>>Good morning. And welcome to the Emerging
Professions Forum: High Demand, High Wage. My name is Martha McCabe, and I’m the Executive
Director of the Kansas City STEM Alliance. The KC STEM Alliance is a collaborative network
of educators, business partners, and organizations that inspires interest in science, technology,
engineering, and math careers to generate a robust force of related professionals for
our community. KC STEM Alliance is delighted to join fellow workforce and education partners
Blue Valley Schools, the DeSoto Unified School District, Johnson County Community College
and Kansas Workforce Partnership in the planning for today.
Safety is JCCC’s highest priority. Please note that the exits from the Polsky Theatre
are clearly marked above the doorways. In the event of an emergency, please dial 4111
to notify campus police. And restrooms are located out the doors and to your left down
the hall. Today’s forum showcases the importance of
a shared vision for regional opportunities and future success for our high school graduates,
how our local demand for educated workers is exceeding the supply, and to highlight
current high demand and high wage career opportunities available here in Kansas City.
It is my pleasure to serve this morning as your emcee, and at this time I would like
to introduce Dr. Joseph Sopcich, president of the Johnson County Community College to
welcome all of you and share his comments about the value of today’s forum. Dr. Joseph
Sopcich is the fifth president of Johnson County Community College. He has been with
JCCC since 1992 serving over the years as Executive Director of Institutional Advancement
and Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. He taught as an adjunct in the college’s
business division from 2006 to 2014. Dr. Sopcich earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from
the University of Notre Dame and a Ph.D from the University of Kansas. Let’s give Dr. Sopcich
a round of applause. [Applause]
>>Thank you, Martha. And welcome to Johnson County Community College. And also to the
Polsky Theatre. I have to ask, how many of you — is this the first time you’ve ever
been in the Polsky? Wow! That’s terrific! Well, this is a wonderful theatre, it has
about 400 seats, and I’d like to point out that you see all these little white boxes
across — all over the ceiling, that’s a part of a special, I guess you could say, Hi-Fi
stereo system that was — we were able to put in thanks to the generosity of a donor.
And that gives us a real super high fidelity, high quality sound when we’re up on stage
here. So I think it’s really cool to talk about that and it’s just representative of
how this community all works together. I’m supposed to say a few remarks about Workforce
Development and STEM. Last week I had the good fortune of being in Washington, D.C.
for the — and it was a good fortune to be in Washington, D.C. — oh, good, I can tell
Washington jokes the whole time, very receptive audience. But it was the National Legislative
Summit for Community Colleges. And community college trustees and presidents kind of descended
on Washington, or perhaps ascended to Washington, to talk about some of the issues of the day.
And the one common theme that was persistent whenever there was a speaker on stage or a
presentation made was the importance of the role of the community college in workforce
development and what’s happening in our country with regards to the economy.
And it was kind of a fascinating — fascinating theme because there was a real upbeat optimism
about what can be done when everyone pulls together. And today, today that challenge
is not just with community colleges, but it certainly extends to universities and very
importantly to K-12 systems as well, as everyone must work together to try to do what’s in
the best interest of our economy, our country, but most importantly of the students that
we serve. So today I would like to thank KC — the KC
STEM Alliance, KC Rising, the Workforce Development Partnership, everyone here for spending some
time to discuss these really and critical issues that affect all of us.
Now, it’s going to be my pleasure to introduce Dr. Doug Girod, and this is a rather lengthy
introduction despite his desire for me to shorten it, I just can’t because it’s fascinating.
Dr. Girod is the Executive Vice Chancellor of the University of Kansas Medical Center.
He oversees the educational research, patient care and community engagement missions of
the University of Kansas Schools of Medicine, nursing and health professions, and their
total annual enrollment of more than 3,300 students and a workforce of more than 2100
faculty and more than 4,000 staff, research funding of nearly $100 million, and campuses
in Kansas City, Wichita, Salina and activities in every country and the state of Kansas as
well as in Western Missouri, elsewhere in the country, and internationally.
Girod earned bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of California at Davis,
and his medical degree from the University of California at San Francisco. He completed
his residency and NIH Research Fellowship at the University of Washington in Seattle.
A surgeon, Girod joined the University of Kansas Medical Center faculty in 1994 and
quickly rose to the academic ranks, becoming Chair of the Otolaryngology — you could have
been — you could have been cardiology or something, but — Department in 2002. Now,
what that means is that otolaryngology is really the diseases of the ears, nose and
throat and also the base of the skull, and Doug deals primarily with cancer in those
areas. He served in the United States Navy Reserve
from 1982, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Commander and later earning the Meritorious
Service Medal. He was honorably discharged in 1997. I tell you, it’s great to have Doug
here, and now whenever we introduce somebody I keep — I feel like I have to say, “And
he’s great, he’s going to be so great,” and we know Doug’s going to be great.
