Your Chamber at Work - April 1, 2019


Tomorrow represents a potential milestone for Kansas City’s workforce as voters go to the polls to decide whether to approve a 3/8ths cent sales tax for Pre-K for KCMO’s four-year-olds. The KC Chamber Board supports the measure and urges you to vote “yes” on Question 1 – Pre-K For KC.

Passage will positively affect not only the workforce of tomorrow – the youngsters who will benefit long-term thanks to quality early childhood education – but also will benefit the workforce of today. Those two points were made very clearly by Julia Barfield of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation at our recent forum on Pre-K.

As she told us, 40 percent of businesses can’t take on more work because they can’t fill the jobs they have. By 2020, she said, there will be six million unfilled jobs. Unemployment is low, but those figures don’t include the 37 percent of people not in the labor force. And the number one reason they’re staying home is because of the high cost and/or lack of access to childcare. Pre-K would allow many of those to re-enter the job market.

Meanwhile, as I’ve mentioned before in this publication, one in three Kansas City kids doesn’t have the skills they need when they enter kindergarten and are behind before they even start. Quality early childhood education will make the difference.

The Pre-K for KC plan was developed after long and careful study, and modeled after Denver’s successful Pre-K program.

Twenty of the 40 largest cities in our nation are already funding Pre-K with local dollars. Those cities are our competitors, and Kansas City can’t afford to be left behind. Please vote “yes” on Question 1 tomorrow.


The Kansas City Urban Youth Academy has the vision to become the epicenter of youth baseball throughout the Midwest, starting with the urban community. It’s located right in the backyard of our historic 18th & Vine District. Join us for the next Neighborhood Networking event Friday, April 5 to learn how the Academy works with youth ages 6-18 to instill in them a love of baseball and softball, but more importantly lessons on teamwork, good citizenship, and opportunities to be the leaders of tomorrow. The event is from 8:30 -10 a.m. and is free for members and $15 for non-members. Register here. The KC Chamber’s 2019 networking sponsors are Mazuma, SS&C, and Sprint. Thanks to Neighborhood Networking sponsors Andrews McMeel Universal and Spectrum Reach.


The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce is proud to host the graduation ceremony for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Hiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellows from Fort Leavenworth, KS, Thursday, April 11. This unique event is from 9-11 a.m. It provides veterans with an opportunity to connect with area businesses that value the skills they acquired in the Corporate Fellowship program, that will make these veterans leaders in the civilian workforce. More than half of the graduates are local. The public is invited to attend and show your support. This is the first of three graduations for 2019. If you can’t make this one, save the date for the July 25 ceremony sponsored by Cerner, or the November 14 ceremony sponsored by Pioneer Services. The event is free but please register.


We all come from different backgrounds, and that creates unique strengths that we can bring to the workplace. We can also bring our own limited view, known as implicit bias. This session takes place Friday, April 12 from 11:30-1:30 p.m. It’s designed to help recognize implicit bias, understand how it impacts the workplace, and how to implement strategies to reduce it. The event is free and lunch is provided, but please register in advance. Participants who attend all four sessions will receive a special recognition at the completion of the series. Save the following dates for the next three sessions: Promoting a Diverse Workforce on June 7; Implementing Diversity & Inclusion Program in the Workplace on August 9, and Understanding a Supplier Diversity Program on October 18. This series comes out of the results of the 2018 KC Chamber Regional Diversity and Inclusion Survey.


We know Spring has arrived because our 2019 Small Business Celebration is here . On Friday, April 5, CEOs at some of Kansas City’s best small businesses might be a bit excited and distracted during their workday. That’s when Chamber staff will unexpectedly show up at their business to congratulate them for being selected as a Top 10 Business of the Year. On May 2, the CEOs of the Top 10 will share the stories of their business challenges and success at the Top 10 Think Tank Breakfast presented by Bank Midwest. Then May 23 the Chamber hosts the Small Business Awards Luncheon, presented by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, where we announce the Small Business of the Year. Of course all of this officially kicked off at our recent Candidates’ Showcase, where all 80 of the Small Business of the Year nominees were celebrated.