Department of Commerce announces $30 Million in New Workforce Grant Programs

TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Commerce today announced $30 million will be made available under the Aviation Learning Opportunities & Funded Training (ALOFT) and Delivering Residents and Workforce (DRAW) grant programs. The ALOFT program will provide $20 million in funding for training development and expansions requiring new job opportunities in the aviation and aerospace industry. The DRAW program will provide $10 million in funding for training development for high demand employers, such as healthcare, education, technology-based, and entities working with persons with disabilities. A priority for the DRAW program is to increase new residents from out-of-state.

The funds were designated by the Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas (SPARK) Executive Committee and approved by the State Finance Council in December.

“The state’s unprecedented surge in new economic opportunities for businesses is creating next-generation jobs and careers for Kansans,” Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “These new funding sources will allow targeted investments in people that align with the needs of Kansas companies, while also growing our talented workforce by attracting more people to the state.”

ALOFT applications can include construction costs for on-site training facilities, vendor training on machinery and equipment, supervisor and management salaries directly related to training, marketing and activities to encourage youth participation in aviation and aerospace careers, and participation costs in the Kansas Registered Apprenticeship and Workforce AID programs. Awardees will have two years to complete their projects and utilize all awarded funds.

Eligible ALOFT applicants include:

  • Aviation and aerospace manufacturers
  • Supply chain manufacturers that provide services, equipment and manufacturing for eligible aviation and aerospace manufacturers
  • Locally and city-owned airports.

DRAW applications can include construction of on-site training facilities, vendor training costs, machinery and equipment used solely for training, course development costs, and marketing and attraction costs to attract talent to Kansas. Awardees will have two years to complete their projects and utilize all awarded funds.

Eligible DRAW applicants include:

  • Mobile workforce training providers
  • Healthcare providers
  • Education providers
  • Technology-based businesses
  • Employers working with the blind, visually, or hearing impaired, or persons with disabilities
  • Employers hiring for positions determined as “high demand and high wage” from the Kansas Department of Labor.

The ALOFT and DRAW grant applications both open at 2:00 p.m. today, with submissions closing at 11:59 p.m. Monday, April 24, for both programs.

Informational webinars will be available to the public, with ALOFT’s webinar beginning at 10:00 a.m. Thursday, March 16, and DRAW’s webinar beginning at 10:00 a.m. Friday, March 17. Registration for the webinars and guidelines for the grant applications can be found at and

Applicants can contact for any questions regarding this funding opportunity.

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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