GO Topeka’s Stapleton to create regional cradle-to-career plan

Barbara Stapleton, GO Topeka vice president of workforce and education (Submitted)

Barbara Stapleton, GO Topeka’s leader in workforce and education, was one of 21 people nationwide chosen to study those issues with 20 other professionals throughout the United States.


Stapleton received a Fellowship for Education Attainment from the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, which will allow her to work with other professionals throughout the year.

She has decided to create an action plan focused on cradle-to-career initiatives in Topeka and Shawnee County, a move that fits in with workforce and education focuses in Momentum 2022, Stapleton said.

The challenge of attracting and retaining an educated workforce is an issue raised consistently by area employers, she said. Low unemployment rates contribute to the difficulties.

“I’m really excited about making sure that we are aligning the initiatives that we need to when it comes to our community members, whether they are one year old or 53 years old,” she said, adding that a true cradle-to-career career path will offer multiple options for community members.

“I am thrilled that Barbara’s skill and commitment to her profession are being recognized with this fellowship,” said Matt Pivarnik, president and CEO of the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce and GO Topeka. “What she learns will benefit the entire community. Coupled with the critical nature of cradle-to-career to the success of the Momentum 2022 plan, this opportunity could not have come at a better time.”

Stapleton said the fellowship pays for travel expenses for three meetings during the year, where she can collaborate with other chamber executives, many of whom face the same challenges found in Topeka and Shawnee County.

Sharing of ideas can make a big difference as the community creates its plan.

“It gives us the ability to draw on perspectives versus creating everything all over again,” she said.