jobs

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.

neetalparekh / Flickr--CC

Kansas is adding private sector jobs, but not as quickly as economy-watchers would like.

The latest from the Kansas Department of Labor puts the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for May at 4.4 percent, up one-tenth of a percent from April but down very slightly from 2014. A wet spring meant fewer construction jobs. In total, Kansas gained 6,000 private sector jobs last year, growth of about half of a percent.

Ford Motor Company / Wikimedia Commons

The middle class is seemingly ever-present in American politics and ideals. President Obama pushed for what he calls "middle class economics" in his State of the Union address, and according to a Pew research study in 2012, nearly half of all Americans identified themselves as being part of the middle class.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

A day after a Department of Justice report called out the Ferguson, Mo., police department for racial bias, Gov. Jay Nixon was in Kansas City to tout a summer jobs program he says will help low-income young adults land their first job.

"It's where you first learn the value of a hard day's work, the pride that comes with earning your own paycheck and the liberty of spending it how you want to," says Nixon, "but for too many kids in low-income and minority communities, these opportunities just are not available."

Freelance Exchange of KC

America's 53 million freelancers are their own bosses, but face not having health insurance and job security. Up to Date looks at the pros and cons of freelance work and organizations that provide support for independent workers. 

Guests:

Sprint Begins Round Of Layoffs

Oct 3, 2014
Julie Denesha / KCUR

 

Overland Park-based Sprint Corp. has begun a series of workforce reductions, according to documents the Kansas telecommunications company filed Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The filing didn’t say how many employees would be affected by the layoffs, which the company began to implement on Tuesday.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Last week, Overland Park-based Sprint Corp. officials indicated job cuts were coming in the fall.  

The extent of the layoffs at the Kansas company, which employs roughly 7,000 people locally, hasn’t been divulged, but at least one Sprint worker is taking the news to heart.

“Personally, I am cleaning everything out of my cube,” said Peg McMahon, a Sprint employee who responded to our Tell KCUR question of the week.

Missouri politicians – including Gov. Jay Nixon and Kansas City Mayor Sly James — were joined by more than 100 Burns & McDonnell employees in the engineering firm’s parking lot Thursday for a ceremonial groundbreaking of the company’s headquarter expansion.

The firm’s plans call for two building near its current Ward Parkway world headquarter site, adding an additional 450,000 square feet of office space.

Lasse Fuss / WikiCommons

You like Kansas City’s cost of living.

And many of you came to enjoy the arts and entrepreneurship scenes after relocating here for a job.

But when we took to social media and asked you what brought you to Kansas City and why you stayed, we were inundated with love stories that led to KC roots.

Such was the case for Dave Shuck, who moved to Kansas City in 2002 from San Jose, Calif., after tracking down a former friend from high school.

Victor1558 / Flickr - CC

    

There are multiple tests out there that reduce your personality to a number, a one-word description, or a series of letters. Some say they’ve helped match the right person to the right job—maybe even to the right colleagues or romantic partners. But is personality simple enough to fit in such a box, or could a personality label lead people to change it, or live into it?

Photo Credit Purdue University

The Kansas City labor market deviates from the federal jobs picture in significant ways. That’s according to local and national reports released on August 2.     

Unemployment locally stayed stuck at 6.6 percent, where it’s been for some months, according to the Workforce Report by the Mid-America Regional Council.

The U.S. Department of Labor reported a slight drop in unemployment in July, but analysts were quick to point out most of the new jobs were either low paying or part-time.

Third Shift Workers Start At Claycomo Ford Plant

Aug 6, 2013
Dan Verbeck / KCUR 89.3

As promised in May, Ford Motor Company began a third assembly line shift Monday at the Claycomo Plant.

The 900-worker expansion brings the total of rank and file UAW jobs to some 4,500. The emphasis of the additional team will be making the F-150 pickup.

Plant manager Dan Jowiski said potential workers went through pre-interview testing to see if they were qualified to do the job. That was in late April, just before Ford started beefing up the force.

Jowiski cited strong company ties to the area when the jobs were announced this spring. 

Dan Verbeck / kcur

Speeches on the economy and the middle class in Illinois and Warrensburg, Mo. Wednesday were parts of a plan by President Obama.

President Obama said in Warrensburg he will take his message to a series of American towns in coming weeks.

In total, it was not a new theme. 

At University of Central Missouri the President talked of making a college education more affordable.

He also spoke of building more ladders for people to climb to the middle class, if willing to work for it. He said he would make early childhood education a priority.

Dan Verbeck / kcur

The world’s largest furniture business group IKEA has started construction at its newest site, along the I-35 corridor in Merriam, Kan.

The Swedish retailer is billing itself as a destination attraction and promises 300 permanent jobs.

Five hundred construction jobs are expected in the 18 months to build the complex.

Company officials say further that retail employees working over 20 hours a week get full-time benefits, 401(k) matching and paid vacation.

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