Blog | Office of Rural Prosperity Launches Project for Young Rural Professionals

Office of Rural Prosperity Launches Project for Young Rural Professionals

 Jul 8, 2020 TOPEKA – Lt. Governor Lynn Rogers announced today the Office of Rural Prosperity (ORP) will partner with the Kansas Sampler Foundation to develop a framework designed to engage, empower, retain, and recruit young people in rural Kansas. “Incentivizing younger Kansans to use their talents here at home, will be critical to continuing to build a 21st century economy in our state,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “Our communities, especially rural ones, will benefit greatly if we can find ways to attract a young workforce and keep our children at home.”

The Kansas Sampler Foundation (KSF), led by Executive Director Marci Penner, has been working to support rural communities for almost 30 years. KSF has completed projects in the past focusing on young professionals (21-39 years old). “It is an asset to be young! Why not round up the ideas, energy, talents, and vision of this age group?” said Penner. “Instead of ignoring the perspective they bring to our state, let’s capitalize on it. If we can make the state more attractive to the under-40 group, it would make Kansas stronger and better for everyone.”

The project will consist of collecting core questions through interviews in targeted regions across the state and digital surveys in all 105 counties. KSF will work with existing young professional and leadership groups to widen the base of information. With the help of data from the Kansas Department of Commerce, KSF will focus on diversity of respondents.

“Out-migration has shrunk rural communities causing them to decline in size and increase in age,” said Lt. Governor Lynn Rogers. “Focusing on the needs of young people, especially young professionals, is key to the future of these communities. Our goal with this project is to identify programs, policies, and investments that would encourage young people to stay in or move to rural communities in Kansas.”

For individuals who are 21-39, identify as rural, and would like to be interviewed, please contact the Kansas Sampler Foundation at or 620-585-2374.

—- About The Office of Rural Prosperity ORP is a nonpartisan initiative established in part to ensure that rural Kansas is heard and represented in the Statehouse. ORP is an effort to streamline rural policy, create an inventory of existing resources and initiatives while aiding in rural improvement efforts.

About The Kansas Sampler Foundation KSF is public non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve and sustain rural culture by educating Kansas about Kansas and networking and supporting rural communities. Their goal is to keep every town viable that shows the will and spirit to help itself.