Douglas A. Girod, chancellor of the University of Kansas, said regional growth in the Kansas City metropolitan area is hampered by the "lack of a sufficient workforce to meet the needs of our growing economy" in a commentary published in The Kansas City Star.
"Unless we grow the pool of skilled workers, our companies will stall or relocate to regions with more talent."
But higher education faces challenges of its own, Girod said.
"Nationally, college enrollment has declined for 10 straight years and is expected to decline further in the next decade," he wrote. "This is the result of demographic factors — including lower birthrates and larger populations of first-generation and underrepresented minority students, who face unique barriers to education — as well as rising tuition propelled by decreased state investment in public universities."
To meet the region's workforce needs, the business community, government, and higher education must renew their partnership through increased collaboration, more funding for higher education and better marketing of the Kansas City region, Girod wrote.