Our education community is seeking engagement from industry professionals in the classroom, and our tech leaders need the right talent to fill their skills gaps. The strength of our industry and region rely on solutions that connect these needs.
in emerging tech jobs
Though varied in size and mission, tech companies in Kansas City have one key common trait: they are invested in the growth and success of their local industry, and realize they cannot create and sustain that growth on their own. The KC Tech Council, a collaborative of Kansas City tech companies, was organized to take on that challenge.
The tech sector in Kansas City is growing faster than the national average. But to continue that trajectory, the pool of skilled talent needs to expand. While emerging tech job postings increased by more than 30% in the last year, data shows that more college-educated workers are leaving Kansas City than being drawn to the region.
Members of the KC Tech Council are working to retain local talent and build sustainable talent pipelines through the Kansas City region education system by providing students with real-work experiences, hands-on learning, and accelerated pathways to a credential and career with local employers.
By partnering with 18 public school districts, 30 feeder schools give students the opportunity to participate at Summit Tech Academy and the Missouri Innovation Campus where they can work alongside professionals and gain the technology experience and skills necessary for the high-wage, in-demand jobs that the region has to offer.
We need talent to secure a bright future.
With over 3,700 tech companies in the Kansas City region, and tech firms continuing to hire and create new job opportunities in emerging tech fields, the KC Tech Council was faced with data showing that college graduates continue to look outside of the region for work. The problem? Local job seekers didn’t know the opportunities that existed in their own community.
The solution was to build a system of education programs that exposed students early on to the types of tech careers available, and help those students better understand the skills required to succeed in those careers. Employers partnered with local economic development agencies and workforce development agencies to identify the most pressing talent needs for the region, and create a curriculum that would truly develop a sustainable pipeline, continuing to fill the region’s talent pool over time.
Now, with over 270 businesses engaged in these efforts, and high school counselors helping to educate and advise students on the opportunities available to them, students in the Kansas City region who participate in these programs are finding high-wage careers close to home.
It takes a well-orchestrated village to organize around a shared mission to retain a region’s talent.
School Districts, Universities, and Colleges
- Lee’s Summit School District
- University of Central Missouri
- Metropolitan Community Colleges
- and more, including the 17 other public school districts and 30 feeder schools
Employers and Business Partners
- St. Luke’s Hospitals
- and more…totaling over 270
National and Regional Partners
- ACT- National Research Center for College and University Admissions (NRCCUA),
- Mid America Regional Council
- KC Rising
- Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Council
- Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
- and many more
Outreach. Outreach. Outreach.
The biggest hurdle was getting the message to the students who will thrive in this program that these opportunities were available, and helping the right businesses and workforce organizations understand the opportunities gained by such partnerships. Building a pipeline such as what is thriving in Kansas City doesn’t happen overnight. It takes outreach, planning, and a dedicated team.
The Programs. Are they repeatable?
Two of the programs in Kansas City that are growing each year are Summit Technology Academy and the Missouri Innovation Campus (MIC). These programs work together to revolutionize the way students learn and work, while bridging the gap between skills and workforce demands.
The Missouri Innovation Campus was designed through a collaborative effort of business partners and the local education community with a goal to connect businesses to a trained workforce that has specific skill sets, make students competitive in the marketplace and reduce training costs. The innovative MIC program accelerates the time it takes to earn a college degree, including a three year, year-round paid internship, so participating students are on track to earn a bachelor’s degree with substantial work experience just two years after graduating from high school.
And the state is dedicated to this mission. These programs are funded by tax payer dollars. Besides a rigorous application process, Summit Technology Academy, housed on the MIC grounds, has students working alongside engineering professionals with hands on experience with the technology and skills of Kansas City’s high-wage, high-demand career paths, free of charge.