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NEBA Focusing on Career Opportunities for Area Students

December 2019

Members of the Northland Education and Business Alliance recently discussed ways to better communicate with high school students and parents about growing career opportunities.

The Northland Education and Business Alliance (NEBA) discussed everything from better communications with parents to surging careers in developing technologies during their meeting Nov. 5.

Sponsored by the Clay County Economic Development Council, NEBA organizes events, school-business programs and other initiatives to expand opportunities and awareness of the area’s growing high-tech businesses and the careers they brng. The group has sponsored several regional career expos, including health care and advanced manufacturing events this fall that drew hundreds of Greater Kansas City high school students. In the spring, NEBA holds CEO roundtables to examine technological and business trends that are driving today’s dramatic job changes.

Latest Focus

The group’s most recent meeting covered that and a lot more. One priority involves a parent night to present firsthand information on these trends. The event has been tentatively scheduled at Staley High School on Jan. 29, 2020.

“A big issue we face is how to get information to parents on these new career choices and the education needed to pursue them,” EDC Executive Director TJ Berry noted. “How do we let them know all of the options that are out there?”

Co-Chair Brian Noller said that NEBA’s growing list of business partners could be used to organize tours for parents wanting to see for themselves modern robotics at the Ford plant or the use of virtual reality to treat dementia and PTSD, for example.

“We’re getting a lot of contacts that we can use to set up tours that help the parents and students see what’s out there,” Noller, who is the director of the Northland Career Center, explained. “I think that would really help.”

Recent Successes

The group also reviewed this fall’s health care and advanced manufacturing expos that attracted over 1,000 Greater Kansas City high school students. These successes have also drawn the attention of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, which is hoping to create similar efforts across the state.

“The things we are doing here, removing hurdles even before they become problems, are more important than ever,” Berry said.

Composed of both educators and business leaders, NEBA focuses on helping today’s high school students recognize and prepare for the growing range of high-tech and high-paying careers in emerging technologies. Former NEBA co-chair Jerry Hickey, owner of Express Employment Professionals, said a major issue involves the huge gap between retiring older workers and current students coming up to replace them. “Nowhere is that more evident than in the skilled trades and professions,” he said. “When you combine that with the explosion in technology, there’s a lot of work to do.”

For additional information visit the NEBA website at or contact the Clay County EDC at (816) 468-4989.

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