Putting Education to Work

Manual Career Tech hosts 2017 launch of Hire KC Youth program


Kansas City, February 22, 2017: Dominique, a senior in the Culinary Arts program at the Kansas City Public Schools Manual Career and Technical Center, is making his career one omelet at a time.

Director of Career and Technical Education Rashawn Caruthers and her staff at Manual hosted the launch of the 2017 Hire KC Youth program during a breakfast event on Wednesday, Feb. 22.

In addition to KCPS staff, dozens of entrepreneurs from across the region, Kansas City Mayor Sly James and Hire KC Youth officials were on hand to talk about how they can make sure that as many young people as possible can find meaningful work over the summer.

Dominique was one of 23 Culinary Arts students who prepared and served breakfast for the event. Little did he know when the breakfast started that he and his classmates would be offered jobs before they were done serving.

It was special guest Kevin Timmons who made the surprise announcement. Timmons owns several Nick & Jake’s restaurants in the region and is vice president of the Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association.

“We are pledging to hire 50 youths in our restaurants as part of this program,” Timmons said, addressing the students. “You’re hired!”

Hire KC Youth began in 2014 as an initiative to find summer employment with the city for young people, according to KC Social Innovation Center Executive Director Kari Keefe. The program is being significantly expanded this year to give more students more opportunities.

The breakfast was in-part a chance for program organizers to ask local business owners to hire youths over the summer and year-round for jobs and internships. The restaurant association pledge was made to help motivate other employers to step up.

“This is all about hiring the kids of Kansas City and putting them to work,” Mayor James said. “These kids are 100 percent of our future. They are our workforce.”

Dominique, who was busy fixing omelets for the event, smiled at the prospect of a job in a kitchen this summer. He’s dreamed of becoming a chef since he was a child.

“This is huge for me,” he said. “Being in the culinary arts program here at Manual means that I have an opportunity to do something I’ve thought about every day since second grade.”

Manual Career and Technical Center is a shared-time attendance Center for KCPS high school students. The center offers eight career and technical programs at three sites, including Culinary Arts, Construction, Health Care CNA, Automotive Technology, Automotive Collision, Agriculture, Fashion Design and TV Production.

The center prepare students to enter a highly educated workforce or to begin post-secondary education. Successful completion of a designated program allows MCTC students to be eligible for articulated or dual college credit and access to employment placement services.