[Laughter]>>Wow! And Trump jokes are fair game, that’s
fantastic! Please help me welcome to the stage Dr. Doug Girod.
[Applause]>>Thank you, Joe, for that very, very nice
introduction. And I’ll try to keep the Trump jokes to a minimum. They asked me to come
today to talk about an initiative I’ve been involved with for almost three years now,
a civic engagement, really, around growing the prosperity of the region. We call it KC
Rising, and it’s an initiative that started really out of a strategic retreat in Dallas,
Texas from the Civic Council, and they heard report from the Brookings Institute, along
with Mid-America Regional Council that ended up in a report called Prosperity at a Crossroads,
if you want to look it up, but it really looked at the Kansas City metropolitan-wide bi-state
economy and how it was performing relative to before the recession of 2008-2009. And
really, that report, as my co-chair in this effort Scott Smith likes to say was it was
really — things were going okay, but the check engine light was blinking, if you will,
because there were some features of the economy that were not going well. We were not recovering
out of that recession as fast as a lot of our peer cities. And it really was through
that conversation that — that discussions started in the business community that this
seemed like a really good time to think about a specific civic engagement to try and put
some initiatives together to redirect, to ramp up that economy and to continue to grow
the economy in the metro area and the jobs that go with that.
So a number of civic organizations came together, and I would say that I think this is probably
the first time this group of organizations came together to this high degree of collaboration
to work together around this, so the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City, the Mid-America
Regional Council, the Chamber — Greater Chamber, and the Kansas City Area Development Council.
And so all these agencies came together to help staff, support and organize this effort,
but it’s really been through volunteership of business leaders, civic leaders, and academic
leaders have really done the work behind this effort, really, to try and pull together a
shared vision for regional prosperity, again, for the entire bi-state Kansas City Metropolitan
Area. And we’ve had well over — actually, almost 300 volunteers now involved in this
process as we’ve gone through the initiative to look at where some opportunities might
be. When we started this out, Scott Smith and
I, we — we’ve talked to a lot of the chambers of Commerce, the Economic Development Councils,
the Academic and Business Leaders, we really recruited a very robust steering committee
that helped us kick this thing off. And as we started out at the very beginning, we knew
that we wanted to put something together that was meaningful. A lot of us had been involved
in some strategic planning processes that then sit on the shelf for the next five or
ten years, so we weren’t really very interested in doing that. So we knew it needed to be
transparent, collaborative, we knew it needed to be data-driven, and we needed to have metrics
that we could see that we were going to be accountable for that. So we spent a lot of
time doing research with Mid-America Regional Council team as well as the Civic Council
Analytics team to think about what would those metrics be? If we as a community pull together
and say we’re going to grow this economy, how would we measure that?
And this is what we ultimately settled in, what we call the big dots, three big dots.
And the first one is quality jobs. If we’re growing our economy, we’re growing the number
of quality jobs, not just jobs, quality jobs. So we have about a million jobs in the Greater
Kansas City Metro Area and by this classification, about 400- to 500,000 of those would be considered
a quality job. And within this metric a quality job is one that requires either a certificate
or degree, post-secondary certificate or degree or has a wage that’s above the average for
that job classification, so a good-paying job.
The other one, obviously, if you’re growing your economy, sort of the no-brainer one,
is your gross domestic product for the region, or regional demand product, you can’t grow
your economy if you’re not growing your GDP. And so obviously that’s a measure, but that’s
a very global, high level measure. And we really wanted to be sure that this initiative
didn’t just impact 10% of our community, we really wanted for this to be a broad-based
effort to really elevate all boats in the community, and that’s really where we ultimately
settled on the median household income. Because if you’re going to move that number, you really
have to raise the prosperity for your entire community, you can’t do it for just a slice
of the community. So we really figured if we could — if we could move these three dots,
then we were actually probably being successful as a community to grow our — our economy.
But we didn’t just want to measure against ourselves, either, because we live in a very,
very active economic environment across this country, we have regents changing all the
time, so we needed a peer group to measure ourselves against. And we looked at a lot
of different ways to do that, but ultimately settled on just size, what are the 15 communities
that are larger than us, and what are the 15 communities smaller than us, and that’s
our weight class, if you will. So these — the communities, the metropolitan
areas that line up on that, on the left side you see the ones that are larger than us,
they get up to about 3 million people in a metropolitan area, and on the right side you
see the ones that are smaller than us, and it gets down to just over a million people
in that range. So these are really the metropolitan areas that we in a sense are competing with
for — in the economy. And we — our goal is to be in the top 10 in those three big
dots comparing ourselves to these — these 30 other communities.
