The Northland Education and Business Alliance discussed area school career plans and a dramatic expansion for the Northland Career Center during their latest meeting Sept. 6.
Held at iWerx in Gladstone, the session began with a presentation by entrepreneur David Garcia, founder of Selection Garment Co. in Kansas City and Suits For Hire, a nonprofit that provides business wear for young men in low-income areas. Located in the heart of Kansas City, Suits For Hire is collecting business clothing to channel back into the community and help young people present a professional manner.
Garcia said he sees the program as beneficial for communities, as well as individuals. “I believe there are even mental health components to this,” he explained. “And I know that if I can get a suit in a home, we can start to change a neighborhood that’s usually in the news for the wrong reasons. It’s not just a suit; it’s an opportunity.”
Brian Noller, director of Community, School and Business Partnerships for the Platte County School District, updated the group on a $30-million state grant for the Northland Career Center, currently located in Platte City. With a matching fund drive being formed, he said supporters are planning a facility with state-of-the-art classrooms for vocational and technical training, along with space for community events like career fairs.
“This is an unbelievable opportunity for us here in the Northland,” Noller said. Tentative plans call for the center to be located within a two-mile radius of the Costco near Highway 152 and Platte Purchase Road, providing workforce development in a location easily accessed from throughout the Northland.
Other topics included several upcoming career fairs and related events being held by area school districts. NEBA members agreed to gather information on these events to create a single calendar for students and parents. Other good news involved hundreds of students who are beginning internships throughout the Northland.
Founded by the EDC in 2006, NEBA is a network of education and business organizations working in partnership with the region’s economic development professionals to bring awareness of quality education in the Northland to prospective businesses and corporations. NEBA also strives to inform local students, educators and career changers about career opportunities in the area. For more information, visit nebaworkskc.org.