PREP-KC’s Career Academies prepare Kansas City’s urban students for the regional workforce by providing intensive preparation for high-growth, high demand careers. By connecting teachers, business and industry professionals, and colleges, PREP-KC takes learning out of the classroom and into the workplace. Students have the opportunity to work on industry-themed projects, receive guidance and mentoring from industry professionals, and participate in summer institutes that extend learning year-round. Career Academy graduates leave high school with college credit, workforce credentials, and real-world experience that will give them a jumpstart on their futures. PREP-KC currently supports 500 students in our career academies, and these students have demonstrated considerable success during and after high school. Currently, PREP-KC is developing plans to significantly expand the academies and offer these powerful opportunities to even more students from the region’s urban core.
Business & Finance Institute
State Street has high hopes that the Business Finance Institute sponsored through PREP-KC will provide qualified and motivated candidates for business-related jobs in Kansas City. With exposure to the professional business environment and focused development on business-essential skills, these students should have a leg-up for local Kansas City business jobs. These students will likely be inclined to remain the Kansas City area—strengthening the future business career field.
PREP-KC’s Business and Finance Institute (BFI) prepares students for a career in Kansas City’s robust financial services sector. BFI provides students with the opportunity to take college coursework such as Intro to Business Practices at UMKC and MCC-Longview while still in high school. BFI students also develop relationships with professional mentors from State Street, PriceWaterhouseCooper, and BMO Harris. In addition to college credit and professional mentoring, BFI students also compete in case competitions, entrepreneurship challenges, and other industry-themed projects that develop the skills needed to succeed in the finance industry.
The Google Fiber field trip was great and I liked learning about how the internet and technology can help the community and us. I look forward to learning more next year!
PREP-KC designed the TechStart Academy to address the significant gap between regional employers’ need for tech talent and urban students’ preparation for tech-based careers. TechStart equips students with the skills and knowledge they need to get a head start in computer science, coding, cyber security, advanced manufacturing, and other technology-related career pathways. Through TechStart, students earn college credits while in high school, and also develop a professional portfolio and earn workforce credentials.
Life Sciences—Health Start
The best part of HealthStart was getting my CNA license and working with patients during clinicals.
As the largest and fastest growing sector of Kansas City’s workforce, health science careers provide one of the best opportunities for students to build a secure and successful future. PREP-KC’s HealthStart academy gives students the skills and experiences they need to accelerate their entry into the health sciences professions. HealthStart students get hands-on experience in a variety of health science fields including nursing, dentistry, medicine, and pharmacy. These hands-on experiences are complemented with college coursework and workforce certification opportunities that allow HealthStart students to graduate from high school with both workforce credentials like Certified Nursing Assistant and EMT credentials as well as significant progress towards an associates’ degree.
The best parts of Bioscience Academy were learning how to detect diseases, working with genes and using real lab equipment.
Kansas City lies in the heart of the bi-state KC Animal Health Corridor, which is the home to more than 300 animal health companies, representing the largest concentration of these assets in the world. PREP-KC’s bioscience academy provides urban students a pathway into this high-demand, high pay workforce. PREP-KC works with the KC Animal Health Corridor to create an innovative course of study that develops the specialized skill sets needed to excel in the bioscience industry. Bioscience students take college coursework while still in high school that helps them master aseptic lab techniques, principles of bioscience, and quality control procedures that are critical to obtaining workforce credentials. These students also receive 9 college credits towards a bioscience major. Early college coursework is reinforced through customized classes and projects offered throughout the school year by bioscience instructors teaching at PREP-KC’s partner high schools.
Architecture, Engineering, & Construction
Two advantages of the Engineering Academy were the hands-on projects and making new connections.
Since 2011, PREP-KC has prepared students for careers in engineering that blends hands-on learning that focuses on understanding the principles of engineering with opportunities to apply this knowledge during extended year programming that connects students with local engineering and architectural firms. Given the success of the engineering academy and the demand of regional employers, PREP-KC is also developing supports for students to prepare for careers in architecture and construction arts. This expanded set of career pathways will help more students connect their interests and strengths with a broader set of careers in this growing sector.