To align our work, we worked with the Brookings Institute to develop a framework to do this,
and we really focused in three main areas: Trade, ideas, and people.
And trade is really how you grow that GDP. You cannot grow your economy if all you’re
doing is selling goods and services to each other in your community. You don’t grow that
way, you have to export. You have to export goods and services, create those jobs here
for the exports and bring the money back into our community to grow the economy. So — so
trade a very big one of those. We also need to finds the next big startup
companies. So Kansas City’s got an incredible entrepreneurial history, think about Sprint,
Cerner, Garmin, H & R Block, Merriam Labs, obviously a lot very successful startup companies
have come up out of Kansas City over the last generations, but we really need the next wave
of those, so how do we make sure we have an environment that’s conducive to that and that
we don’t lose those startup companies to the coast, which happens with some regularity.
And then lastly, most importantly, and really the reason we’re all here today, is really
the human capital piece of this, because none of this works if you don’t have the workforce
behind it. If you’re really going to grow your companies, if you’re really going to
grow your industries, you have to have the right workforce to do that, and you have to
be able to grow them and you have to be able to recruit them and you have to be able to
retain them. So those are the three areas that we really focused. Obviously these are
not silos, there are a lot of things that interact across these and we knew that that
was going to be the case, and we certainly looked for those opportunities. And we also
knew that there were going to need to be some metrics in each one of these areas that ultimately
would feed up to move the big dots, but we needed to be able to measure activity at a
much lower activity as well. So as we started to work and pull these together,
we had work groups around each of these with — with co-chairs for each of these work groups.
And as I said, well in excess of 200 volunteers staffing these, or working on these different
initiatives since we went through it, and I’ll go briefly through each of them. But
I want to spend a little bit of time on workforce in particular since that’s really why we’re
here today. So we really focused in workforce, and Sandy
Price from former HR VP for Sprint, and Michael Roane for JE Dunn led this group, but there
were over 60 volunteers, actually, in this group alone, six different task forces, because
there’s so much going on in this space, a lot of it really good, and we knew when we
kicked this off we didn’t want to replicate anything that was already happening, we didn’t
want to duplicate, we didn’t want to create a lot of unnecessary bureaucracy, but we also
wanted to see what was working well and what could we leverage that was working well, and
where are there gaps that we could step into with some new initiatives to try to address
those gaps. So we focused — for workforce we really focused
around the alignment, access and attraction. So alignment we heard a little bit, even Joe
mentioned it, a little bit of the challenge of making sure you have the workforce with
the right sets of skills for what your jobs are. And really that Brookings report showed
us that that was not the case. In the Kansas City Metro Area we do pretty well in attainment
of — occasional attainment. We have a huge mismatch in the degrees that we’re producing
and the jobs that we have open, and STEM, being the biggest one of those mismatches,
as you’ll hear, I’m sure, more about today. So this concept of a talent-to-industry exchange
is really a very concerted effort, Mid-America Regional Council’s taken the charge on this
one with Sherri Gonzales, to really do surveys in particular job areas and then work with
business leaders in those job areas to understand what are the actual competencies that are
needed for those and to get alignment between those competencies and our institutions of
higher education to make sure that we are lining those up and that we are — and we
have a pathway to connect those. And so we — we start — our first one is in the life
sciences, actually, it’s pretty far along, will kick off later this spring; second one
in the design and construction area; a third one, actually, in construction will go on
this coming year. So really a robust model that’s now been developed to do this, and
hopefully we’ll be able to continue to click through a number of these very high demand
environments to get that alignment piece going. Access, and that’s certainly a challenge for
all of us and our community colleges play a huge role in this access arena, but we know
that a significant part of our population’s challenged to gain access. And so working
with Kauffman Foundation, you’re probably now familiar with the KC Scholars Program
that grew out of the Kauffman Scholars Program. But this is really the Kauffman Scholars Program
on steroids. They — they have put up almost $80 million to start this off with an expectation
of match that from the community to really provide access for — for low — lower/middle
income families to allow these kids to get into degree — higher education institutions.
And that process kicked off — the new KC Scholars Program kicked off in September.
Our team, Michael Roane Nash, we left our workforce group to help run the KC Scholars
Program because he felt so strongly about it. That kicked off in September. They’re
taking applications right now, and they expect to have in excess of 250 scholars funded by
next month. So this is already up and going, it’s well, but it’s going to need the rest
of that community engagement to keep it going and growing the way that it should.
