The Kansas City National Security Campus (KCNSC) opened its doors to dozens of educators from across the Kansas City metro on June 15 to show off job prospects available for their students now and in the future.
The event was part of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce's Show-Me Careers program for teachers and school administrators; it's the third year KCNSC has hosted them. The intent of Show-Me Careers is to bridge the gap between the employer community and its available job opportunities and what teachers understand of those career pathways and occupations.
"The whole idea is that we expose them to all the different high-paying, entry-level and advanced-professional jobs that are in the region through some of the key employers who have those available," said Brian Crouse, vice president of education for the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
"As part of my role, I am trying to connect students with some experiential learning, then again connecting to different occupations and jobs in different businesses. So, this is allowing me, as well as our educators, to learn about what opportunities there are, what the workforce says we need from our students, and then making those connections to bring them into our schools and the students to them as well," said Carol Noecker, a K-12 Real World Learning and Community Partnerships facilitator for the Smithville School District.
The event allows KCNSC a rare chance to take the influential educators into the East Campus' Mock Factory and immerse them with hands-on activities, demonstrating our high-tech, process-driven advanced manufacturing jobs. The end goal is having educators share that workforce information with students when they return to the classroom.
"We're going over resumes and interviews, which are a big, important thing, especially to new candidates coming right out of high school. We're helping them prepare their students for that. We're also going over security because there is a lot of security at the Kansas City National Security Campus. We're teaching them how to use our systems to build products. We're obviously not using real products here, but simulated products so they can understand how we do our processes. Then we have so much cool technology here, so augmented and virtual reality, stuff like that," said Tyler Dixon, KCNSC's learning and development manager.
Crouse said the chamber is seeing success of the Show-Me Careers program take hold, with some school districts implementing career pathways for students in middle schools and high schools, such as hiring coordinators who focus on career planning and not just college planning.
"I teach all freshman, so every freshman in the building goes through my class. So being able to weave some of these things that have to do with manufacturing, engineering, and things like that into a 14- or 15-year-old mind right off the bat is incredible," said Donald Bickham, teacher at Hogan Preparatory Academy. "How many 18-year-olds have the opportunity to make $60,000 a year, you know, right off the bat and have benefits?"