Connect with us

Local News

Pandemic causes career problems for some Kansans; spurs career change for others



WICHITA, Kan. – Is Kansas facing a worker shortage or are workers just deciding to do something else for a living? The answer to that question could determine what services and products you’ll be able to find for the next couple of years.

You’ve been seeing one answer in headlines for a while now. But some Kansans say it’s really about finding a new level of self-satisfaction, at work as well as at home.

“As we’ve all realized this whole year, life is too short to be in something you don’t enjoy doing every day,” said Lindsay Mills.

She’s one of thousands of Kansans re-thinking life choices after going through the pandemic. At the age of 30 she’s going back to school to become a nurse after seeing the desperate need for health care providers this last year.

“If something, God forbid, happens again like this or if we’re still dealing with this a few years from now, I’ll be able to help patients,” she said.

For Kansans like Mills, making a career change is about a life choice that’s more fulfilling. But Wichita State employment forecaster Jeremy Hill says for others it’s about finding any job at all.

“You’ve got to think about, we’ve destroyed jobs, particularly in the size of economy of Wichita or Kansas,” said Hill.

He adds that many high skilled laborers simply can’t go back to the jobs they had and will end up either re-training for another industry or moving to jobs they can get in other parts of the country. Something he says will take years.

That’s where the stimulus money comes in.

“Firms say, ‘I would sell more if I had more labor.’ But you have this supply issue where households have cash and they can skirt by a little bit because they have savings to do it,” Hill said.

Having taken the plunge herself, Mills now encourages others to do the same.

“Just go and do that. Get that degree. Get that training that moves you to the next level, to what you really want to do. Because life is short, as we’ve all realized through this whole year,” she said.