KC Degrees, that’s really a different approach. So also the studies showed us that there are
other 300,000 adults in the Kansas City Metro Area who have some higher education but no
certificate or degree. So that’s 300,000 folks that started that path but had not achieved
anything with that that would allow them to move into a different place in the workplace.
And so this is a program to help fund those folks to re-engage. It’s not just funding,
it’s connects, it’s getting with it and looking at what they — it’s concierges it, if you
will, to help them look at what they’ve already done and connect them with our institutions
to see how they can take what they’ve already done and then leverage that with some additional
funding to go forward and complete a certificate or a degree that will allow them to help move
into some of these high-need areas. So just a couple of the things going on around access.
And then lastly, attraction. This is the recruitment piece, and, you know, it’s — we hear a lot
that we’re the flyover zone, so it’s hard to get people to come to Kansas City. My experience,
actually, at the Med Center is if I can get them here, I can usually get them here. Let’s
say you get here and experience what a great place it is and what an incredible community
we have, it almost sells itself, particularly when you look at cost of living relative to
San Francisco or Boston. But you’ve got to get them here, and that is a challenge.
The KCADC, this is what they do, they recruit companies for a living is what KCADC does,
they recruit them to move to Kansas City to set up their operations. They are really good
at this, and so they have a talent tool kit within KCADC for the companies that belong,
but those are the larger companies, but some great recruitment tools. So there’s — this
is — we’ve developed a pared down version of that that’s now available free to any company
in Kansas City no matter how big or how small to help provide resources to help recruit
when you happen to go outside of our marketplace to recruit folks to move to Kansas City. And
if you haven’t been to this, you should. You should go check out this talent cool — tool
kit, you can go to KCRising.com and it’s in the links there. You live in a really cool
city, and if you don’t believe it, go look at this and it’ll tell you how cool we really
are. So around innovation and entrepreneurship,
we did a lot of research here as well. Ron LeMay, who used to be with Sprint and now
runs the OPENAIR Equities, along with Darcy Howe, who is with Merrill Lynch, an angel
investor, and Davyeon Ross, who’s a serial entrepreneur, chaired up this group, and they’re
entrepreneurs, so they operated a little bit differently than everybody else, but they
got an incredible amount of work done. And really, through their surveys realized that
with the entrepreneur community capital is a very big problem. The — and what goes with
that is culture. So investing in startup companies is a relatively high risk operation, and typically
investors in Kansas City are relatively risk averse, and so we have — we don’t have a
culture where people are investing significantly in these startup companies, and they have
to go to the coast to get venture capital, and often the venture capital then makes them
move to the coast, and then we’ve lost the company. So they took — they tried to tackle
both of these issues. KC Rise Fund, Darcy Howe heads this, she’s
now raised $15 million almost exclusively from first time investors into this kind of
an activity. This fund, and is a venture capital fund, it’s a for-profit fund, is designed
to invest only in Kansas City companies to help them stay here and it’s what’s known
as a sidecar fund. So we don’t really have — this fund doesn’t have the expertise to
evaluate each and every new business to figure out if that’s a good investment or not, so
what they do is they wait until another venture capital company does. And once they make a
decision that this is a worthwhile investment, they can leverage the KC Rise Fund on a matching
basis to get additional funding. So the other company also knows that the KC Rise Fund’s
out there and they know they’re going to be able to draw on this additional money, so
it’s more enticing to them to invest, so it helps pull in money in addition to the KC
Rise Fund. And we’ve now invested in five companies since last February, so this has
moved quite along quite quickly. Along that effort is KC InvestEd, which is
buried within KC Source Link. KC Source Link, really leverages resources to try and help
the entrepreneurs. InvestEd is really designed to help the investor, how do you help invests
who aren’t used to investing in startup companies get more knowledgeable about how to do that.
And then a lot of work is going around — going on around the collaboration hubs, Kevin McGinnis
is working with KC — well, with the Sprint Techstars program, trying to design the future
of that. The Kauffman Foundations is doing a big evaluation right now of all different
types of accelerators and incubators that we have in the area trying to figure out what
best practices are so we can be as robust in this area as well.
And lastly I’m going to talk a little bit about trade, certainly not last because this
is a huge area for us. And we — we really, with trade, we took a look at all the different
industry sectors in Kansas City and decided that we were going to focus on some areas
that were going to give us our — probably our quickest yield, if you will, for that.
And one of those areas was really architecture and engineering. We have a lot of depth in
Kansas City. I mean, there’s — there’s some pretty amazing statistics. Every Olympic stadium
since 1994 was designed in Kansas City. Pretty cool. Yeah? Yeah!
