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Home > Economic Development > Wichita Metro Profile > Workforce
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Wichita Metro Workforce Profile

Knowledge & Skill Base

Manufacturing accounts for roughly 18.5% of Wichita metro area employment – over double the national percentage (8.9%.) Much of the Wichita area workforce is accustomed to shift work due to the area's industrial history. Large manufacturers commonly run traditional 3-shift operations or flexible 24-hour schedules. The labor force is highly skilled, in large part due to the high concentration of manufacturing firms in the area using high technology design and production methods. According to a Milken Institute study, Wichita has the highest concentration of aircraft and aircraft parts manufacturing employment (skills) in the nation. Wichita area manufacturers also utilize these precision production skills to produce high value-added products such as industrial-commercial machinery, computer equipment, fabricated metal products, instrumentation and controls, photographic equipment, plastic and composite products, chemicals, petroleum refining equipment and electronic equipment.

Portion of Total Employment in Manufacturing Sector

Wichita, KS 18.2%
Tulsa, OK 11.3%
Dallas, TX 8.7%
National 8.9%
Kansas City, MO-KS 7.5%
Omaha, NE 6.8%
Oklahoma City, OK 5.7%
Des Moines, IA 5.9%
Denver, CO 5.1%
Portion of Total Employment in Mfg Sector - Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, four-county MSA (2011)

The Wichita area workforce has a reputation for productivity and quality as the result of strong training investment. Kansas ranks second in the country in per capita workforce development spending and fourth in the country in gross spending on workforce development. Expansion Management magazine recently ranked Kansas training programs 14th in the nation for ease of access and overall financial value to clients. According to Industry Week magazine (April 2001), Wichita ranks #1 in manufacturing among metro areas with populations under one million, and 13th overall among the top manufacturing cities in the United States. In 2001, Wichita won the Aviation Week Quality Award from Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine.

Wichita Metro Area Educational Attainment

Of metro area residents age 25 and over (394,998 persons), nearly 88% are high school graduates and 27% hold bachelor’s or advanced degrees.

Less Than 9th Grade 4.3%
9th to 12th Grade – No Diploma 8.0%
High School Graduate (Inc. Equivalency) 27.8%
Some College – No Degree 26.0%
Associate Degree 6.9%
Bachelor Degree 18.7%
Graduate or Professional Degree 8.4%

Source: Census Bureau American Community Survey – 2010

Labor Availability

Wichita Metro Area had 2010 population of 623,061 persons. Workforce availability is enhanced by the area's healthy population growth. Metro Area population grew by 51,895 persons (9.1%) from 2000 to 2010. It is a relatively young population with 2010 median age of 35.0 years (national median age 37.2 years.) Sedgwick County (pop. 498,365) is the central county of the MSA (80% of MSA population.) Planning Department county population projection is 582,000 in 2035. The 2011 Wichita metro area civilian labor force was 307,648 persons with an unemployment rate of 8.1%, representing about 24,800 persons.

Approximately 5,200 high school graduates are produced annually in Sedgwick County alone. There are over 36,400 college students in the Wichita metro area (about 16,500 are part-time.) These institutions graduate roughly 2,500 bachelor degrees and 1,900 associate degrees annually.

McConnell Air Force Base borders southeast Wichita. Its presence adds about 2,000 spouses of military personnel to the labor pool. The base also produces about 500 local military discharges annually. These discharged personnel offer excellent technical skills in a wide variety of fields. McConnell's mission is secure (primarily aerial refueling.) In November 2005, recommendations of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) passed into law. BRAC 2005 increased base personnel by approximately 520 positions, making McConnell AFB the largest "super tanker base" in the United States.

Wichita State University's Center for Economic Development & Business Research conducted an extensive 2007 survey of the South Central Kansas regional workforce. It contains extensive data on availability and skills of the Available Labor Pool (ALP) – which includes both currently employed and unemployed persons.

Section Highlights:

The Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC): 

  • Specializes in one-stop project assistance to businesses interested in expanding and locating in the area.
  • Is a public-private partnership that works with companies to maximize the advantages of being in the Wichita area
  • Provides project management that mobilizes all available resources including site information, growth and expansion incentives and other resources as required.
  • Markets the region to targeted industry sectors throughout the world with a focus on the region’s manufacturing excellence, skilled workforce, supplier network, research capacity, skilled training opportunities and operational affordability.


Tim Chase
Sr VP Economic Dev & GWEDC President
Aeroflex Wichita, Inc. Airbus North America Engineering, Inc. Ambassador Hotel Wichita Apex Engineering International, LLC Armstrong Chamberlin AT&T Berry Companies, Inc. BKD, LLPBuilding Trades Council of Central & Western Kansas Butler Community College Capital Enterprises, Inc. Carlos O’Kelly’sCase New HollandCHOOSE Networks, Inc. Clear Channel Media + EntertainmentConco ConstructionCornejo & Sons Coventry Health Care, An Aetna CompanyCox Machine, Inc. Davis-Moore Automotive, Inc. Delta Dental of Kansas, Inc. Dillon Food Stores Dondlinger & Sons Construction Company Inc.Eby Construction Co. Envision, Inc. Friends University GLMV Architecture, Inc. Go Wichita Convention & Visitors Bureau House of SchwanHigh Touch Technologies Hyatt Regency Wichita IBEW L.U. 271 - Electrical Workers IMA, Inc. Johnson ControlsKAKE-TV Kansas Health Foundation Kennedy and Coe, LLC Key Construction, Inc. Law Company Inc. LawKingdon Architecture LDF CompaniesLegacy BankLubrication Engineers, Inc. Martin Pringle Oliver Wallace & Bauer, L.L.P. Metro Courier, Inc. MKEC Engineering Consultants, Inc. Murfin Drilling Company Inc. NCRI -- National Catastrophe Restoration Inc. Newman University Occidental Management, Inc. Pioneer Balloon Company Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 441 Poet Ethanol Products Range Oil Company, Inc. Ritchie Exploration, Inc. Rusty Eck Ford Security 1st Title LLC Slawson Real Estate Company Star Lumber & Supply Co. Inc.TCK - The Trust Company of Kansas TECT Aerospace UCI United Way of the Plains Value PlaceWescon Controls CompanyWichita Area Assn. of Realtors Wichita Area Technical College (WATC) Wichita Business Journal Wichita Community Foundation Wichita Downtown Development Corporation Wichita State UniversityWichita Surgical Specialists, P.A.Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas, Inc.Yingling Aviation