NEBA Eyes Better Communications for Businesses, Schools
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Members of the Northland Education and Business Alliance recently discussed ways to help businesses work more closely with area schools in order to improve workforce readiness while helping young Northlanders find better jobs.

The Northland Education and Business Alliance (NEBA) is continuing efforts to better communicate its goals and how those goals help local companies, educators and students.

Since its founding by the EDC in 2006, NEBA has worked to improve communication to help both educators and business owners. Now, more than ever, businesses need the area’s young people to help fill an increasingly challenging job market. Young people, and the educators who serve them, look for more career choices and information on what students need to succeed.

Once again, a big issue is communication, said NEBA Co-chair Courtney Reyes. She cited a widespread example that involves business owners who want to hire young people or provide internships for students but don’t know how to go about it. Too often, they lack information on where to even start.

“There’s a lot of information, and it can be overwhelming,” noted Reyes, who serves as Government Affairs and Workforce Development director for the Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City. “We really want to encourage business owners and industry representatives to dive in and learn more about their local school programs and what they have to offer. In doing this, businesses have the opportunity to establish relationships that create value and generate long-term pipelines of talent.”

Other Help

The group also continued discussion of a regional calendar to provide a central location for all school activities, including career training, internship programs and more. The goal is to create a valuable resource for students, business owners and educators. Also under way is a “business training manual” to help business owners and managers better understand what they need in order to qualify for hosting internships. Several members also suggested that testimonials by member business owners would help show the benefits of NEBA programs. 

Other members shared that few businesses have more applicants than they need, although thousands of students graduate each year without good employment opportunities. “There are approximately 18,000 Northland high school students,” said Brian Noller, director of Community, School and Business Partnerships for the Platte County School District. “That’s a lot of potential.”

School, Business Updates

The group closed with reports from members, including an update by Noller on the Platte District’s Northland Career Center ongoing fund drive for building a new center serving Clay and Platte counties. Kearney School District Career Readiness Coordinator Stacy Holtzclaw said that district has grown from four internships last year to 20 this year and plans for 40 next year. Adam Jelenic, HR programs coordinator for LMV Automotive, said his firm is adding a third shift in early March and is now taking applications. 

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.

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