25% of the world’s drinking water was designed and built by a plant — or by a company in
Kansas City. Some pretty significant statistics there. Three of top 20 — top 20 engineering
firms are located here. So really, we have a great cluster around this, and yet, most
of the world doesn’t know that. In fact, probably most of the people in this room didn’t know
that, so we’ve got a problem there, right? When you start talking about recruiting and
retaining, not just recruiting talent but recruiting business, the world needs to know
this. So working with the architecture firms and the engineering firms, they’ve all gotten
together, they actually are talking to each other, which is a big step. Not sure that
had happened very much before, but actually realized they have a lot in common, even though
they compete every single day for business, they have a lot in common. And there are a
lot of things that we can do together that really will help all of them to continue to
grow to get the talent that they need and the business that they need. So that’s been
labeled KC Global Design. We worked — we’ve taken it to Washington, D.C. and we vetted
it with a number of agencies, international programs, and we’re really excited about this,
and it’s really getting up and going. Been around competitiveness, you know, exports
are a very big thing, and the World Trade Center which runs out of the Greater Kansas
City Chamber did an initiative two years ago with the Brookings Institute to develop an
export plan for Kansas City. And this is an international export plan, not just — not
domestics, but international, and have really gone through a process of developing that
plan. Global Cities Initiative is really what that’s called, or Go Global, KC. And that’s
really a concierge’s business that they’ve put together to allow companies, and again,
really typically small- and medium-size companies that either don’t export or they do a little
bit of exporting and would like to grow that. How do you connect them with resources that
exist, and a lot of resources do exist, you just don’t know where to it find them. So
this is really a connector mechanism. And they hope to do 50 — 50 companies in their
first two years, and they’ve done 40 in their first eight months. So currently demand is
there to do that, and hopefully that will help more of our companies work into that
export area. A couple other areas just to touch on, Kinetic
is — is a regional effort to get conversation going around smart transportation. Kansas
City has always been benefited from being at the great crossroads of both highways,
trains and rivers, and we have really benefited from that with our logistics, and we’re certainly
seeing that at the intermodal and other places that have been — there’s recognized now,
we’ll have four Amazon plants in the Kansas City Metro Area by next year. So, I mean,
it — we really have an opportunity there, but technology’s changing very quickly, and
how do we make sure we’re part of that technology? How do we lead that technology going forward?
Now, I would just touch briefly on cyber security, because there wasn’t an industry that we didn’t
talk to that said this was a huge issue for them, and yet, there really is very little
talent in the cyber security space, and not very many programs in the cyber security space.
So I think this is — while we don’t have a lot of depth in this, we have some real
opportunity and we have some assets. The FBI actually has a huge cyber security force here
in Kansas City, one of their national centers is based here, has does the Federal Reserve
Bank. So we — we do have some assets here that most of us probably didn’t realize was
there and trying to figure out how we leverage that and with our educational programs to
develop talent in the cyber security space is a great opportunity going forward. Maybe
the panel can talk about that a little bit. So really, these — these three columns, you
can see we’ve had a lot of — a lot of progress in the last year, we started out with a promise
when we — we kicked it off. Last year we did a year-one update, and actually I think
some of the pamphlets are out there from our year-one update which are 11 1/2 months old
now, but that was really the plan, and now we’re really kind of reporting on the progress,
how a number of these initiatives have moved along. And so if you want to learn a little
bit more about it, you can go online, KCRising.com, we do a newsletter that you can signed up
for a number of events. And this is the website that you can go find a lot of these resources
at. Just a quick plug, for next week is our year-two
update. So a little bit more depth and information on what we just talked about today we’ll be
talking about on the 28th as we do our year-two update here in Johnson County right on State
Line and Shawnee Mission. So hopefully some of you might be able to join us there for
that. With that, I’d like to turn it over to the
panel. [Applause]>>Thank you, Dr. Girod. Really exciting to
hear the work that’s being done in this city and know that many of you are responsible
for some of this work as well as thinking about how your work is going to connect to
the initiatives with KC Rising. It’s my pleasure to introduce Keely Schneider,
she serves as the executive director for Workforce Partnership. Prior to joining the Kansas Workforce
Partnership in October of 2016, Keely was the associate director of the Civic Council
for Greater Kansas City, one of the co-sponsors of the KC Rising Initiative. There she was
staff lead for all education and workforce initiatives, including the Human Capital Work
Group for KC Rising. In her new role she now leads our local Kansas Workforce Investment
Board serving both employers and job seekers in the counties of Johnson, Wyandotte, and
Leavenworth. And Keely’s going to share with us about the handouts that you have and some
additional information relative to the work of KC Rising. So welcome to today’s forum,
Keely.>>Well, good morning. I was so excited to
be here, not only because I — I fairly recently come out of this KC Rising amazing initiative
and was so privileged to be a part of a lot of the work that we did in Human Capital,
but now I’m a new executive director for workforce Partnership, and so I’m straddling two jobs
here today and thought that we would, before you leave, at least give you a little bit
back ground and context as to what exactly these handouts are and how they came about,
because I think it will serve, as you look through them, to know why they were created
and what the purpose was originally. So the first one I wanted to share with you
is the Education Asset Inventory. That’s the big thick one that you see like this. And
this work really came out of what was called — what is now called GradForce KC, but at
the time was called some very long name having to do with Lumina Partnership for Post-Secondary
Attainment. So of course we re-branded it something much, much cooler and much shorter.
