The Northland Education and Business Alliance (NEBA) agreed to target three strategic goals to help with business and workforce education at their Jan. 10 meeting held in Gladstone iWerx.
The three initiatives for spring 2023 are the creation of a Northland-wide calendar of school workforce events and opportunities like internships, a manual for how businesses can best utilize internships and collecting examples of positive business experiences from NEBA-related efforts.
The last – positive business experiences – has already begun, said Adam Jelenic, HR programs coordinator for LMV Automotive, an international supplier in Liberty. “Over the past six years, NEBA has helped create so many programs that have helped LMV, it’s amazing,” he added, citing internships and other efforts. “It’s really been dramatic.”
One of NEBA’s new efforts would be to formally collect such testimonials and use them in a brochure and other communications so that businesses can see more clearly how these programs can help them.
The school calendar idea would put a comprehensive list of Northland school district activities relating to career fairs and other workforce opportunities, as well as student opportunities like internships in one place. It would give both students and businesses a single location to look for opportunities targeting their interests and needs. Businesses, even small businesses, could benefit by using it to jump-start their workforce development effort.
“You can’t walk out and just create programing,” explained Tatia Shelton, NEBA co-chair who serves as workforce manager – apprenticeships with Metropolitan Community College. “Individual businesses often don’t have the contacts they need for this.”
The final goal involves development of an online manual on creating internships to help businesses. Though not new, internships have become increasingly popular in the current job market as a tool for future employee training and development. Small and medium businesses, however, often find it difficult to connect with these important programs. The manual will provide checklists of steps for businesses to create practical internships.
Co-chair Courtney Reyes, who serves as Government Affairs and Workforce Development director for the Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City, said the goal is to provide both businesses and schools with a clear path to connect. “We need to show what NEBA does and here’s how it can help you,” she said.
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.