our story

Mayor Sly James kicking off the 2019 internship season – the last of his administration.

Hire KC Youth was originally started by former Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Sly James in 2014 to coalesce around a broad summer youth employment initiative.

In 2017, a 12-member youth commission appointed by Mayor James in 2014, made a strategic recommendation to the City to expand Hire KC Youth from a city hall program into a citywide youth opportunity platform that could serve more youth with services and opportunities, and operate outside city government as a community resource guided by current City leadership. The City commissioned KCSIC to serve in this role, and in 2017, Hire KC Youth became Hire KC – the largest provider of paid internships for high school and college students in the KC region. We have grown the number of internships and paid experiences from 80 in 2017 to over 500 in 2020. Hire KC works with nearly 200 employers, and thousands of youth each year. Our goal continues to be what Sly James aspired it to be: to turn hundreds of internships into thousands of opportunities for youth in need of transformative real-world experiences, putting into practice the promise that opportunity will be accessible to all our youth.

Today, with the leadership of Mayor Quinton Lucas, Hire KC aligns and organizes the city’s work-based experiences across the public, private and nonprofit sectors to provide access to work-based opportunities and experiences that help lead students to brighter futures and better prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow.

Our aim is to democratize the path and distance to opportunity—not only a physical distance but also a social and aspirational distance.

Hire KC explores how to impact youth knowing that the future of work is rapidly changing. We know that 65% of all jobs will require more than a high school diploma, up from 28% in 1973, but only 24% of those jobs will require a 4-year degree.

Hire KC is bridging the gap between school and work, helping to prepare the next generation with the life know-how and essential skills necessary to lead to good and promising jobs.

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