But the Lumina Foundation grant was very key to a lot of the work we were doing in KC Rising,
because it was happening here in the Kansas City area. We were given that grant from Lumina
through the Mid-America Regional Council. That was happening at the same time that the
Human Capital Work Group was getting started with KC Rising. So of course not wanting duplicate
efforts and wanting to really streamline our work, we made sure that those two groups came
together and worked in concert so that we weren’t, again, duplicating efforts. One of
the first things that we did was we said, you know, we’re not really sure what programs
we have going on in our region across all of our post-secondary institutions, and in
particular, we’re not really sure what we have going on in the five sectors that KC
Rising was focusing on. So one of the first things we did through
technical support with the Lumina Foundation is go to them and say we need help. We need
someone to help us create an asset inventory so we know what we have programmatically here
in Kansas City, how many programs we have at the different levels, and how many seats
we have available, because if — if the situation is that we need cyber security and we need
a thousand of them, but we have one program and it seats 30 people, well, we’ve got a
misalignment there, we’ve got work to do. But we needed to know where we started.
So that was the purpose of the Education Asset Inventory, we did the first one in 2015, and
like I said, that was done through the Lumina Foundation from a group called the Center
for Adult and Experiential Learning called CAEL, if you’ve ever heard of them. They came
in, they did the inventory for us, and they also brought with them some key, I guess,
takeaways from that inventory. And just as one example, and I’ll tell you this example
because I think it’s showing you how powerful this inventory can be now that we’ve done
the second inventory which was just published last December, you know, just this past December.
So the first inventory lets in IT. We broke that down, and CAEL said to us, “You know,
you guys really don’t have very many programs in cyber security, you have like two or three.”
And we knew from a lot of focus groups we were doing in KC Rising that that was a problem
because we had heard, as Dr. Girod mentioned, every single industry, no matter what it was
that we were talking about, said we need cyber security. So we put it out there in the inventory.
We said, “Here’s where we are with cyber security programs, here’s how few we have, this is
a need.” And I am so proud to say that one year later, if you look now at this inventory,
we have 14 programs where we had, I think, two or three only a year ago. So for people
out there who are naysayers and say that higher ed can’t move quickly, that higher ed can’t
pull together programs that are needed in this community, I say baloney, because they’ve
done it, and we’ve done it here in Kansas City, and I’m really proud of that. So that
is just one example of the power of this inventory. Please feel free to look through it, see where
we’ve made observations about gaps or about possible other areas that we could focus on
together, because I think this is the kind of information we all need so that we know
what all of our different regional education institutions are doing. So that’s the Education
Asset Inventory. And then the second piece I wanted to give
you a little background on is the Common Sector’s Competencies Report. This also just came out
in December. This report was really the brainchild of Tim Carlson. And if you guys know Tim,
he is the HR director for Bayer Animal Health, and he sat on our human — Human Capital Work
Group, and we were at a meeting one day, and you just kind of posed this question: Gosh,
what would it look like if we took the five focus areas for which are represented today
on the panel, but what if we took the competencies that are the base level competencies for each
of those industry sectors and came together, and what if we found some commonality? What
if we said, gosh, that’s very similar competency set that we need over here in engineering,
that we need over there in IT, that we need in financial services and insurance? And what
if we brought those together and then said, hey, educators, here’s what the vast majority
of your growing industries in Kansas City need in terms of competencies?
Tim goes, “What would that look like?” And of course everyone looked at him, and we said,
“Tim, would you like to chair a task force on common sector competencies?” And of course
he said yes. So that is where this came from. A lot of work went into this. We vetted this,
these competencies, with every one of the industries, with actual employers actually
here in Kansas City. So when you read through this, I think you’ll see what we’ve done is
we’ve taken competencies and we’ve explained them in a way that is sort of like a rubric
here. So you have what are the fundamental or entry level competencies across all of
these major sectors that — that employers are finding important. Then what would it
take competency language to be an advanced leader in that particular area, and so forth.
