita State University Public Policy and Management Center

Call for Presentations

You are invited to submit presentation proposals for the 2018 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Conference. General sessions and break-out sessions can be delivered by an individual, co-presenters, moderated panel or roundtable. Proposals should include presentations on relevant topics for a variety of attendees, including elected officials, government employees, business and industry, university/college/technical education providers, economic development professionals, workforce development professionals and partners and stakeholders in the workforce field.

The 2018 Conference theme is “Building Partnerships to Address the Future of Workforce."

You are encouraged to submit topics that support the conference theme and these tracks:
• Engaging Business Resources
• Developing a Talent Pipeline
• Developing the Future Workforce
• Enhancing Career Pathways

Proposal Details
• General and breakout sessions are one hour in length.
• Lead presenters will be notified late in July 2018.
• Proposals will be reviewed and approved by the Conference Planning Committee. Direct questions to Paula Downs via email at or phone at 316-978-6678.
•Presenters for general and breakout sessions will need to register for the conference, if you plan to attend.  The registration fee is $100.  Registration for the conference allows you full access to all sessions and includes the keynote luncheon, exhibitor social, breakfast, and the awards luncheon.  If you do not plan to attend the conference and just want to present your individual session, you will NOT need to register for the conference, however, you will be UNABLE to attend the conference sessions and participate in the keynote luncheon, exhibitor social, breakfast and the awards luncheon. 

>> Presentation Application

All presentation information should be completed and delivered by the lead presenter. The information submitted, if accepted, will be used in all marketing materials for the conference, including the conference program, website, social media and other materials. Please provide all the information in the application.

Audiovisual Needs and Handouts
Presenters will have access to a laptop, projector and screen during their presentation. Presenters are responsible for their own handouts. An electronic copy of presentations and handouts must be sent to by October 1, 2018 for posting on the website immediately after the conference.

Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Request for Accommodations
Please contact to request a reasonable accommodation for participating in the conference. Please provide the accommodation request by directly contacting Adrienne by September 7, 2018.

Dietary Needs
If you require a special meal, please list your requirements in the question at checkout when you register. Accomodations for special diets cannot be guaranteed after September 21.

Conference Contact
Paula Downs, Professional Development Manager
Wichita State University Public Policy and Management Center
(316) 978-6678

Sponsorship & Event Logistics Contact
Adrienne McAlpine, Events Coordinator
Wichita State University Public Policy and Management Center
(316) 978-6831

KansasWorks Logo

KS Board of Regents Logo