Topeka Legislative, higher education and business leaders will unveil a proposal tomorrow aimed at increasing the number of engineers in Kansas.
Kansas Board of Regents Chairman Gary Sherrer said the proposal is seeking "ongoing funding for the engineering programs to grow."
A news conference will be held at 9 a.m. in the Senate chamber.
The demand for engineering graduates at the national and state level has been increasing rapidly, but state revenue problems have been an obstacle in meeting the demand.
"Engineering-intensive industries represent a third of the state's tax base and account for two-thirds of our exports," Kansas University Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said. "Engineering jobs create prosperity, which is why business leaders have called for a 60 percent increase in the number of engineers we train," she said.
In May, KU broke ground on a new 34,600 square-foot engineering building, paid for with more than $14 million in federal dollars and $6.5 million in private funds. The building houses laboratories.
The regents had proposed a plan that called for $5 million annually in state funding to be split between KU, Kansas State and Wichita State to address the state's engineering shortage. Gov. Sam Brownback's proposed budget includes $1 million to the Kansas Department of Commerce to provide a competitive grant to expand engineering.
In 2008, the deans of the state's three engineering schools proposed a 5-year-plan to increase the number of undergraduate degrees in engineering programs from 875 per year to 1,365 per year. The proposal required an increase in funding of $15 million per year, which at the time legislators said was not possible.