Need for workers isn't unique to one area. Here's a look at the industries with open positions in Shawnee County.

India Yarborough
Topeka Capital-Journal
Employees at the Topeka Workforce Center, like Tom Kilmartin, a program specialist, help to connect employers with job seekers.

Though Topeka's employment level has continued to rise in recent months, many area employers are still struggling to find eligible workers.

More than 3,300 additional people were employed in the Topeka area in June than at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data made available through Wichita State University's Center for Economic Development and Business Research.

But despite such rising employment, more than 4,000 jobs remain unfilled in Shawnee County, according to Cheryl White, the northeast Kansas regional operations manager for KANSASWORKS.

White pulled that figure from KANSASWORKS' website, which connects the state's job seekers with area employers — and she indicated the need for workers isn't unique to a certain field.

"We have a lot of industry sectors listed," she said. "It's anything from professional positions to entry-level positions, skilled trades, general labor, warehouse."

Cheryl White, regional operations manager at the Topeka Workforce Center, 1430 S.W. Topeka Blvd., on Tuesday afternoon works alongside Shauna Downing, workforce services supervisor.

Distribution centers, schools, food-service industry looking for workers

Shauna Downing, workforce services supervisor for the Topeka Workforce Center, said the employers that have been reaching out to her center lately looking for new hires include distribution centers, fast-food places, "some of your smaller organizations like your mom-and-pop shops," as well as nursing homes, hospitals and schools.

"It's a little bit of everything," Downing said, "because even within the schools, it's everything from teachers to HR people to (paraprofessionals) to food service to bus drivers."

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And at the moment, she said, the workforce center is seeing more employers reaching out to the organization than people looking for work.

Health care facilities in need of nurses

According to labor market data published by the Kansas Department of Labor, "registered nurse" was the occupation with the highest number of job openings being advertised online Monday, with close to 4,000 registered nurses needed statewide and almost 250 RN openings in Shawnee County alone.

Other top-advertised positions in Shawnee County, according to KDOL, include nursing assistants, licensed practical and vocational nurses, retail salespersons and customer service representatives.

Chazz Hernandez, right, uses the computers and resources available at Topeka Workforce Center.

Workforce agencies ready to assist job seekers

According to White, KANSASWORKS is ready to connect job seekers with positions that may be a good fit.

"We're anxiously awaiting, and we're ready to be available to serve people who need help," White said. "Probably the most requested service is help with resumes, creating their resumes."

But, she added, KANSASWORKS — through its partner agencies like the Topeka Workforce Center — are also adept at helping folks with general online job searches.

"Sometimes people struggle with online applications," White said, "and we have experienced workforce specialists here that are very, very familiar with all the company websites in Shawnee County."

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Job fairs, hiring events coming up

KANSASWORKS is also hosting a virtual statewide job fair Sept. 29-30, and both employers and job seekers are encouraged to register in advance, White said. They may do so at, and there is no cost to participate.

Likewise, Downing said, the Topeka Workforce Center hosts small hiring events at its headquarters, 1430 S.W. Topeka Blvd., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday. The center also partners with private employers to host job fairs, and it continues to serve many job seekers virtually, Downing said.

Mike Harold, front desk receptionist at Topeka Workforce Center, is one of the first people you'll be greeted by when stopping by to use the resources and training offered.

The workforce center is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and may be reached by phone at 785-235-5627. The center does require customers to wear masks on site.

According to Downing, her staff at the workforce center has also been talking about what may happen when enhanced federal unemployment benefits being administered to some Kansans expire Sept. 4. Whether the end of such benefits will result in a greater number of people searching for jobs in the area remains to be seen.

"We've talked about it as a staff and have asked them to be ready," Downing said. "We're all sitting on pins and needles here. ... It's going to be interesting to see what that Sept. 4 date brings."