by Kristin Brighton on August 19, 2019

New Boston Creative Group recently published the results of a research project we conducted in partnership with the Kansas State Department of Education. As part of a state-wide survey, nearly 19,000 Kansas parents told us how they feel about the educational choices and career options awaiting their child after high school. 

We’re so excited to share this data with the world!

This study is the backbone of a marketing campaign we at NBCG have been working on for more than a year to excite and inspire parents to consider all the options their child has after high school — everything from apprenticeships to technical training to a college or university. This campaign is called HirePaths. The Kansas economy depends on a labor force with technical skills and talents, and there are many ways to get trained for the jobs we need today and in the future. 

Per the advice of many leading human resource professionals in our state, parents are the focus of this campaign because they are the greatest influences on a child’s life. The solid information (or lack thereof) families give their child as they decide their future after high school often dictates what path the child chooses. 

Over the past year, we’ve met with major employers in a multi-state area across many industries (aviation, agriculture, manufacturing, health care, construction), learning about their biggest fear that soon we won’t have enough skilled workers to fill their jobs. If this situation isn’t reversed, our lack of skilled workers will have catastrophic implications for the Midwest economy. Employers will head for states with a better hiring pool of skilled workers, and that’s a terrible scenario for us to face.

We think this data confirms their expectations and offers some surprises. The data shows that nearly 63% of Kansas parents hope their child attends a four-year college, and nearly 90% would be pleased if their child did. That’s about what we expected.

But it also shows that many parents are still unsure about options like apprenticeships and tech colleges — although they’re willing to consider them. A case in point: when asked to rank their options, in addition to the 63% whose first choice for their child is a four-year college, only 8% ranked a tech college as their first choice. 

However, when asked later if they’d be happy if their child attended a tech college, nearly 70% said they would be happy or very happy. This tells us there’s room in many Kansas homes for deeper discussions about kids’ futures. This campaign will help us determine the best strategies for parents to initiate those talks. 

The goal of this study was to create a baseline measurement about what parents believe is the best path for their child after high school. Once the campaign is underway, we plan to repeat the research to see if we’ve impacted people’s perceptions. 

If you’d like to learn more about HirePaths, this survey of parents, or how your business or organization can get involved with this endeavor, please reach out to me directly at or 785-587-8185.

View Survey Results