Salina, KS— Thanks to a brand-new, one-of-a-kind scholarship opportunity at Kansas State University Salina Aerospace and Technology Campus, the Great Plains Manufacturing Scholars Program will allow engineering technology students to gain real-world experience and save money on their education.

K-State Salina and Salina-based Great Plains Manufacturing Inc. have created the Great Plains Manufacturing Scholars Program that allows students to apprentice part time alongside industry professionals, learn new skills and earn a scholarship and wages while helping Great Plains meet an immediate need for qualified team members.

K-State Salina’s new Great Plains Manufacturing Scholars Program provides learning opportunities in basic manufacturing, advanced manufacturing, advanced robotics programming and engineering design. The program is designed for students earning a bachelor’s degree in engineering technology programs at the K-State Salina campus.

Each participating scholar will receive an annual scholarship of up to $9,900 per year, covering 85% or more of the in-state tuition rate. With year-round course options, freshmen students earn their degree in three years while working up to 20 hours per week at Great Plains Manufacturing. They also obtain on-the-job training, which may count toward some academic credits. This scholarship will allow students to gain over 2,400 hours of relevant professional experience.

“The Great Plains Scholars Program is one of the ways that Kansas State University as a whole is defining how next-generation land-grant universities can be accessible,” said Alysia Starkey, K-State Salina CEO and dean. “With our 2030 initiatives to reduce student debt by 50%, this program will help many students earn their degrees with little to no student debt while receiving a quality education.”

The Great Plain Manufacturing Scholars Program enhances the educational experience at K-State Salina with real-world, industry-specific training and helps graduates transition to a full-time career faster. In addition, the program supports industry and the next-generation workforce by providing relevant skills to the workforce of today and the future — ultimately strengthening economic development in Kansas and the region.

The program will be available to students beginning their freshmen year and will expand to 36 students over the next four years. After acceptance into the program, students will begin work in line assembly, advance to robotic weld automation centers and finish in a design, supervisory or troubleshooting role.

“The Great Plains Manufacturing Scholars Program is a great way to leverage the talents and skills of K-State students and provide them valuable professional experience,” said David Disberger, Great Plains Manufacturing executive vice president and K-State Salina Dean’s Advisory Council member. “As a result, we will grow our workforce with students who have a strong manufacturing-technology focus.”

Students who complete the Great Plains Manufacturing Scholars Program will have opportunities for careers in engineering, procurement, manufacturing, information technology or environment, health and safety. More information on the program can be found at


Great Plains Manufacturing, founded in 1976, employs over 2,000 people worldwide. It encompasses five divisions: Great Plains Ag, which manufactures soil management and seed placement equipment, and other farm implements; Land Pride, which manufactures grounds maintenance tools such as mowers, rototillers, rotary cutters, dirt-working equipment, and construction equipment attachments; Great Plains International, which sells the company’s products worldwide; Great Plains Trucking, which operates a nationwide fleet of flatbed trucks; and Great Plains CE Division, which manufactures powered equipment for the construction industry. A subsidiary of Kubota, the company is headquartered in Salina, Kansas.