© 2024 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Great Jobs KC helps low-income adults in Kansas City get an education and new career

Jennifer Rojas completed a tuition free, business analytics certificate program offered through the nonprofit Great Jobs KC.
Great Jobs KC
Jennifer Rojas completed a tuition free, business analytics certificate program offered through the nonprofit Great Jobs KC.

Not everyone has the financial means or the interest to attend a traditional four-year college program. A Kansas City nonprofit is investing millions of dollars into adults making $45,000 or less each year — improving their financial stability and the city's workforce.

For people living in poverty, financial or housing insecurity, child care, transportation or other obstacles may be preventing them from advancing their educational or career options.

Great Jobs KC is helping to remove the barriers and invest in the future of Kansas City’s workforce through their KC Scholars program and tuition-free job training programs for higher-paying, in-demand careers.

"We're going to help you," said Earl Martin Phalen, president and CEO of Great Jobs KC.

"In addition to the wraparound services, we also have a scholar advocate who works one-on-one with every one of our scholars, so that if you come into a problem on your journey," Phalen told KCUR's Up To Date. "We're going to be a coach, a mentor, a supporter, a partner to make sure that you stay with it and you achieve your goal."

The nonprofit offers qualifying adults a chance to receive a $50,000 scholarship towards college tuition, or access to 129 different certificate programs for subjects like health care, information technology, construction and manufacturing.

"We want to help 50,000 Kansas Citians move from tough economic circumstances or economic instability to economic strength, and economic mobility and stability," Phalen said.

Jennifer Rojas completed a 10-week business analytics certificate program through Great Jobs KC.

"Through it I learned new and advanced data analysis techniques," Rojas said. "But not only that, they also focus on networking opportunities. And that is so important these days."

  • Earl Martin Phalen, president and CEO, Great Jobs KC
  • Jennifer Rojas, graduate, Great Jobs KC
Stay Connected
When I host Up To Date each morning at 9, my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. Reach me at steve@kcur.org or on Twitter @stevekraske.
As a producer for Up To Date, my goal is to inform our audience by curating interesting and important conversations with reliable sources and individuals directly affected by a topic or issue. I strive for our program to be a place that hosts impactful conversations, providing our audience with greater knowledge, intrigue, compassion and entertainment. Contact me at elizabeth@kcur.org or on Twitter at @er_bentley_ruiz.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and award-winning podcasts.
Your donation helps keep nonprofit journalism free and available for everyone.