Five local civic leaders — Terry Dunn, Frank Ellis, Terry Bassham, Mary Bloch and Cliff Illig — have signed on to serve as co-chairs for a campaign that will help fundamentally transform Kansas City’s largest institution of higher education, Metropolitan Community College.
Funding from the campaign, called MCC Works, will support a re-tooling of the college to become a stronger partner for employers and to heighten student success through a more integrated network of student support. Throughout the campaign, the co-chairs will offer strategic vision and guidance to MCC leadership, the MCC Foundation and campaign committees.
“We know that MCC can be one of the most important contributors to the region’s 21st century workforce, and we also know that in order to get there, we have to grow our operations substantially to meet the demands of our current and future corporate partners,” said MCC Chancellor Mark James. “As we embark on the MCC Works campaign, the leadership of these five very highly respected business and community leaders will be invaluable.”
Dunn, CEO of JE Dunn Construction Group, is the lead co-chair for MCC Works. He and his family have been involved with MCC and the MCC Foundation for a number of years, including ongoing support of the annual Five Star Gala.
Ellis, founder and retired chairman and CEO of Swope Community Enterprises, has long been a strategic partner to MCC and was instrumental in the college being able to secure state tax credits to establish the state-of-the-art MCC-Penn Valley Health Science Institute in 2009.
Bassham, president and CEO of Kansas City Power & Light, has been a longtime champion of workforce development partnerships between MCC and KCP&L, including the innovative hands-on lineman training program at MCC-Business & Technology.
Bloch, a community advocate and ardent supporter of education initiatives, has, with her husband, Tom, been a longtime supporter of MCC. Along with Tom’s father Henry, the couple has been involved in advancing the Bloch Scholars program, an initiative named in honor of Henry that provides opportunities for underserved students.
Illig, co-founder and vice chairman of Cerner Corporation, has backed MCC’s multi-faceted partnership with Cerner Corporation, which includes, among other initiatives, an innovative internship program for MCC students that is strengthening Cerner’s pipeline of qualified entry-level associates.