Virtual paid summer internships and work-ready skill-builders to help youth earn and learn
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas is moving forward with the City’s signature youth internship program, Hire KC, transitioning dozens of internships into virtual experiences in an effort to give some relief and recovery to the youth workforce this summer.
In light of COVID-19 restrictions and the social distancing measures in effect in Kansas City, Hire KC is responding to these changing conditions in real-time, and has been working with Mayor Lucas and City Council to help stabilize these important youth opportunities.
At a time when students and youth across the city are out of school and out of work, Hire KC will address the youth population directly with a safe, innovative way to support youth engagement and employment this summer with experiential opportunities that have financial benefits. Students can earn money for completing assigned work or projects, and by completing work-ready, skill-building learning experiences online. Most of these opportunities can be completed from a mobile device, mitigating the perpetual issue of broadband access and the possession of productivity devices.
“When I was in high school, an internship program placed me with an internship in Mayor Kay Barnes’s office, which helped me discover my passion for public service,” said Mayor Lucas. “It’s imperative we continue to provide young people with similar opportunities, even in the age of COVID-19. This vital Program ensures students from all Kansas City neighborhoods have the opportunity to secure placement with reputable public service agencies throughout our region. I appreciate all who worked quickly to modify this Program so it may continue to succeed.”
The DeBruce Foundation has committed $50,000 to directly help Hire KC expand opportunities for students amidst the uncertainties resulting from COVID-19, and a community grant from Bank of America has provided $55,000 to extend virtual internships to several area nonprofits, including but not limited to: Altar Support, aSTEAM Village, Goodwill, Hillcrest Hope, Inclusion Connections, Kanbe’s Markets, KC Free Eye Clinic, KC Young Audiences, Latino Arts Foundation, Latinx Ed Collaborative, Mattie Rhodes, Mid-America Regional Council, Resiliency at Work 2.0, and Saving Kid Sight.
“This is a time to be more agile to help our youth prepare for the road that lies ahead,” said Dr. Leigh Anne Taylor Knight, Executive Director and COO of The DeBruce Foundation. “Pivoting from traditional to virtual internships is an innovative way we can provide stability for many youth to help them gain professional experience and expand their career pathways.”
Hire KC has grown from a City Hall program to the largest provider of paid summer internships in the region. Hire KC works to align and organize Kansas City’s out-of-school work-based experiences to centralize resources, better support opportunity equity, and illuminate the career pathways that lead to good and promising jobs. In 2019, Hire KC connected 253 youth to internships at 103 worksites across the Kansas City region. Notably, since 2017, Bank of America’s grants have supported 82 paid summer internships at local nonprofit organizations across the region.
Hire KC remains mission-driven to democratize opportunity, helping schools level-up with strategies and resources to better connect students to career-connected opportunities, and to dually assist employers in successfully traversing the barriers around the equity gaps that persist in under-utilized communities.
“Hire KC plays an essential role in mitigating the inequities so many of our fellow Kansas Citians are facing. The integration of education and workforce provides our region, its youth, and employers the necessary paradigm shift needed to nurture a future workforce based on merit and equity. In essence, the cultural richness of our city will be seen throughout our workforce,” said William Dowdell, Senior Director at KCSIC.
For more information about summer programming, how to access and register for internships and experiences, or for details on employer options, please visit our website at hirekc.org.
About Hire KC
Hire KC’s mission is to support opportunity, equity, and illuminate career pathways so that all youth can learn and grow into promising futures. The KC Social Innovation Center (KCSIC) manages Hire KC and works to engage schools and support a variety of business partners, increasing the number of internship and work-based opportunities so we can serve more youth while continuing to innovate and experiment with new tools, platforms and methodologies to improve youth talent and workforce development at scale. KCSIC advances innovation in learning, workforce development, and human capital initiatives in an age of digital transformation. For more information, visit hirekc.org.