Blog Archives

Strategic Plan Updated for Region

A multi-year strategic planning process that included collaboration among partners and stakeholders has resulted in the completion of the most recent strategic plan for the region.

The plan is formally known as the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, or CEDS for short. A CEDS is updated every five years and is also a prerequisite for Federal designation as an Economic Development District. The NCRPC Economic Development District includes 12 counties in North Central Kansas and 83 member cities.

A 2018 CEDS survey of individuals who live or work in the region indicate there are many positive and unique attributes in North Central Kansas on which to build. The “word cloud” image below represents responses to the following question: What makes North Central Kansas unique? More survey results are included in the 2019 CEDS.

This word cloud visually represents November 2018 survey responses to the following questions: What makes North Central Kansas unique? How can we capitalize on that?

Through the planning process, NCRPC identified five main visions critical to the success of North Central Kansas:

  • Regional Collaboration
  • Economic Prosperity through Innovation
  • Superior Physical Assets
  • Passionate Leadership from Empowered Citizens
  • Exceptional Quality of Place

The NCRPC appreciates the many partners — cities, counties, nonprofit organizations, banks, businesses, educators, current and past board members, and all leaders and citizens — who participated in this process to plan and strategize for a stronger North Central Kansas.

To learn more or to view the latest CEDS, visit

This article appeared in the March 2019 NCRPC Newsletter.

Strategic Planning Survey in Process

The NCRPC is asking those who live or work in North Central Kansas to take a short survey that will help shape the future of the region and the organization. The following 12 counties are included: Clay, Cloud, Dickinson, Ellsworth, Jewell, Lincoln, Marshall, Mitchell, Ottawa, Republic, Saline, and Washington.

The survey is part of a multi-year strategic planning process that is currently underway. The results will help develop a 5-year Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for the region. A CEDS is a locally-based, regionally-driven economic development planning process and document that engages community leaders, private sector partners, and other stakeholders in planning for the future. The CEDS is also a prerequisite for Federal designation as an Economic Development District.

The survey is available online at It will end November 30.

For more information about the CEDS or the strategic planning process, contact Doug McKinney or Emily Benedick at the NCRPC.

This article appeared in the November 2018 NCRPC Newsletter.

Summer Learning Programs an Opportunity to Engage Youth

This column from NCRPC Executive Director Doug McKinney appeared in the July 2017 NCRPC Newsletter. For newsletter archives, click here.

Youth Career Exploration and Leadership Program

Touring AGCO’s Beloit facility was one of the many experiences that participants had during the Career Exploration and Leadership Program in June.

I read recently in the Washington County News that school need not be closed for the summer. Kids can learn all year around, just in different forms in different seasons. Some planned and unique learning has been taking place with youth in Hanover, Linn and Washington this summer with green thumbs being encouraged, talents in the arts explored, and civic concepts raised. Another place where youth are being engaged and challenged is in the Solomon Valley.

Last December the Kansas Department of Education invited school districts and friends to Topeka for a forum featuring Pine Bush, New York, and their approach to career engagement and re-attraction of young persons. Jeff Travis of USD 273, Eric Burks of NCK Tech, Heather Hartman of Mitchell County Community Development and yours truly attended and then pondered the what-ifs upon traveling home. Strategies were developed in subsequent months discussing a pilot summertime career exploration and youth leadership program.

The result was a Career Exploration and Leadership Program available to incoming 7-9th grade students for nine days over the course of three weeks in June. Students learned how communities work, play and survive in rural Kansas. They explored applied agriculture, wildlife biology, food creativity, health care, business technology, graphic design, worldwide advertising, civic leadership, robotics, as well as entrepreneurship. Their heads were not in books or computers, but examining life via microscopes and safety glasses while their hands were all over tools of the various trades they encountered.

This was not a passive program. NCRPC supported this with a small gift from its modest tax credit initiative. Other support came through the school district, technical college and donations such as the local Rotary Club. A big round of applause is well deserved for student guides Cris Adams and Stephanie Litton of USD 273.

Heather Hartman, Mitchell County Community Development Director, says it was a great first year. “I know my measure of success was hearing from several students ‘Wow, I didn’t know I could do this job here,’ and ‘I just figured out what I want to do when I grow up,’ ” Hartman says.

Students are eager to explore and develop their loyalties to place. Costs need not be elaborate. NCRPC is ready and able to help you pilot a similar project in 2018. Let’s engage and try to retain bright young minds and their innovative interests.