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Rebound KC: Metropolitan Community College’s projects carry new importance during pandemic

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Posted at 7:31 AM, Dec 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-07 08:31:57-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — By January 2022, Metropolitan Community College’s campuses across the Kansas City, Missouri, area will look a lot different. Chancellor Dr. Kimberly Beatty believes the changes will help students better find pandemic-proof jobs.

“We’ve got to be resilient. We’ve got to be responsive. The key vision this administration has brought forward is that we ensure we’re as aligned as possible with the workforce needs of Kansas City,” Beatty said.

The chancellor said she works hand-in-hand with major employers like Burns and McDonnell and Black and Veatch to address skills gaps; the gap between what industries look for in new employees and what qualifications applicants bring to the table.

The school had several projects in the works before the pandemic, which it believes will help current and future students find jobs which are in demand even during a pandemic.

“We should be and we hope we’re the first option for those who need to get re-skilled, for those coming out of high school,” Beatty said.

In October, MCC broke ground on a new Engineering Technology building on its Penn Valley campus. Construction on the $7.2 million project should end in August 2021. The school will relocate several programs to the new building, such as computer aided drafting and design (CAD), 3D printing, introductory mechanical and architectural design, plus the Burns & McDonnell Design Innovation Lab and MCC FabLab maker space.

Most of those programs are currently located at MCC’s Business & Technology campus near Interstate 435 and Front Street. Beatty said she believes moving the programs to a new facility closer to the city center with more RideKC bus lines connected to the area will make the programs more accessible and encourage a more diverse group of students to enter the field.

In November, MCC began another relocation project with similar goals. The school will move its skills training center to the old Nazarene Publishing House near East 29th Street and Troost Avenue. Like the engineering technology programs, the skills training center is currently at the campus near I-435 and Front Street. Those HVAC, welding, building maintenance programs will move to the new location in the city center by January 2022.

In December, Missouri Governor Mike Parson joined Beatty and other MCC leaders for a groundbreaking in Independence, Missouri, for the new Blue River East Campus. This $10.2 million facility will house commercial driver’s license (CDL), utility lineman, and warehousing programs. It will also include a state-of-the-art OSHA training lab. MCC said its added attention on these programs should help meet workforce demands in the area.

The Rebound Kansas City is our effort is to help metro residents play a role in moving our community forward. We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas to via email to rebound@kshb.com and we welcome you to join in the conversation on the Rebound KC Facebook Group.

Whether you're Getting Back to Work after a layoff, need help Making Ends Meet during these trying times or need tips on Managing the Pressure we're all feeling, The Rebound has resources to find help. We'll also make sure local leaders are Doing What's Right to get Kansas City back track after a three-month shutdown.

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