Workforce & Human Capital

The KC Chamber’s Workforce Development Initiative is working with businesses and education leaders across the metro to support member and community efforts to ensure the greater KC region has the quality and quantity of human capital to meet employer needs and sustain the region’s ability to compete in a global economy.

Attracting, retaining and maintaining an agile, talented and diverse workforce is essential to sustained growth and vitality of the Kansas City region across all economic conditions. To support this vision as the convener, we will focus on three overarching actions – Connect, Create, Promote and Advocate.

We have two focus areas,
• Attraction of new employees to regional employers for skilled and trade positions
• Retention of existing talent in the region (primarily in the 3 – 10 years of service)

Our workforce development initiative is led by John Ricciardelli of Honeywell FM&T.

Kansas Workforce Development Agenda

The Chamber supports adequate funding and policies to keep Kansas higher education institutions competitive and affordable, help retain graduates and quality faculty in the state, and measures to support alternative postsecondary training options to provide the region and the state with the world-class workforce necessary to meet the job demands of today and tomorrow. 

  • The KC Chamber calls for full restoration of the 2016 cuts to higher education funding so that funding amounts appropriated for the next two years will reflect pre-allotment levels. 
  • Support measures to stimulate career, technical, and trade education in the state including STEM education and workforce development initiatives designed to enhance the number of qualified employees available for critical jobs in the region. 
  • Support policy to enable high school students to gain college credit and/or postsecondary certifications and training at any public and not-for-profit institutions in the Kansas City area that offer appropriate programming to support their career interests. 
  • Support efforts to retain the autonomy of the Kansas Board of Regents and local control for the Johnson County Community College Board of Trustees. 

Missouri Workforce Development Agenda

We believe that every child should be given the opportunity to develop his or her talents to the fullest extent possible in order to gain access to the benefits of the American social, economic and political systems. Many factors affect the quality of public education provided to children in Missouri. A high quality, accessible, and accountable early childhood through post-graduate (P-20) public education system is essential to having a skilled workforce and provides the foundation for a competitive economy and an attractive quality of life. The Chamber believes strategic measures to achieve this quality education public system are paramount in creating and sustaining a vibrant economy and job growth in the region and the state. 

Early Education 

  • Support investments in high-quality early learning and Pre-K opportunities, including those that advance the development of the early education workforce. 
  • Support the alignment of accountability standards of all publicly-funded schools. 
  • Allow state boards to grant an initial visiting scholar certificate to teach in public schools, renewable at one year with a maximum of two years. 

Higher Education

Support adequate funding and measures to keep Missouri higher education institutions competitive and affordable, help retain graduates and faculty in the state, and provide the region and the state with the world-class workforce necessary to compete in the knowledge economy. 

  • Support programs focused on improving workforce development and efforts to streamline and update job training programs with adequate state funding. 
  • Support core appropriations requests, target investments and capital improvement needs for the University of Missouri system, UMKC and Metropolitan Community College system. 
  • Support appropriate funding of Access Missouri and the Missouri A+ Schools Program to ensure that all eligible students can receive meaningful tuition support. 
  • Support efforts by the MU system to ensure that the University of Missouri - Columbia retains its status as an AAU university.

Federal Workforce Development Agenda

KC area businesses report one of the greatest challenges they face is the global race for talent. Skilled workers are the backbone of a productive and efficient economy, and a critical decision point in today’s business location decisions. In the knowledge-based global marketplace of the 21st century, a well-educated population with technical skills and problem-solving abilities is key to Kansas City’s ability to innovate, grow, and compete. The Chamber calls on Congress to support policies and funding to encourage a robust PK-20 public education system, keep higher education accessible, and encourage workforce development. 

Pre K-20 Education

The KC Chamber supports policies and funding to encourage a robust PK-20 public education system emphasizing pursuit of exemplary education including appropriate technical training and a rigorous science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) curriculum based on globally competitive standards and fostering a well-trained, productive, competitive workforce. The Chamber calls for: 

  • Local control of education systems. (The Chamber opposes efforts to reduce federal education investment based on state funding and tuition levels and policies that support or incentivize K-12 scholarship tax credits, tax tuition credits, vouchers and similar measures). 
  • Policies to encourage collaboration between superintendents and government officials as education policy is developed.
  • Maintaining formula funding for Title I as opposed to a competitive grant model.
  • Investment in early learning programs including Head Start, Early Head Start, and the Child Care Development Block Grant to allow assistance to an increased number of eligible children/families.
  • Full funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA).
  • Programs to keep higher education accessible and affordable by maintaining funding for need-based student aid programs, including maximum level funding for year-long Pell Grants and other federal student aid programs, and increased federal investments to serve students seeking in-demand, non-credit credentials.
  • Preservation and improvement of higher education tax incentives. 
  • Efforts to encourage workforce development including increased funding for Graduate Medical Education (GME) to address the impending physician shortage and continued financial support of the Public Health Services Act (PHSA) which supports education and training for health care workers.


Globally Competitive Workforce Development

  • Creating a competitive workforce involves “cradle thru career” strategies to strengthen the workforce pipeline, retool the incumbent workforce, and access an international talent pool. The Chamber supports:
  • Policies that promote labor productivity, provide job training skills, and encourage more citizens to enter or re-enter the workforce, including full funding for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).
  • Increased investment in secondary level technical education, adult education, and English as a second language.
  • Efforts to improve integration of secondary and post-secondary programs including promotion of increased dual credit opportunities.