Wyandotte County has highest unemployment rate in Kansas

Wyandotte County had the highest unemployment of any county in Kansas in the latest unemployment figures.

In Wyandotte County, a 7.8 percent unemployment rate was recorded for May. That is up from 6.6 percent in April. The May rate is the same as one year ago, 7.8 percent.

The Kansas Department of Labor released the unemployment figures this week.

Kansas City, Kan., had an unemployment rate of 8 percent, the highest of all the large cities in Kansas.

The 7.8 percent unemployed in Wyandotte County represents 5,513 persons, according to KDOL figures.

Sedgwick County, which has a 5.6 percent unemployment rate and includes Wichita, has 13,625 unemployed persons. Johnson County, with a 4.3 percent unemployment rate, has 12,986 unemployed persons, according to KDOL figures.

According to KDOL, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 4.8 percent was about the same as last month, and was down from 5.6 percent a year ago.

State officials said Kansas counted 5,459 persons who entered the labor force as employed in May, as compared to 398 people who entered the labor force as unemployed.

To see the county unemployment rates, visit https://klic.dol.ks.gov/admin/gsipub/htmlarea/uploads/LR%20F%20May2014%20-%20Comparison.pdf.

Job Corps provides hope for youth

by William Crum
So you’re out of work, you’re between the age of 16 to 24 years, a U.S. citizen and you have limited financial resources. Well, there is hope for you. The hope I’m referring to is the Job Corps.

The Job Corps is basically a program for young people between the ages 16 to 24 who have limited financial resources. This is a place where you can learn a trade, such as for example carpentry, cement masonry, dental assistant and nurse assistant.

They even have a single parenting program which offers programs for single parents and their dependent children. This enables students who qualify to participate in the Job Corps program and achieve their goals without having to be separated from their children. They’re open to single parents with one or two children, ranging from 6 months to 6 years of age. While the parents are in classes the children will be cared for in the child development center, staffed by educated teachers who are trained to work with young children. This is one of very few in the nation.

With the building boom that is currently under way in Wyandotte County, this makes it ideal for young people to learn a trade.

“Within the last several months we have seen a lot of calls for people who are trained with the Job Corps from current local employers. A good example of this is Top Master who calls us constantly for people,” Carla Schoenfeld said.

Overall the Job Corps program locally is a success. It is an ideal resource for businesses in the community who need qualified trained people. In Kansas, the Flint Hills Job Corps Center operates from Manhattan, Kan., and there are links to the program through the Workforce Partnership career center office at 552 State Ave. in Kansas City, Kan.

For more information on how to apply for the program, contact Marla Ashmore at 913-279-2639 or 785 770-7303 or email ashmore.marla@jobcorps.org.

Marshalls, PetSmart slated for Wyandotte Plaza; new Price Chopper to open in mid-July

A new Price Chopper building on the east side of Wyandotte Plaza is almost complete. It will include a Starbucks coffee shop. (Staff photo)

by Mary Rupert

Shoppers can expect some new businesses along with new and remodeled buildings for existing businesses when the 230,000-square-foot Wyandotte Plaza redevelopment is completed at 78th and State Avenue.

A new Price Chopper building on the east side of the shopping center is getting ready to open around July 16, and developers have now completed negotiations with some new tenants, said Dave Claflin, director of marketing for RED Legacy, which is handling the redevelopment project.

Claflin confirmed that PetSmart and Marshalls will open in the spring of 2015, on the shopping center’s west side, in the current Price Chopper grocery store building that will be remodeled.

The new 66,000-square-foot Price Chopper building on the east side is almost finished, and the middle section of the existing Wyandotte Plaza building is also almost completed, according to Claflin. Some businesses already have moved into new quarters in the middle section of the shopping center. Also, the new Advance Auto Parts building is completed.

Once the grocery store moves from the west side of the shopping center to the new building on the east side, the existing grocery store space can then be remodeled for Marshalls and PetSmart.

The new Price Chopper store’s sign now has gone up, noting a Starbucks coffee shop inside the store.

Another new tenant, Lufti’s Fried Fish, will open in August, Claflin said.

Some of the other stores and businesses at Wyandotte Plaza include Advance Auto Parts, MeMa’s Old-Fashioned Bakery, Simply Fashion, Sally Beauty Supply, Glam Tresses, City G.E.A.R., Radio Shack, Papa Murphy’s, Hans Jewelers, Dollar Tree, Sherwin Williams, H&R Block, Easy Home Living, and Advance America.

The Wyandotte Plaza shopping center complex also includes a Burger King restaurant and Payless ShoeSource store. The shopping center is more than 50 years old.

Claflin did not have total final cost figures yet for the redevelopment project. However, construction costs were estimated on Unified Government building permits, before construction started, at $4.89 million for the new Price Chopper building; $3 million for the Wyandotte Plaza renovations; and $767,125 for the new Advanced Auto building.

Wyandotte Plaza is undergoing renovations, and some new tenants have already moved in. (Staff photo)

Wyandotte Plaza at 78th and State is undergoing renovations, and some new tenants have already moved in. (Staff photo)