May. 31, 2012 | By: Ashlie Hand | Category: America's Creative Crossroads, Economic Development, Regional KC Business, Workforce Development
Tags: collaboration, community college, Economic Development, fabrication, innovation, Metropolitan Community College, workforce development
The Kansas City region’s colleges and universities play a critical role in the competitiveness of our region’s workforce. Quality, skilled employees continue to be the number one concern of companies evaluating locations for investment. KCADC’s Higher Ed Task Force involves more than a dozen regional colleges and universities, including the Metropolitan Community College led by Chancellor Mark James. Chancellor James offers his thoughts on the unique partnership opportunities community colleges offer to businesses in the KC region.
Innovation, fabrication, and collaboration among the area’s community colleges and business & industries bring boundless benefits to Kansas City. A higher-skilled and better-educated workforce is the foundation for the economic development of any metropolitan area.
At Metropolitan Community College (MCC), we build relationships listening and learning about specific workforce needs of our region’s businesses. A recent visit from Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden and Asst. Labor Secretary Jane Oates highlighted MCC’s innovation and collaboration with healthcare providers and health information technology leader Cerner Corporation, preparing workers for high-demand positions. The relationships between employers who need workers with specific skills and community colleges that fabricate customized training programs to produce those skills, serve as the engine that drives economic growth in our communities.
Another example of innovation, fabrication and collaboration is MCC’s Rapid Prototyping Lab and FabLab. These two fabrication laboratories, located at MCC’s Business & Technology campus, provide students, area inventors and professional organizations with the tools to innovate and fabricate from concept to prototype, bolstering businesses and supporting entrepreneurs. Small and large companies contract to use these labs, employing MCC’s equipment and staff expertise to develop prototypes for new or improved products. Just last year Kansas City icon Hallmark Corporation called on MCC to help establish the company’s own fabrication lab.
These are just a couple of examples of the ways MCC and businesses are collaborating to foster innovation and drive economic growth in Kansas City. I know my colleagues at Johnson County Community College and Kansas City Kansas Community College have similar success stories. If you are a business or industry leader struggling with workforce development needs, your area community colleges are just a phone call away.