Community Colleges In Kansas City – South KC, including Grandview and Belton, will choose between two candidates running for the Metropolitan Community College board in Subdistrict 6 on April 5.
Michael Brown currently serves on the board and is seeking another six-year term. Brown says his primary vision is to develop a new MCC campus near E. 87th Street and I-435 near the Cerner Corporation. One possible location would be at The Glade, a 325-acre mixed-use community under construction that will include a biotech research park.
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“It started with conversations, but now it’s led to drawings,” says Brown. “We’re very close…if I can just push this over the finish line.
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Brown would like to see a low-skill campus accessible to students graduating from the Center, Grandview, Hickman Mills and Raytown school districts. The goal is to develop a workforce for jobs in renewable energy, digital records management, life science lab support, and urban agriculture. He hopes to strengthen partnerships with Cerner and the Stowers Institute to achieve this.
According to Brown, too much emphasis is placed on MCC’s role as a stepping stone to a four-year college degree. He points to a drop in attendance (at least 10%) since Covid and believes more students would sign up if they could see a good job at the end of skills training.
“Kids are falling through the cracks,” says Brown, who also wanted to see a medical school established, perhaps in an abandoned high school building, to offer family support services and literacy classes with the goal of getting a high school diploma. “We could then bring those kids right onto our campus.”
Brown works at the Kansas City Public Library and lives in the Hickman Mills neighborhood. He was previously elected to the Missouri House of Representatives from 2005-2013.
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Running against Brown is Chris Benjamin, who wants to strengthen MCC’s role as a strong driver of economic development in the region “even more than it is today” by expanding its borders, keeping programs affordable and emphasizing job training.
Benjamin says he would bring new energy to the board and wants to increase business partnerships and community relations, especially in places like Belton, Grandview and Lee’s Summit. He sees opportunities for MCC to grow in Cass County as well as regionally by introducing job-ready programming for students entering various trades and interested in starting their own small businesses.
The Longview campus is already doing this with car programs, Benjamin says, but more could be done. He is currently meeting with the Belton School District to explore the possibility of evening business classes.
One of the biggest problems is getting additional state investment for community colleges, he says. “There is a lot we can do to show the state that this is economic development, not just an investment in higher education.”
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Benjamin is a trial lawyer at KC Road Lawyers and lives in the Loch Llyod community. He previously served as Chief of Staff to the Speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives and General Counsel to the Majority Leader. He also served in the Missouri Senate. This video shows how and its partners will fund the new $70 million KCK Community Education, Health and Wellness Center. Being good fiscal managers and partners focus on fundraising and grants to raise needed funds rather than raising taxes.
In 2023, Kansas City Kansas Community College will celebrate its centennial. was founded in 1923 with the mission of providing affordable, accredited, and local junior college courses to college students in Kansas City, Kan. Over the next 100 years, it would grow and change alongside the communities it serves, but with the same focus on providing affordable college, career and technical education.
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MCC is Kansas City’s oldest public university, founded in 1915 as Kansas City Polytechnic Institute with its campus at 11th Street and Locust originally offering a junior high school, teacher training college, high school, mechanical arts school, a. trade school and business school. It was one of the first schools in the country to issue a two-year associate’s degree, and it was the third school in the country to be accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools in 1918. It changed its name to Junior College. in Kansas City in 1919.
In 1964, the suburban schools of Belton, Cter, Grandview, Hickman Mills, Lee’s Summit, North Kansas City, and Raytown joined the Kansas City School District to form the Metropolitan Community College District and took over administration of the school from the Kansas City School District. to form the university’s board of trustees. Blue Springs, Park Hill, Indepdce and Fort Osage school districts joined the network in the 1980s and 1990s.
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The Longview, Maple Woods, and Pn Valley campuses were established in 1969. The Blue River campus opened in 1997, and the Business & Technology campus opened in 2002, with tire institution officially named Metropolitan Community College in 2005.
Before the consolidation of the Metropolitan name, the campuses had their own local name (e.g., Longview Community College, Maple Woods Community College, Pn Valley Community College).
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