My name is Luke Mahin and I am a graduate of Pike Valley HS ’05 and FHSU ’10. After college, I had the opportunity to move back to Courtland, Ks and now I work for JenRus Freelance and I serve as a co-director of Republic County Economic Development or RCED.
Honestly, when I graduated from PVHS I did not know what I wanted do for a career. I just knew I needed to go to college to get a good job someday. Also like many of you, I had no clue what RCED was or what their office did for Republic County.
Basically RCED helps our local economy grow through helping businesses and providing other resources. We provide businesses assistance in Republic County with employment resources, site location, business planning, state and local incentives, loans/grants, and communities in quality of life issues.
One of our jobs is to connect recent graduates to jobs. Many times people will call us (785-374-3047) to find out what jobs are available in Republic County. Other times job seekers visit our website www.republiccountykansas.com/jobs. Our website has around 1,500 visitors a month from over 30+ states and 12 different countries. We update these jobs daily and post them on Facebook and Twitter.
And sometimes we get to work with BIGGER projects, like helping an expanding company like Reinke Manufacturing with resources to build a new 20,000 square foot facility that is bringing 120 jobs to Belleville.
We also assist Republic County communities with quality of life issues like housing and community development projects. One recent project is the Buffalo Apartments with the Pioneer Group Inc. They are developing apartments out of the old Belleville Middle School and building new town-homes behind that property. This will provide market rate, elderly, and low-income apartments.
RCED provides potential residents with a list of rentals and homes available in the area as well as other housing resources.
RCED supports and encourages every Republic County student to pursue a post-secondary degree. Whether that is at a tech/trade, junior college, or university. Earning a degree or mastering a skill or trade is very important in this rapidly changing economy EVEN in rural Republic County. It’s not a bad idea to keep in contact with area business owners that are related to your degree. Sometimes they may provide an internship so you could gain valuable job experience. Which could lead to job offer once you graduate.
If you ever want to become a business owner or start your own business here, we can help you access the resources to do so. We visit with many business owners who are working with us to help them find a younger person to eventually take over their business. Two recent example are the House of Shoes selling to 6th Street Fashions in Belleville and Garman & Son’s selling to M & T Appliance and Electric in Courtland. This allows someone an opportunity as well as retains the service and products they provided to their customers. With the advances in e-commerce via the Internet there are far more opportunities for people to do business in rural Kansas.
Recently we’ve seen many young alumni from the area express an interest in moving back. If you are a recent college graduate and interested in moving back to Republic County you may qualify to receive $15,000 paid to your student loan debt over a 5 year period from the Rural Opportunity Zone Program. For more information or to apply click here. RCED also promotes Republic County through public relations you can listen or read this article which came out this month about Republic County native Kendra ‘Brown’ Short who was interviewed with RCED’s Luke Mahin by Kansas Public Radio and Harvest Public Media.
Best of luck in the future!
Republic County Economic Development