KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There is a need for more workers in southern Johnson County at Logistics Park, an area where manufacturing and logistics jobs are in high demand from several large-scale employers, and RideKC is trying to help connect workers to the demand.
County officials believe there is a good worker pool in the Kansas City area, but those workers don’t have reliable transportation. There is a plan to create a dedicated job work route from Kansas City and KCK to Edgerton so that workers can have reliable transportation.
Amazon, Jet and Kubota Tractor Distribution all are in the Logistics Park, and they're in need of employees. This proposal comes just days after Harley Davidson and Procter & Gamble announced they are closing, announcements that will ultimately leave more than a thousand people in the metro without a job.
On February 14, Johnson County commissioners will decide if they want to greenlight the project. The plan costs about $300,000 and is a line item in the proposed county budget.
“This is a situation that we see all over the country but we see it a lot here in the Midwest and particularly here in Kansas City where you have large-growth office parks, large employers building facilities because of distribution or warehouse or manufacturing outside of the downtown area,” said Chuck Ferguson, Vice President of Regional Planning with Ride KC.
If approved there will be multiple morning, afternoon and evening routes to and from the Logistics Park.
“There are a number of employers out there ... You're talking Amazon, Jet, Spectrum, some very large-scale, well-known employers.," said Ferguson. "They have a dramatic need for employees to staff their facilities, so we're connecting people that are either unemployed or underemployed perhaps looking for a better opportunity, looking for a chance to make more money, but don't have a means to get there.”
There is already an existing route to the Edgerton and Gardner area. This proposed route would be an addition to that route.
“This is something that we plan to grow. Not only are we doing fixed-route buses ... We are also doing some very innovative van pools with some employers as well," said Ferguson.
If the commission gives their approval, RideKC says they are prepared to start the new route on April 1.