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After Rough Year, Clean Energy Jobs on the Upswing  in Kansas

Kansas clean energy jobs declined in 2020’s pandemic-wracked economy, but the second half of the year showed significant recovery amid strong promise for the future.  

Quick Facts

22,572
Jobs in 2020 
-2,336
Clean energy jobs declined for the first time in years, but the industry bounced back strongly in the second half of 2020 
+4%  
Growth of jobs in alternative transportation, the state’s fastest-growing sector in 2020

Clean energy companies employed 22,572 Kansans at the end of 2020, a 9.4 percent drop from 2019 and the first year-to-year decline since Clean Jobs Midwest began tracking Kansas clean energy jobs in 2017. But Kansas’s clean energy sector grew by 5.9 percent in the second half of the year, matching the jobs growth rate in the overall economy. Despite the industry’s overall decline, more than twice as many Kansans worked in clean energy than the number of lawyers, accountants and auditors, web developers, and real estate agents combined.   

Clean Energy Jobs in Kansas

While clean energy suffered like many sectors of the economy in 2020, the prospects for growth are greater than ever given the opportunity for bold climate action at the federal level, along with state leadership.  

The shift to a cleaner economy would create major new opportunities for job seekers throughout the region—including in communities impacted by the ongoing decline of other parts of the energy sector such as coal, oil, and gas. It also promises to create consumer and business savings through energy efficiency and lower-cost renewable energy, which is especially impactful for low- and moderate-income communities, rural communities and communities of color, especially as the economy continues to recover.    

Jobs by Sector

The biggest part of Kansas’s clean energy sector is energy efficiency, accounting for more than 70 percent of the region’s clean energy jobs. But as more automakers and their suppliers continue to shift to electric vehicles, the advanced transportation sector saw a job increase of 4 percent for a total of 1,915 workers.

Among advanced transportation subsectors, hybrid cars and electric vehicles were the state’s bright spots. Hybrid vehicle manufacturing employees grew by 7.1 percent to 909 workers. Electric-vehicle (EV) sector jobs grew by an even healthier 9.6 percent to 469 workers, and are poised for future growth with supportive policies and significant commitments to EVs by major vehicle manufacturers like Ford and GM and their suppliers. The wind energy industry employs 1,959 workers in Kansas. 

Clean energy jobs are found in every corner of Kansas. While big cities like Kansas City (8,066) and Wichita (4,442) are some of the largest hubs for clean energy jobs, more than 30 percent — or more than 6,934 — jobs are located in rural areas. 

Policies Matter

As lawmakers look to rebuild a better, cleaner, more equitable economy, the clean energy sector is a proven and solid foundation on which to build in the Midwest. To keep clean energy jobs growing – and ensure that they’re available to all Americans – Congress must:    

  • Transportation and Grid Modernization— Pass and fund legislation to create a national car-charging network, expand building efficiency improvement, and modernize our electric grid.   
  • Tax Policy—Extend, expand, and improve accessibility of federal tax incentives for energy efficiency, wind, solar, energy storage, and zero-emission vehicles.   
  • Innovation—Make federal Investments in clean energy, vehicle and battery storage, energy efficiency, and regenerative and low-carbon agriculture.   
  • Workforce Training—Better fund existing programs and pass new programs to create new employment opportunities, improve equity, and meet the workforce requirements of a better, cleaner economy.    
  • Clean Energy Finance—Facilitate and leverage privately financed clean energy projects and improve equity.   

Kansas can also expand clean energy jobs by enacting state policies that support renewable energy, energy efficiency and electric vehicles. These policies can help create thousands of new jobs as the post-pandemic recovery kicks into gear. Kansas lawmakers should also include equity, wage, and benefit considerations when they advance clean energy projects and policies. 

Subsector Details

Value Chain

Each category below captures jobs from multiple clean energy sectors and industries. The majority of clean energy jobs in Kansas are in professional services and construction

Job Highlights

60%
Small businesses drive the state’s clean energy sector – in 2020, 60 percent of Kansas’s clean energy businesses employed fewer than 20 people
9%
9 percent of Kansas’s clean energy workers were veterans in 2020 

Find out how many clean energy jobs are in your country or district.

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Unless otherwise stated, the data and analyses presented in this report by Clean Energy Trust and Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) are based on data collected for the 2021 U.S. Energy Employment Report (2021 USEER), produced by the United States Department of Energy (DOE) and collected and analyzed by BW Research Partnership (BWRP) in partnership with the Energy Futures Initiative (EFI) and the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO). For more information on the survey methodology, please visit cleanjobsmidwest.com/about.

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