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Kansas Receives Gold Shovel Award

June 11, 2021 by Brock Blasdell

The state of Kansas has been awarded Area Development Magazine’s prestigious Gold Shovel award in recognition of its successful year attracting high-value business investment.

Over $6 billion in new business dollars and more than 26 thousand jobs have been created within the state of Kansas since 2019, a feat which Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly hails as a response to the state’s heavy investment in infrastructure projects.

“This Gold Shovel Award proves that, even in the face of a once-in-a-century pandemic, Kansas can compete and win to recruit jobs and businesses across the globe,” Kelly said. “This award would not have happened without the strategic investments we have made since 2019 including fully funding our schools, starting more than 130 infrastructure projects, and expanding high speed internet access.”

Kelly came into office in 2019, defeating Republican Kris Kobach, and overseeing the investments that would lead to the award.

“Kansas has set the standard for growth and recovery in the wake of COVID-19,” Lt. Gov. and Commerce Secretary David Toland said. “We’ve applied our proven approach to attracting new businesses, and it’s led to one of the most successful capital investment streaks in the history of our state. This is what happens when an administration is serious about building a strong economy.”

Several business projects were proposed by the Kansas Department of Commerce as samples of the high value development the Gold Shovel award idealizes. The two most high-dollar of these are a $403 million investment by Urban Outfitters, a clothing retail company, which has created 1,734 new jobs, and a $600 million investment by Schwan’s Company, a food production and distribution company, which has created 225 new positions.

Amazon, a multinational e-commerce and technology company, also made the list with three new projects opening up in Kansas City, Park City and Shawnee – a combined $180 million investment which is expected to create 1,650 new jobs.

The state of Kansas joins seven other states in receiving the Gold Shovel award for 2021: Texas, North Carolina, Michigan, Arizona, Indiana, Utah and Alabama. It is the only state with under three million people to receive the award this year.

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