Gov. Laura Kelly pledged to work with Kansas industries and economic development specialists Monday to craft the first comprehensive blueprint for hastening statewide business growth since the 1980s.
The project coordinated by the Kansas Department of Commerce and the McKinsey consulting firm has the central goal of analyzing the state's economy, outlining a plan for seizing opportunities and shaping implementation a development strategy to advance such economic indicators as population growth, labor participation and gross domestic product.
"It’s been more than 30 years since the state had a formal strategy to accelerate economic development," Kelly said. "The economic challenges facing Kansas require innovative solutions and a well-coordinated approach."
David Toland, secretary of the Department of Commerce, said the "Framework for Growth" project would be the first economic development strategy for Kansas since issuance in 1986 of the Redwood-Krider report, which earned bipartisan support from the legislative and executive branches of state government. The updated report is expected to be finished by March 2020.
"Redwood-Krider was supported by Republicans and Democrats," Toland said in an interview. "It was the North Star for a solid 20 years. We're well overdue to have this conversation about goals."
To be competitive in a global economy, he said, the state should identify and pursue a nimble strategic plan with ambitious goals to guide Kansas for the next decade. The result will help identify success in economic development, the secretary said. It has to be more than an accounting of the number of jobs recruited, he said. The result needs to be real growth of the economic pie, he said.
A steering committee of grassroots economic development professionals and business leaders were selected to work with state officials to guide the planning and development process. An online survey will be used to collect feedback from anyone interested in being part of the project focusing on long-term prosperity of the state.
The work will be divided into three phases of assessment and bench marking, recommendations and best practices, and implementation planning. The Department of Commerce intends to provide progress reports on completion of each phase.
The $800,000 project with the McKinsey consultants will evaluate cornerstones of the Kansas economy, such as agriculture and aviation, along with prospects for expansion of businesses involved in transportation logistics and advanced technology manufacturing. Consultants are to analyze return on investment for all the state's economic incentive programs.
"We've got to lay all that out and have hard numbers," Toland said. "One of the things I really like about having McKinsey is they have no dog in this fight."