Governor cuts ribbon for LCF career campus

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times
Gov. Laura Kelly cuts a ribbon Tuesday to dedicate the new Lansing Career Campus, which is located on the grounds of the Lansing Correctional Facility.

The Kansas governor said a new career campus at the Lansing Correctional Facility can help reduce recidivism among inmates and also address a workforce shortage in the state.

Gov. Laura Kelly visited the Lansing Correctional Facility on Tuesday for a ribbon cutting for the Lansing Career Campus.

While at the prison, Kelly also had a ceremonial signing of a bill that passed in the Kansas Legislature this year.

House Bill 2401 allows the Kansas Department of Corrections to create a nonprofit entity for fundraising and construction of a new career campus building.

For now, the career campus is operating out of a new modular building at LCF as well as repurposed space next to the prison's minimum security unit, Warden Shannon Meyer said.

Gov. Laura Kelly signs a ceremonial copy of House Bill 2401 during a dedication ceremony Tuesday for the Lansing Career Campus at the Lansing Correctional Facility.

There are plans to eventually build a 4,500-square-foot building on the grounds of the prison's maximum and medium security unit.

Kelly said the creation of the Lansing Career Campus has been a statewide effort.

A coalition of government agencies, education institutions and other organizations has been formed as a public-private partnership for the Lansing Career Campus.

"Together we will continue working together to reduce recidivism, strengthen our economy and build a brighter future for our citizens and our communities," she said.

Jeff Zmuda, secretary of the Kansas Department of Corrections, said the Lansing Correctional Facility has previously offered GED readiness and testing and some certification programs. But the new campus will provide career and technical education and even some college degrees.

He said the program can provide inmates who will be returning to society education and skills to be contributing members of their communities.

Released inmates with jobs that pay livable wages are 1/3 less likely to return to prison, Zmuda said.

Gov. Laura Kelly holds up a signed ceremonial copy of House Bill 2401 during a dedication ceremony Tuesday for the Lansing Career Campus at the Lansing Correctional Facility.

He said the Lansing Career Campus can serve as model that can be used for other facilities operated by the Kansas Department of Corrections.

"This is the start, and there's so much more to come," Lt. Gov. David Toland said.

Toland also serves as the secretary of the Kansas Department of Commerce.

Other speakers during Tuesday's ceremony included Terry Dunn, chairman of KC Common Good, and Joe Reardon, president and CEO of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.

The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and KC Common Good are members of the public-private partnership for the Lansing Career Campus.

This coalition includes the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth.

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