area students find out about the well-paying jobs in the area | Business

Students in Clay County and Platte got a glimpse of the explosion of well-paying local jobs at the third round of 2021 Career Lectures on Tuesday, November 16.

Sponsored by the Northland Education and Business Alliance, the program is part of a monthly virtual career showcasing information about careers in the region offering high pay and benefits. The focus for November included architecture, construction, science, technology, engineering, and math.

Speakers said “soft skills” like showing up on time or communicating were a constant priority. However, they also pointed to the almost incredible demand and opportunities that these careers offer today.

“There are so many opportunities here,” noted Martha McCabe of the Kansas City STEM Alliance. “There is a lot of excitement here.

Engineering was a good example. While middle school, college and high school students may not know it, Kansas City is a national, if not international, center for many of these fields and related careers.

“Kansas City is the sports architecture capital of the world,” noted McCabe. “I am excited about the variety of activities that take place here. “

Opportunities abound

One big surprise was the variety of opportunities within even a single field. Brian Freeman, owner of HomeSmart Legacy Construction, started his career “in a van” by learning the basics. Today he takes care of everything from supply chains to advanced design.

Meghan Morsches of Restaurant, Pub & Games, first entered nursing after earning a bachelor’s degree. Today, she designs and builds play centers and other restaurant equipment, although none of her previous skills are “wasted”.

“Being able to connect with people and sell yourself is really important no matter what you do,” she said. “Plus, attention to detail and the pursuit of excellence will take you a long way in any industry. “

Tiffany Moore, director of facilities and construction for The Built Companies, used her writing, organizing and problem-solving skills to try out several jobs that led to a managerial position. Others noted that many internship, mentoring and learning opportunities are often readily available if a young person puts in the effort.

Another assumption that students should avoid is thinking that “soft skills” are not important. Ron Gregg, owner / engineer of Gregg Engineering and Technology, said that while he spends a lot of time writing computer code, these so-called basic skills are invaluable.

“The ability to deal well with people and be invited back (for more business) is essential,” said Gregg. “Simple problem-solving skills and relationship skills are a must in any business. “

One area, several skills

While basic skills like getting along with others are important in any field, young people should also know that career fields are anything but monolithic. All architects or builders will obviously work in or around construction, but individuals can focus on work in health or education, working only in hospitals or schools. Each “sub-domain” will have unique demands, regulations and challenges. This strain is a big draw for many.

Donald Slack, director of training and apprenticeship coordinator for the Greater Kansas City Labor Training Center, starts his day in an office, then moves outside where he works with those starting their careers in multiple fields. . A similar strain is a big draw to Jessica Carson, Construction Manager at JE Dunn.

“There are many facets, layers and moving parts – it makes your day to day very different,” she said. “Communication with partners is essential. You need to make sure your building partners are all up to speed and that everything is fine.

This variety brings surprising requirements. Laura Wagner, executive director of Western Missouri & Kansas LECET, noted that her language arts skills are essential.

“Writing is one of the most important things for me in this job,” she said.

Slack agreed and added another surprise as well.

“Listening skills are really important,” he said. “The minute you think you know it all, you’re in trouble. “

Look around you

Almost all of the speakers cited spectacular opportunities in the region – employment opportunities as well as learning opportunities for students interested in these fields. One of them is the Northland Center for Advanced Professional Studies.

“CAPS is present in all schools in Clay County and Platte and we are currently preparing 340 internships,” said Brett Kisker, NEBA member and executive director of Northland CAPS. “In addition, many high schools offer STEM programs. Chat with your advisors and find out what’s available.

Even with all of these opportunities, these hands-on careers have one more appeal that might be missed: seeing real results when a project is completed.

“It’s very gratifying to see our projects once completed,” said Lily Riehl, structural engineer at Hollis + Miller Architects. “It’s really amazing to see a building you worked on. This is one of the things that really attracts me to this job.

Other people involved in the Nov. 16 series included NEBA Co-Chairs Courtney Reyes and Amy Washam, former NEBA Co-Chair Adam Jelenic, Athena Graham of the North Kansas City School District and tech support Christy Collins. .

The next NEBA Career Series event will take place in January and will focus on the arts, audio / video technology, communications and information technology. Additional information and registration is available on the Events page of the NEBA website,

Programs for the Career Lecture Series and other events are also available on NEBA’s YouTube channel,

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