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Seg. 1: Leaving KC. Seg. 2: Ukeleles.

Apr 12, 2018
Jen Chen / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Why are educated professionals leaving Kansas City?

A recent study showed that more people with college degrees are leaving Kansas City at a faster rate than they're coming in. A look at why, and what that means for the city as a whole.

Segment 1: How will automation affect the future of work?

Self-driving cars, ATMs and self-checkouts ... many fields have been affected by technology. And studies project that half our current work activities could be automated by 2055. What kind of work will we do — and will there be enough of it?

Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate

The Kansas City Council on Thursday approved a memorandum of understanding with Maryland-based Edgemoor Infrastructure and Real Estate to build a billion-dollar new terminal at Kansas City International Airport. 

"This is where we were supposed to be," said Kansas City Mayor Sly James following the 8-5 vote.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

Newly installed Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer described his state Wednesday as vibrant but with trouble spots, telling lawmakers he plans to charge ahead at its problems.

Colyer promised to reform the state’s struggling foster care system, improve its privatized Medicaid program, open government activities into clearer public view and help more Kansans find jobs.

The speech was effectively a State of the State speech by a former two-term lieutenant governor now one week into higher office and trying to distinguish himself from his unpopular running mate, former Gov. Sam Brownback. Brownback delivered a formal State of the State address last month.

Raymond Clarke / Flickr - CC

Procter & Gamble has announced that it will close its manufacturing plant in Kansas City, Kansas.

Employees heard the news Wednesday morning. The plant primarily produces dish soap such as Dawn and Ivory; all of its production will transfer to a new site in Tabler Station, West Virginia by 2020, effectively putting 280 full-time employees out of work.

The Procter & Gamble news comes just a week after the Kansas City Harley-Davidson plant announced its closing.

Harley-Davidson

Motorcycle company Harley-Davidson is closing its assembly plant in the Northland, which employs about 800 people. Layoffs will start later this year and there'll be full closure by the third quarter of 2019, according to a news release.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Over 100 people gathered Tuesday afternoon for a community forum on labor for the construction of Kansas City's new single terminal airport. 

The event drew a diverse crowd, roughly half of which indicated by a show of hands that they were M/WBEs, or minority or woman owned business enterprises.

That's what Edgemoor — the Maryland-based developer the city selected to lead the $1 billion project — was hoping for when it called the meeting. 

file photo / Heartland Health Monitor

If nothing else, Sam Brownback has marked his time as governor of Kansas with one bold approach after the next. And few remade the status quo as much as his approach to welfare.

That sprung from his belief that even a well-meaning government that fails to prod the poor toward self-reliance ends up creating more dependency and stubborn poverty.

Like his record on such issues as game-shifting tax cuts, the results are arguably mixed.

C.J. Janovy / KCUR 89.3

Officials with the UnitedHealth Group on Tuesday announced they would bring 500 jobs to Kansas.

Around 150 of the positions will be at OptumRx's Overland Park facility at 6860 West 115th Street, where renovations have opened up a floor full of cubicles waiting to be filled.

"We're very, very deeply committed to Kansas," said John Mahrt, OptumRx's chief operating officer. "Kansas is a fantastic place for our people to live and work."

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

For those excited to look at designs for what could potentially be Kansas City's new airport, you may be waiting a while. 

The team recommended by a selection committee to design, build and finance a new, single-terminal — led by Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate — says the design should come collaboratively, by engaging with the city and its residents. 

Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is calling on Congress to balance “law and order with compassion” as it acts to replace the executive order known as DACA, the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals.

“We need to make sure we’re making a distinction between violent felons who are in this county illegally and children who were brought here through no fault of their own who have grown up in America,” Greitens said Wednesday in Kansas City.

UMKC Marketing & Communications / Flickr -- CC

More cuts may be coming at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

An email Interim Chancellor Barbara Bichelmeyer sent to staff Wednesday suggested that the budget situation was even worse than anticipated. UMKC is already operating with a budgeted deficit of $4.5 million for the fiscal year that began July 1.

“We also are now aware of additional risks that were not contemplated in initial budgeting,” Bichelmeyer wrote. “Most importantly, we still will need to make selected strategic investments that will require reallocations from within our existing budgets.”

Creative Commons-Flickr / Nikonian Novice

Startups create thousands of new jobs each year in the Kansas City area. That's according to a new report released Wednesday by KCSourceLink. A program of UMKC's Innovation Center, KCSourceLink provides a network for area entrepreneurs. 

"We're talking retail, we're talking restaurants, we're talking small manufacturers, we're talking tech companies," says special projects manager Kate Hodel. "All of those are important to our Kansas City metro area."

Sgt. 1st Class John Fries / 81st Regional Support Command

From homelessness to suicide, we hear a lot about the serious issues facing American veterans. Today, we explore how business-ownership can play a part in reintegrating some former service members to a happy, healthy civilian life. Then, Kansas City, Missouri, officials Sherri McIntyre and Joe Blankenship help parse what's behind recent delays in projects to paint bike lanes in the downtown loop.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Whether you spent hours in the summer sun at a lifeguard post or delivered hot, greasy pizzas across town, it's hard to forget your very first job. Today, callers and KCUR staffers share their memories and the lasting impacts of that first job or paycheck. Then, we meet the Kansas City high schooler whose year-long research project into the "suffrajitsu" movement earned her top marks at the National History Day competition.

