Rethink Youth Spotlight: Fort Osage (Team A)

The Rethink Youth Conference re-imagines, re-designs, re-builds, and re-engages the systems and pedagogy that frame education, both in Kansas City and throughout the country.

With the voice of our region’s young adults at the forefront of this movement, Rethink Youth will serve as a hub for collaboration and real-world learning, all the while, producing innovative and thought-provoking content around education.

More than 70 high school students from (9) Kansas City-area high schools have come together, dreamed up, and conceived ways to impact education from their point of view.

Each breakout session features a high impact topic chosen by students, offering up a new way to help us get unstuck as we consider just how to rethink and reshape education and their learning journey. 

Fort Osage Team A

A Case for Fairness: Redesigning Grading Systems to Better Connect with Different Learners. 

Students will address current grading systems in place. The facilitators will make a case for how grading does not always represent what students have learned. The team believes that grades should be based on different students’ learning styles. The team will share alternatives to improve the grading so that it has a better impact on learning. 

This special event is designed for students, by students, and all are welcome. If you are currently a student and interested in participating in this event, you may register here. If you are a curious adult, learner, or education stakeholder, you are welcome to register and tune in to observe. Want to learn more about the event? Click here or download the event’s agenda


On Wednesday, September 16th, 2020, Hire KC hosted a virtual town hall to pass the mic to Kansas City’s intern community, and to discuss with Mayor Quinton Lucas how and why we should prioritize internship opportunities in an age of disruption and chaos.

Six of our Hire KC interns stepped up to discuss prioritizing internship opportunities directly with city leadership.

If you ever wondered whether our youth will lead the way to a better future for us all – rest assured, they will. They asked important and insightful questions around opportunity, equity, violence, career pathways. And Mayor Q responded with candor, humor and some good advice.

In case you missed it – here is the recorded webinar.

Can we count on you?


In 2018, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation launched the Rethink ED conference to bring together all the stakeholders in education  business leaders, educators, parents, community leaders, high school students, and national experts  to help rethink education, by collaboratively creating tools, resources, and knowledge to better support communities that empower the makers, doers, and dreamers in our communities and our students.

Now, in collaboration with Kauffman, KCSIC is bringing the virtual, youth-driven RETHINK YOUTH 2020 conference to Kansas City. This special event will focus on re-imagining, re-designing, re-building, and re-engaging the education system – all through the eyes and design of local students – catalyzing student voice and experience through a real world learning journey that includes planning, marketing and hosting this event themselves.

This is Kansas City’s first-ever virtual conference designed by students, and for students.

Interested in learning more about RETHINK YOUTH 2020 – contact us at

Can we count on you?


WHAT IS AN INTERNSHIP? defines an internship as “the position of a student or trainee who works in an organization, sometimes without pay, in order to gain work experience or satisfy requirements for a qualification.” A detailed and standardized definition for what constitutes an “internship” experience does not exist.

Internships are a hot topic today, largely due to their unique ability to hold center court as the capstone experience within the work-based learning ecosystem. If an internship is the ace of real-world learning, and scale and equity matter (and they do), how do the opportunity intermediaries like us ensure fidelity – quality and outcomes – of this milestone, at scale?

We think the answer to that question lies in readiness. If students are – and can prove- that they are ready for an internship, does it matter if they have one or not?

At KCSIC, we believe an internship is a professional learning experience that offers meaningful, practical work related to a career pathway.  We believe an internship should give a student the opportunity for career exploration and development, and to learn new skills. It should offer the employer the opportunity to bring new ideas and energy into the workplace, develop talent and potentially build a pipeline for future full-time employees. 

We believe an internship should:

  • Be paid, or eligible for high school or college credit.
  • Consist of a part-time or full-time work schedule that generally includes no more than 25% clerical or administrative duties.
  • Provide a clear job/project description for the work experience.
  • Orient the student to the organization, its culture and proposed work assignment(s).
  • Help the student develop a journey for personal transformation, and achieve learning goals.
  • Offer regular feedback to the student intern.
  • Take place at a quality worksite that includes: 
    • a caring adult who provides work-related support and feedback, and promotes development of essential skills like critical thinking, communications, proactivity and collaboration.
    • a safe environment that adheres to all laws and regulations governing youth participation in the workforce, and comply with all youth safety measures. 

We are here to make sure students are ready for an internship.

Can we count on you?


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

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