Connecting Manufacturing and Education
By Victoria Ogier
In June, the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) published a report on Manufacturing in the KC Metro. According to the report, the KC manufacturing industry has more than 76,000 jobs and is expected to grow by more than 5 percent over the next 10 years. MARC convened a group of educators and manufacturing industry leaders to discuss the importance of improving programs to encourage students to be prepared for careers in manufacturing. The group visited Holland 1916, Ingredion and The Roasterie to understand the growing technical skill needs of manufacturers and discussed education initiatives that are working to prepare students for demand-driven careers.
A roundtable discussion at the conclusion of the event resulted in in almost 40 ideas that would enable schools and manufacturers to better connect and strengthen programs and create a more skilled labor force for Kansas City manufacturing. MARC will continue to work with partners to advance these ideas and continue to improve workforce development programs as part of a $1.8 million KC Jobs Accelerator grant program. Some of the ideas included:
- Hosting competition-based activities involving STEM students.
- Using technology to educate and engage students about manufacturing opportunities.
- Strengthening problem-based learning and hands-on experiences in classrooms.
- Increasing exposure to manufacturing and training opportunities for teachers and parents.
- Providing more career exploration tours and experiences.
- Improving soft skills development.
Key partners included in the manufacturing initiative include PREP-KC, KC STEM Alliance, Workforce Partnership, North Kansas City Business Council, Mid-America Manufacturing Technology Center, Kansas City Kansas Community College, Wyandotte Economic Development Council, Holland 1916, Ingredion, Lee’s Summit Technology Academy and Northland Advanced Career Studies.
If you are interested in being involved in this initiative, please contact Victoria Ogier at firstname.lastname@example.org.