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Northland Career Speaker Series Off To Great Start

October 2021

The morning Government and Administration program was presented by (from left, top) Christopher L. Holder, senior auditor, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General; Elizabeth Burnes, archivist and subject matter expert for Immigrant Records, National Archives at Kansas City; Jordynn Webster, of the Homebuilders Association of Greater Kansas City who served as co-host for NEBA; (second row) Heather Hall, First District Councilwoman, City of Kansas City; Amy Washam, NEBA co-chair; and Karen Rouse, regional director, Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

The first round of the Virtual Career Speaker Series went flawlessly, drawing students from throughout the Northland for four sessions Sept. 21.

Organized by the Northland Education and Business Alliance, the virtual panel discussions focused on government and public administration, law, public safety, corrections, and security. Northland professionals in each field outlined everything from formal education and training requirements to soft skills such as learning to make eye contact when speaking.

The morning Law, Public Safety, Corrections and Security program featured (from left, top row) Amy Washam, NEBA; Judge Janet Sutton, 7th Judicial Circuit (Clay County), Division Two; Klassie Alcine, president, KC Common Good; (second row) Athena Graham with North Kansas City Schools, hosting for NEBA; Shelly Weaks, Security Risk/Safety Manager, Harrah's Casino.; and Donald Simon, Legal Contracts administrator, Anthology, Inc.

Several major themes quickly became apparent: Even well-defined careers like law enforcement contain dozens of “sub-fields” that allow young people to match their strengths with interests. Students interested in law enforcement and with a science bent can look at areas like forensic laboratories, for  example. Regardless of career areas, communication skills like writing and the ability to work and communicate with others are just as important as technical skills.

The afternoon Government and Administration session saw (from left, top row) Amy Washam, NEBA host, with Dayla Schwartz, retired city attorney, City of Independence; (second row) Bill Medley, Public Information Office, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City; and Lauren Arthur, State Senator, State of Missouri.

Program Options

This first session offered students four sessions: two for government and administration; and two for law, public safety, corrections and security. With up to four industry professionals in each session, students heard firsthand information on local career opportunities and what it takes to achieve them.

“These experts helped exemplify that these industries seek professionals across a wide array of positions and interests,” NEBA Co-Chair Amy Washam said. “Career seekers interested in aspects of social work, law, accounting, history, science, journalism, education, criminal justice, non-profit work, and political science could follow their career aspirations in these industries.”

The afternoon Law, Public Safety, Corrections and Security session included (from left, top row) NEBA Host Amy Washam; Tereasa Brown, victim assistance specialist, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations; Melissa Evans, director of Emergency Management, Clay County Emergency Management - Clay County Sheriff's Office; Brian Noller, NEBA; and Raashid Brown, director of security, Worlds of Fun.

Inside Secrets

One of the biggest surprises might have been the strong emphasis speakers placed on internships and job shadowing to help students experience real-world career environments. They cited a large number of opportunities to do that in the Northland.

“Internships allow you to get into the meat and bones of an area,”  noted Klassie Alcine, president of KC Common Good and one of four speakers for a Law, Public Safety, Corrections and Security session. “It’s a great way to learn more about the details of a job and what people actually need.” Others noted that internships often lead to jobs or valuable networking opportunities.

Future Sessions

The Virtual Career Speaker Series will continue monthly throughout the 2021-22 school year.

The next event will be Oct. 19 with two career areas: transportation, distribution and logistics; and manufacturing. The complete schedule and more information is available on the NEBA website, www.nebaworkskc.org. Career Speaker Series programs and other events are available to view on the NEBA YouTube channel,  https://www.youtube.com/c/NEBAWorksKC.

Speakers for the Sept. 21 event were:

Government and Administration, 8 a.m.

  • Elizabeth Burnes, archivist and subject matter expert for Immigrant Records, National Archives at Kansas City.
  • Heather Hall, First District Councilwoman, City of Kansas City.
  • Christopher L. Holder, senior auditor, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General.
  • Karen Rouse, regional director, Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security, 9 a.m.

  • Klassie Alcine, president, KC Common Good.
  • Donald Simon, Legal Contracts administrator, Anthology, Inc.
  • Judge Janet Sutton, 7th Judicial Circuit (Clay County), Division Two.
  • Shelly Weaks, Security Risk/Safety Manager, Harrah's Casino.

Government and Administration, Noon

  • Lauren Arthur, State Senator, State of Missouri
  • Bill Medley, Public Information Office, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  • Dayla Schwartz, retired city attorney, City of Independence.

Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security, 1 pm.

  • Raashid Brown, director of security, Worlds of Fun.
  • Tereasa Brown, victim assistance specialist, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations.
  • Melissa Evans, director of Emergency Management, Clay County Emergency Management - Clay County Sheriff's Office.


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