At a March 22 MCC event focused on a new statewide community college partnership, job one was talking about Missouri jobs. But it was also a chance to thank and honor some of the College’s workforce partners.
In a machine lab at MCC-Business & Technology, with Honeywell employees working just feet away, campus president Jackie Gill welcomed the gathering of business and industry representatives, state lawmakers, media, MCC officials and other guests.
“We are committed to helping people in Missouri get the skills they need to earn high-paying jobs,” Gill said, “and we are also committed to helping our businesses find the workers they need to grow and create jobs.”
MCC is one of the state’s 12 community colleges, which joined forces March 9 to create the Missouri Community College Workforce Development Network. Through their local community college, businesses will now be able to access resources at every college.
If, for instance, a business came to Metropolitan Community College seeking training for employees in a field MCC doesn’t have expertise in, the College could turn to other institutions across the state for personnel and resources.
The new network means that “we’re breaking down geographic boundaries that separate our institutions and we’re cutting red tape to help each other and our businesses,” Gill said.
Tim Cowden, president and CEO of the Kansas City Area Development Council, told those gathered that somewhere at that moment — in another state or another country — executives were likely evaluating Kansas City as a place to create hundreds, if not thousands, of new jobs. The No. 1 criterion in selecting a particular city is workforce development, he said.
Growing and sustaining a skilled workforce is “absolutely critical,” Cowden said.
Representatives of four MCC workforce partners spoke at the event:
+ Steve Ghidoni, training specialist at Ingredion, which is headquartered near Chicago, said the ingredients solutions company employs more than 200 people at two locations in North Kansas City. Locally, Ingredion processes 41,000 bushels of corn a day.
MCC has partnered with Ingredion (known previously as National Starch Co.) for more than 15 years, providing services such as leadership and management training and process operations training. Ghidoni said Ingredion has “benefited greatly” from the Missouri Works Customized Training program.
+ Dave Peirano, executive vice president of global operations for Fike Corp., said the Kansas City area company is in business to “protect people and assets.” Its specialties include fire alarm systems and fire suppression solutions. Fike is one of the original members of MCC’s CIMM (Computer Integrated Machining and Manufacturing) Consortium, businesses that help develop CIMM curriculum and provide students with paid internships.
Since 2013, Peirano said, Fike has hired eight of nine MCC interns as full-time employees, and two have gone on to leadership positions. That speaks to both the quality of the training and the quality of the people, he said. And in a “full circle” development, a Fike retiree has become an MCC instructor.
“We look forward to having more (MCC students) come through our doors,” Peirano said.
+ Adam Wilson, human resources manager at Nestle Purina PetCare, said his company turned to MCC to help workers at its pet food facility in St. Joseph become plant mechanics and thus make higher wages.
Starting this year, Nestle Purina is paying three St. Joseph employees to earn associate degrees at MCC. When they’re not in class at Business & Technology, they’re back at the plant getting even more hands-on training from senior technicians there.
+ Robin Stubenhofer, vice president of engineering at Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technologies, which runs the National Security Campus in south Kansas City, said MCC has provided services such as assessments and machinist and toolmaker training for more than 20 years.
“We are very, very pleased” with the partnership, said Stubenhofer, who is also a member of the MCC Foundation board of directors.
The 1.5-million-square-foot National Security Campus makes nonnuclear components for U.S. nuclear weapons.
Two Missouri legislators were on hand as well. Rep. Ingrid Burnett of District 19 said a special challenge for educators is to prepare students “for jobs that don’t exist yet” — and jobs that will provide a “good, livable income.”
Rep. Dan Stacy of District 31, meanwhile, praised the value of employees who can offer more than just a job skill set. Stacy said prospective employees should ask themselves, “What can I bring to this business that is unique?”
At the conclusion of the event, MCC officials presented “Excellence in Service” plaques to a variety of workforce partners:
Fox 4 did two live shots before the event and then returned when the ceremony began. Click here to watch the Fox 4 interview with Business & Technology president Jackie Gill.
More photos from the event on the MCC-Business & Technology Facebook page.
WORKFORCE TRAINING AT MCC
From 2013 to 2016, Metropolitan Community College’s Institute for Workforce Innovation (IWI):
- Prepared more than 7,000 students for entry-level jobs
- Worked with more than 100 companies to provide contract training, including Ford, General Motors, Orbital ATK, Harley-Davidson and Honeywell
- Supported 39 area companies to receive $4.4 million through the Missouri Works Customized Training program
- Helped companies receive $6.3 million through Missouri Works New Jobs Training and Job Retention Training programs
For workers, MCC offers short-term training, certificate programs, job placement services, professional development and personal development.
For businesses, MCC offers an array of consulting services including assessment, recruitment, quality management, database solutions and customized training. MCC-Business & Technology boasts the area’s only OSHA Training Institute Education Center.