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Employers Invited to Participate in Rural Opportunity Zone Program

Dept CommerceIf you are an employer considering how you can recruit workforce to your organization, the Rural Opportunity Zone program is an option for Russell County employers.

The program offers a match from the Kansas Department of Commerce of up to $7,500 and you as the employer at $7,500 for a total of $15,000 for an employee's student loan repayment. This payment is made over a period of five years as long as the employee moves to Russell County and stays in Russell County for that five year period.

Below is information on how an employer opts into the program. For additional information please contact Rachéll Rowand from Kansas Commerce at 785-296-3345.

The employees will need to apply for the program here: https://www.kansascommerce.gov/programs-services/community-development-assistance/rural-opportunity-zones/student-loan-repayment-application/.

And employers will need to approve their employee sponsorship here: https://www.kansascommerce.gov/programs-services/community-development-assistance/rural-opportunity-zones/employer-sponsorship-form-page/.

The first approval for employee sponsorship will be a little lengthy, but every one after that is much shorter. When you answer the "Have you sponsored a ROZ participant before?" question with false, it will expand the confirmation form to get you registered as a qualifying entity. After that, you just answer false and provide the employee's ROZ ID, which they get when they apply, their name so Kansas Commerce can be sure the ID is correct, your company name and confirm that you understand that you are entering a five year contract with the employee and the State of Kansas to provide this benefit as long as the employee stays employed with you. Max benefit is $1,500 a year totaling $7,500 from the company and $1,500 a year totaling $7,500 from the state.

The employee should apply for ROZ and get their ROZ ID before you send in the sponsorship approval. This helps their system connect the application to the sponsor and allows them to ask the employer less questions on the confirmation form.

(Information courtesy Kansas Department of Commerce.)

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