In Wichita, Kan., more people are moving out of the city than moving in. In response, WSU Tech — formerly Wichita Area Technical College — has a new benefit to encourage people to relocate to advance their education and gain workforce skills.
Wichita Promise MOVE builds on the current Wichita Promise Scholarship program. It covers tuition and fees for eligible programs at WSU Tech, but MOVE scholarships are specifically aimed at people outside of the Wichita area who are willing and able to relocate to start a new career. The MOVE scholarship pays relocation expenses, cost-of-living expenses and offers a potential sign-on bonus for students who successfully complete a program. Students working toward certifications and credentials get personal career coaching and a guaranteed job interview, too.
The program was created with the help of the Wichita Community Foundation (WCF), which invested $500,000 to launch MOVE. For WCF, it’s part of a $1 million investment to kickstart the Talent Ecosystem Fund, which is aimed at addressing workforce issues, talent development and lifelong learning. Others are taking notice of MOVE, too. Recently, Emily Bonavia of Bonavia Industries donated $80,000 worth of furnished apartments for students to use.
MOVE is starting small: this fall, only people enrolling to become an aviation sheet metal mechanic will be eligible for the MOVE scholarship. It may expand, though, to cover the same certificate programs that the original Wichita Promise Scholarship program covers: CNC operator, composite fabrication, practical nurse, surgical technology and dental assistant.