Topeka Industry representatives on Wednesday urged legislators to approve a bill that is designed to increase the number of engineering graduates in Kansas.
“If our company is to grow and prosper here in Kansas, we need a steady supply of trained engineers,” said Phil Straub, vice president of aviation engineering with Olathe-based Garmin International.
Straub told the House Appropriations Committee that Garmin has hired 135 engineers from Kansas State University, 129 from Kansas University and 16 from Wichita State.
Under House Bill 2149, the state would allocate casino gambling revenue to increase funding of engineering programs at KU, KSU and Wichita State. The increased funding would total $4 million in 2012 and $7 million each year after that.
The Appropriations Committee took no immediate action on the bill as the Legislature reconvened its 2011 session.
The goal of the bill is to increase the number of engineering graduates in Kansas from 875 per year to 1,365 per year, an increase of 490 per year.
Tom Hilpert, director of advanced design and central engineering at Hawker Beechcraft, said, “A major element of Hawker Beechcraft's decision to remain in Kansas last December was the ability to have a steady stream of world-class engineers.”
The Kansas Senate has already approved the measure.