Kansas businesses are asking state lawmakers for big increases in higher education funding.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports that a group of more than 30 business representatives and advocates asked lawmakers to provide the $50 million increase to state universities that the Kansas Board of Regents requested.

Regents say the lawmakers allocated $588 million to state universities this year.

The vice president for human resources at the tech company Garmin in Olathe said businesses need skilled workers to be competitive.  Laurie Minard said employers struggle to find enough qualified workers and they rely on the state’s higher education system to train future employees.

So far the budget-building committees in the House and Senate have approved bills that would increase higher education spending between $13 million and $18 million.