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KC Tech Academy Event Illustrtates Workforce Priorities

February 2020

An open house held recently at the KC Tech Academy in Liberty is just part of widespread efforts to ensure solid workforce development in Clay County. One of the displays included virtual reality training for advanced welding technology.

Parents, students and others attended an open house held Jan. 28 at the KC Tech Academy at the Heartland Meadows business park in Liberty.

Expansion of the academy into a world-class workforce training center is part of the EDC’s Strategic Initiative Big 4 announced in December. Addressing the Keystone Awards Luncheon, EDC Chair Greg Canuteson said the initiative would accomplish two key goals.

“It would provide Clay County with the training to attract one of the fastest growing sectors in the nation,” Canuteson said, “and it would send a message to businesses around the country that we can provide the workforce to fill their needs.”

KC Tech Academy is an industry-driven regional training initiative created by corporate leaders to address regional workforce development and skilled trade training challenges. KCTA focuses on providing practical hands-on training to K-12 students, preparing them with the skills to be productive employees. 

The KCTA curriculum is structured by industry, and instruction is provided by a combination of professional educators and real-world, subject-matter experts. The Academy’s vision is to be the most efficient creator of top skilled professionals with the highest placement rate with no debt to the student. This will be accomplished through collaboration with all levels of education and broad representation from industry.

KC Tech Academy is a partnership between the Kearney and Liberty School districts, Metropolitan Community College (MCC) and Magna Cosma, which has a manufacturing and assembly plant in Liberty that provides body, chassis and engineering solutions to global customers.

Under a two-year program, students can receive training, a high school diploma, college credit and certification in manufacturing technologies, automation and robotics through MCC. It’s this idea of creating a learning network that partners K-12, higher education and industries together to offer students a path to earn high school credit, credit towards an associate’s degree and workforce credentials so they are a step ahead.

The free program is currently available for students attending Liberty High School, Liberty North High School, Liberty Academy and Kearney High School. Adult programming is being planned, and the initiative will seek wider involvement for public support, industry and students.

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