Building a Ladder of Opportunity

Kauffman Scholars Inc. is helping build a ladder to an inclusive prosperity for Kansas City students. Having already guided nearly 1,000 students into regional higher education institutions and several hundred alumni, you might think the program would be wrapping up their work. Instead, KSI is focused on the future: the future of scholars poised to build a diverse workforce in the Kansas City region.

On Jan. 5, 2018, KSI held its second J.I.V.E Fair (Job, Internship, Volunteer, and Education Fair). This rolled out a comprehensive year-long strategy to develop scholars' career development skills and connect them to the vibrant Kansas City market. The fair brought in more than 100 exhibitors, recognizing the significance of interacting with new and diverse talent.

By 2044, our nation will be majority people-of-color creating an economic imperative for our companies and industries: without more opportunity for a diverse and inclusive workforce there will be a stagnation of economic growth. We need all Americans to have access to living wage jobs and strong, safe communities to build a robust economic future.

“You know, if you have the same people who look the same, that do the same thing, that come from the same background, you're getting the same result. So, bringing in someone who has a different background than you, they have a different perspective,” Erynn Campbell, a Kauffman Scholar Alumni, said.

As cities like Kansas City receive more Millennials and Gen X residents representing the future of our nation, being intentional to create a welcoming and inviting environment is essential to our inclusive prosperity. Through events like J.I.V.E, as well as job shadowing, industry conversations, leadership development and a forum to discuss the future of Millennial talent in Kansas City will create a network of support and connections between the talent of tomorrow and our Kansas City leaders, industries, and organizations.

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