And so as you read through this as educators, know that this comes from the business community,
and know that it’s written in business speak, not edu-speak.
So one of the things I think would be very powerful, perhaps a followup to this, is to
sit down with K-12 educators, counselors, principals, and say what does it look like
to have good customer service when you’re in middle school? What does it look like to
be able to navigate ambiguity when you’re a ninth grader? And that’s the kind of language
that our businesses use, but we need to understand that at an education level so that we’re producing
students who come out of our K-12 space with those competencies that are most needed. So
that is what this piece is. And I’m proud to say, I don’t know whether Susan Welly went
— there you are! On her staff Doug Elmer is one of her vice presidents and he wrote
the educators’ introduction to this piece, so it’s really nice, so I do encourage you
to take a look at that. And the last piece you have here is a talent-industry
exchange, two piece, this just goes into more depth on what Dr. Girod was speaking about
on the talent-industry exchange. That is really a public/private partnership, it’s a P 3 where
we do bring industry and education together not just on a one-on-one basis, because we
all know that happens a lot, this college has a special relationship with this company,
but, rather, we’re bringing together regionalism, we’re bringing together the competitors who
are in an entire industry and asking very detailed questions about what are their specific
needs, not just, oh, yeah, I need some entry level positions field, but exactly what does
that look like, exactly what are the competencies, the skill sets they’re needing, and then we
bring the educators around the table who we think would be the best to fill that. Sometimes
it is the four-year degree institutions, sometimes it’s our community colleges. Sometimes it’s
our career and tech ed programs. So that is what the talent-industry exchange is about.
So anyway, I just wanted to give you that background, and I hope you find the information
and materials very informative. At the end of the presentation will be my contact information.
If you’d like to get any of these digitally, feel free to contact me and I can send you
that. Thank you so much for being here. It’s been
a real pleasure. [Applause]
>>So I think I heard that that’s homework for all the educators in the audience. In
fact, Keely and I were talking with one of our evaluators that works with Kansas City
Area Education Resource Consortium about developing an evaluation tool that we could give to high
school seniors who have participated in Robust, and for us it would be STEM programs. So we
can identify how do students address ambiguity or manage complex problems. I think today
at midnight is Bag and tag for First Robotics across the city, and I know those kids right
now are managing complex problems on how to finish getting that robot done and put into
a bag. At this time it’s my pleasure to introduce
our panelists for today’s forum. Representing the four key sectors identified through the
work of KC Rising, engineering, biotech and life sciences, information technology and
finance and insurance. Representing the engineering sectors, Clint Robinson. Clint is an associate
vice president and director of state and local government affairs at Black & Veatch. Clint
has a bachelors of science and chemical engineering and a masters of science in chemical engineering
from the University of Kansas. He spent 25 years designing water and waste water systems
in North and South America before his current role for the last eight years. Clint is the
father — [Laughter]
Clint is the father of three publicly educated girls, a recovering school board member, and
a registered professional engineer for Global Engineering Company for 33 years. So Clint,
I should have had balloons, because this is the start of engineering week.
>>Yes.>>So welcome to the stage, Clint.
>>It is. Thank you.>>Representing the biotech and life sciences
sectors, Daryl Pint. Daryl Pint is the C.E.O. of Ceva Biomune and has 32 years of industrial
biotechnology management experience. Ceva, an animal health biological vaccine manufacturing
company located in Lenexa, Kansas, has recently been ranked as the third largest animal health
company in Kansas City. With over 375 local employees, Ceva is a key contributor to the
region’s international — region’s international leader in animal health sciences. So welcome
to the stage, Daryl. In addition to his professional achievements,
Daryl is an active member in the Kansas City community. He’s a graduate of the 2014 Leadership
Kansas Program, and an engaged board member in the Animal Health Corridor, BioKansas,
and Gracepoint Church. He is active in workforce and talent development for the biotechnology
industry. In his role, he has an enthusiasm for equipping and supporting opportunities
for students in the industrialization of biotechnology and research.
Representing the information technology sector is Siew Lai. Siew Lai is the chief data officer
at DST Systems. Siew is responsible for the company’s enterprise-wide data and information
strategy, governance, control, policy development, and effective exploitation. Siew is currently
leading the architecture and development team and building integrated data platform utilizing
the latest big data technology. Prior to joining DST, Siew spent 6 1/2 years
as vice president at JPMorgan Chase focusing on enterprise architecture and information
architecture. She spent two years at Great West Financial in migrating JPMorgan book
of business into Great West’s record keeping system. Prior to that, Siew spent ten years
in the health care industry and building software and data warehouses for hospitals around the
world. She graduated from Iowa State University in 1998 with distinction and participated
in the honor program. Welcome to the stage, Siew.
