Members of the Northland Education and Business Alliance worked to plan a November Virtual Career Expo during the most recent meeting Sept. 1 held at iWerx Gladstone and via Zoom video conferencing.
A Virtual Career Expo to raise awareness of area career opportunities will be held Nov. 18 by the Northland Education and Business Alliance (NEBA). The event will run from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Using the Zoom Video Communications system, the event will offer 18 45-minute sessions on six career areas. The sessions will include 15-minute presentations and 30-minute question-and-answer periods, and the program will cover health services; industrial and engineering technology; human services; natural resources and agriculture; business, manufacturing and technology; and arts and communications.
NEBA Chair Brian Noller said the event is planned as a way to help students, parents, guardians and educators learn about exciting and high-paying jobs available in Clay and Platte counties. For several years, NEBA has sponsored fall career events and is organizing the Nov. 18 program to continue that success despite COVID-19.
“We want to raise awareness of what is available for today’s students in Clay and Platte County,” Noller said. “These ‘Pathways to Awareness’ are important for people to know so they can make informed choices.”
The programs will be appropriate for students in elementary through high school, their parents/guardians and educators. The sessions will begin at 9 a.m. Information for registration will be shared as soon as it’s available.
Initial planning for the Career Expo began in August and went into full swing during NEBA’s most recent meeting, Sept. 2 at iWerx in Gladstone and via Zoom. During the nearly four-hour meeting, members discussed a wide range of issues that included updates on local education programs.
Dr. Kimberly Beatty, chancellor of Metropolitan Community College (MCC), opened the meeting with a presentation on the dramatic growth experienced by the college at its six campuses: Blue River, Business & Technology, Longview, Maple Woods, Penn Valley and Online. She noted a local change, the new president at MCC-Maple Woods, Dr. Larry Rideaux. Also impacting this area, the Business & Technology Campus now off Front Street just south of the river is being considered for a new location. That campus is heavily used by Northlanders, including NEBA and the EDC.
Dr. Beatty said MCC is working hard to meet new demands in education and career training. “The challenge is that by 2027, 73 percent of the jobs in Kansas City will require a postsecondary credential or degree,” she said. “We must make formidable investments in infrastructure to increase access and equity so that we can meet this.” She also noted dual-credit partnerships with several Northland schools, allowing 11th and 12th grade students to earn college credit while in high school. A pilot program with the Kauffman Foundation is being explored to expand that, initially involving Liberty and Kearney.
The group also discussed challenges faced by all Northland schools opening during the COVID pandemic. Business members cited their issues, with scheduling workers a nearly constant challenge.
Some positive news was also shared. Jerry Hickey, NEBA co-chair and owner of Express Employment Professionals, said that job demand remains high. “There are a lot of people hiring,” he noted. “There’s been a huge demand pickup in jobs.”