Missouri Gov. Mike Parson visits UMKC on Workforce and Education Tour

Missouri Governor Mike Parson discusses partnerships between the universities and workforce with Kansas City leaders. (Twitter)

Hayden Baker

Gov. Mike Parson hosted a roundtable at UMKC to bring together Kansas City area leaders earlier this month. 

Parson held the event, which took place in Bloch Executive Hall on Feb. 9, to discuss partnerships between the university and the workforce. Most of the nearly 25 attendees were UMKC administrators, MCC administrators and community leaders. 

“Chancellor Agrawal and Chancellor Kimberly Beatty (MCC) mentioned multiple times they have an ongoing partnership to allow MCC students to easily transition to UMKC,” said Riley Newton, a strategic communications specialist for UMKC. “The two also mentioned ‘many’ partnership programs currently in the works between the two universities.”

One existing partnership is UMKC’s affiliation with University Health, an academic health center with locations throughout Jackson County. The UMKC Health Sciences District, which includes the UMKC School of Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, and Nursing and Health Studies, is a cooperative partnership that UMKC formed with University Health in 2017.  

A newer alliance is the Professional Mobility Escalators program, in which UMKC students get hands-on experience in health care, education, business, engineering or law. Opportunities include internships, career guidance and a $2,500 per year on-campus housing scholarship.   

Future collaborations, however, were the main focus of the meeting. 

“It was more of a discussion about what potential partnerships could be formed between UMKC, Metropolitan Community College, Kansas City Public Schools and businesses in the greater Kansas City area,” Newton said. 

UMKC was only one stop on Parson’s Workforce and Education tour. Since visiting UMKC on Feb. 9, Parson has hosted roundtables at Mizzou, Missouri State, Missouri Southern and other universities.  

“We are proud of our higher education institutions,” Parson tweeted on Feb. 10. “And we will continue working to help these organizations increase access to education, strengthen our workforce, and give Missourians the skills and on-the-job training they need to be successful.” 

Due to the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Missouri has a budget surplus for the fiscal year 2022. In his State of the State Address last month, Parson outlined his plans for investing some of these funds in Missouri’s future. 

“Governor Parson recommended nearly $600 million in higher education investments that are expected to generate over $1.1 billion in economic impact for the state, strengthen communities assets, and bolster workforce development programs,” the administration wrote in a press release published on the Missouri Governor website

Chancellor Mauli Agrawal indicated during the roundtable that he plans to invest UMKC’s portion of these funds into UMKC’s Health Sciences District. 

“When I first became governor, improving infrastructure and workforce development were the two main goals,” Parson said. “We are building the foundation of that right now.”

[email protected]