Topeka Gov. Sam Brownback on Wednesday voiced support for measures aimed at increasing the number of engineering graduates in Kansas.
The initiatives were among the last actions of the 2011 session, which ended last week, and are headed to Brownback’s desk for his consideration.
Brownback was engaged in final negotiations on the measures.
One bill would provide $10.5 million per year from state gambling revenue to be split equally between Kansas University, Kansas State University and Wichita State University. The program would start in 2013, last 10 years, and the funds would have to be matched by nonstate funds from the schools.
Brownback said he was insistent that funding go through the Kansas Department of Commerce. He said that would ensure that the primary focus of the initiative was job creation.
Another bill approved by the Legislature would give Kansas University the authority to issue $65 million in bonds to build a 100,000-square-foot classroom building for the engineering school. This would be built adjacent to a 34,600-square-foot engineering lab currently under construction.
Higher education and industry officials have set a goal of increasing the number of engineering graduates in the state from 875 per year to 1,365 graduates per year by 2021.