It's almost impossible to pass through Kansas City's suburbs without seeing an office park. They're so commonplace, we almost don't notice them. But, they're a big part of our suburban cityscape, and someone put them there on purpose. So who did this and why?

Plus, in the 1940s, a Kansas man made one small town into his scientific laboratory. How Roger Barker founded environmental psychology.

Guests:

What do Kansas Citians expect from higher education? A job that pays well? The chance to learn for the sake of learning ... or something else?

As the cost of college goes up, saddling graduates with debt, we explore the point of higher education ... and whether its concepts are in touch with today's reality.

Guests:

Missouri Community College Association (MCCA)

Missouri’s 12 community colleges have created a new workforce training network.

Until now, community colleges could only work with businesses located in their geographical service area. Under this new agreement, called the Missouri Community College Workforce Development Network, Mark James, Chancellor of Kansas City's Metropolitan Community College, says the state’s colleges can share resources, expertise and even personnel. 

“We are essentially pledging to collaborate and assist each other if and when needed to meet any businesses’ workforce or training needs.”

Fort Osage CTC

First, we explore how vocational and technical education programs can help bridge the gap between job-seekers and middle-skilled jobs. Then, architect John Ruble explains the challenges urban planners face when designing everything from city buildings to U.S. embassies. Finally, running a successful food truck is about more than serving sliders from a van. We hear about the construction and operation of Kansas City's full-service kitchens-on-wheels.

Mindy Mazur / Women's Foundation

Are Missouri’s myriad occupational licensing requirements making it harder for women to enter the workforce?

A new study from the Women’s Foundation out Tuesdays suggests that while some licensing requirements protect the health and safety of Missourians, others limit women’s entry and re-entry into the workforce.

Catilin Troutman / KCUR 89.3

Amazon has officially started construction on a huge new fulfillment center in Kansas City, Kansas. 

The facility, which will sit on 190 acres of land near Interstate 70 and the Turner Diagonal, will provide more than 1,000 jobs to the underutilized area. 

Gary Guo, Amazon's Vice President of North America Operations, said the center will host Amazon's robotic technologies. It will fill orders for small items like books, electronics, and small household items. 

He said the center will be operating by the peak of holiday shopping in 2017. 

Some middle-skill jobs in America, which can provide good pay, remain unfilled because job seekers don't have the necessary training. Meanwhile, many people struggle to find promising job opportunities. Today's guests think programs offering technical and vocational education can help bridge that gap.

Guests:

GM Media / Wikimedia Commons

General Motors plans to invest $245 million in its Fairfax plant in Kansas City, Kansas, to manufacture a new sports utility vehicle, the firm confirmed Tuesday.

The new SUV, which industry analysts believe will be most likely sold as a Cadillac, according to published reports, had originally been slated to be built at a GM plant in Orion Township, Michigan.

“In January, we informed our employees that we would move production of an all-new vehicle planned for Orion Assembly to Fairfax Assembly in Kansas,” Christopher M. Bonelli, a GM spokesman, said in a statement.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

When Jim McKelvey started his company Square in St. Louis, he noticed a big problem. 

Every time he would hire a new engineer, he would get an angry phone call from their previous company accusing him of stealing their best programmer. 

"By the time I got the fourth call, it was obvious that the only way we could grow our company was at the expense of other firms in town," McKelvey says.  

As heartbreaking as it was to leave his hometown, McKelvey and his co-founder closed their St. Louis office.

Fresh off his third State of the Government address, Mayor and CEO of Wyandotte County Mark Holland is thinking about health care, small businesses and the need for population growth.

In the wake of another round of layoffs at Sprint, we explore if there's such as thing as a "safe" job in Kansas City. Plus, a local entrepreneur wonders if "Kansas City nice" is holding us back on the innovation front.

Guests:

There are ways to make a living that sound too good to be true. But they do exist. Consider the guy who makes stuff out of Legos for a living, or the one who plays his favorite records for several thousand friends on Friday and Saturday nights. How do you get those jobs?

Guests:

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR 89.3

Joe Nunnink says he has "the greatest job in the world."  The Kansas City-native is the master builder at Legoland Discovery Center at Crown Center.    

Nunnink played with Legos as a kid, but had set the iconic toys aside for more ‘grown up” art utensils when he went to the Kansas City Art Institute to study animation. After graduating, Joe worked as a bank teller while searching for another job.

neetalparekh / Flickr--CC

Late this week, Kansans got two interesting pieces of economic data within 24 hours of each other. Let's start with the second: the state's latest jobs report for November.

Gov. Sam Brownback certainly liked what it had to say, based on a Tweet he sent out Friday morning. 

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Skepticism from the Missouri Public Service Commission didn’t stop a company that wants to build a pipeline across the state to harness Kansas wind energy from signing a jobs agreement Thursday.

Clean Line Energy announced it will work with Kansas City-based PAR Electrical Contractors Inc. to create 1,300 jobs for Missourians during construction of the Grain Belt Express.

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