Rep. Cleaver honors successful completion of Sustainability Center project

Emanuel Cleaver, II, U.S. Representative for Missouri’s 5th Congressional District, visited MCC-Penn Valley on Aug. 20 to mark the successful completion of the Sustainability Center project.  More than fifty people attended the event, including representatives from partner organizations, students, MCC staff and faculty, and members of the media.

Congressman Cleaver was the featured speaker, but he also listened as Sustainability Center students shared their stories with the audience, including Deirdre Hamilton-McCoy, Harold Fears, and Marvin Gonzalez, who all have become successfully employed as a result of the project. Employer and workforce development organizations, including the Full Employment Council, Manpower, Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, and Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center, shared how MCC is addressing the region’s labor needs.

Deirdre Hamilton-McCoy tells her success story.


The Sustainability Center project, which wrapped up in June, primarily targeted residents of the Green Impact Zone, a 150-square block area of Kansas City, Mo. that has experienced severe economic decline. The unemployment rate within the Green Impact Zone is estimated to be as high as 50%.

Through the Sustainability Center project, more than 300 clients received services, including academic assessment, tutoring, social services, job certification training, and job placement assistance.


Dr. Manuel Solano (center) coordinated much of the Sustainability Center’s work.


Job training was provided at no tuition cost, with certifications offered in high-demand fields such as “green” jobs, healthcare, logistics, and customer service.  Technical certificates were awarded to 116 students.

Employment data is still being collected. To date, of the 93 students surveyed post-completion, 63 have gotten jobs.

“This is a day we should all celebrate. We should honor the accomplishments of these hardworking men and women as they take the skills they have learned and move into the workforce,” said Congressman Cleaver.  “We should also thank the many organizations and businesses involved, learn from this experience while looking to the future, and continue our focus on creating and sustaining jobs.  We must not lose sight of our priority in getting this economy moving forward.”

Funding for the Sustainability Center project came from a congressional appropriation through the U.S. Department of Labor. The project was developed as a part of MCC’s partnership with the Green Impact Zone and the Full Employment Council.

Additional organizations and employers that supported the project include MARC, Green Works, Mattie Rhodes Center, Prep-KC, UPS, Harvesters, and Apria Healthcare.

See the news coverage from the event here:

Click here to view the WDAF Channel 4 News Article & Video

Click here to view the KCTV Channel 5 News Article & Video

Click here to view the KSHB Channel 41 News Article

Click here to view the Community College Times e-News

Click here to view Congressman Cleaver’s website

Click here to view Tony’s Kansas City Blog

Click here to view’s first article, and second article 

The MCC-produced video, The Sustainability Center: Job Training in the Green Impact Zone, is now available on YouTube.