Representing the finance and insurance sectors, Ken Selzer. Ken Selzer was elected as the
Kansas Insurance Commissioner in 2014, has his CPA and began serving in that position
on January 12th, 2015. He previously worked in the reinsurance industry for more than
30 years, most recently as a executive managing director for a worldwide brokerage and insurance
services firm. In addition to his credentials has a Certified
Public Accountant, Ken has earned a number of professional distinct designations, including
Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter, Associate in Reinsurance, and Fellow of the
Life Management Institute. Ken is active in many professional community and charitable
organizations. He has served as the President of the Rotary Club of Leawood, Chairman of
the Kansas Society of CPAs Educational Foundation, and President of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
– Heart of America Chapter. Currently serves on the Advisory Council of the K-State University
College of Business and is a member of the K-State University Foundation Board of Trustees.
He previously served as a Fairway, Kansas, City Councilman and City Council President.
Ken graduated with honors with a BS in accounting from K-State University. He earned a master’s
degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California.
Please join me in welcoming all of our distinguished panelists to the stage this morning.
[Applause]>>At this time I’d like to welcome Dr. Sopcich
back to the stage to serve as the facilitator for today’s panel.
>>All right. I’ve got a variety of questions here, and we’re going to go through these,
and please feel free to — you don’t have to be called on, feel free to interrupt somebody
else or inject something along the — along the road here. It’s not a CNN panel, but we
can try to — we’ll do the best we can. We’re going to start, if each one of you can
respond to this question, and Clint, we’re going to start with you. I would like to point
out, though, Martha left something out of Clint’s introduction. Clint and his wife Britton
are co-chairing our scholarship fundraising — our scholarship fundraiser in November
of this year, and so, Clint, I’d just like to thank you in advance, I know it’s going
to be a great success. Thank you. So each of you represent an industry sector
that has a significant importance to our regional economy. Please talk a little about the industry
sector you represent, the types of businesses within that sector, and the role and importance
of this industry in both our regional economy and the global economy.
Clint, you can go first.>>You know, I can’t think of a more exciting
time to be part of the engineering and architectural community in this country. For how many years
now we’ve been talking about critical human infrastructure that’s been crumbling, we built
it, we built it well, we told somebody it would last 50 years, it lasted 100, so we
shouldn’t be surprised now that it’s crumbling under our feet. The real question for us in
our industry is are we going to rebuild our grandfathers’ infrastructure or are we going
to build our grandkids’ infrastructure, and I think there’s an obvious answer to that,
but it’s a pretty significant see change in our business because we’re in a business that
if you do something well, you rarely break it and learn how to do it again. You replicate
it because it works. And so in our industry we’re having to learn how to blend, collaborate
and layer all of the engineering services in order to provide a better critical human
infrastructure system. So in our business, we’re not just looking for civil engineers,
mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, computer science engineers, human resources,
finance, everything in our company, we’re a global company, but the real task for us
is how do we get them all to communicate with each other and share what they know to provide
a different and innovative and sustainable future.
So a lot of what we’re doing, the technical capabilities are already there. The question
for us in our industry and for those of you that are educators out in the community, and
I hope you’ll have the opportunity to ask some questions here, I think the real challenge
for all of us in this room is how do we stay nimble so that we can make sure that the students
that we’re teaching going into the future have an open enough mind and can do enough
things and wear enough different types of sneakers that they can walk from one room
to the next and speak competently about something in order to make an effective change.
So there isn’t anything that we will do in our business in the future without the support
of good education, so really excited to be here today and be a part of this conversation.
>>Clint, one quick little question: How many employees does Black & Veatch have?
>>We have 12,000 globally, here in the Kansas City area I think we’re roughly 3500.
>>3500? Terrific. Daryl.>>Well, the animal health industry,s is about
a 36 billion-dollar a year globally business. Out of the U.S. that’s $13 billion. In Kansas
City, we — we have an organization called the Animal Health Corridor, and it stretches
from Manhattan to Columbia, from St. Joe to Emporia, and it houses over 300 industries
that support the animal health. There’s about 20,000 employees in that. If you look at the
life science side, that’s about three times bigger than what the animal health side of
the business is. I know a lot about the animal health industry because that put four of my
sons through college. And I relied on that. When we look at what that entails it’s how
we feed our pets. It’s how we treat our peats. And if you look at the last 15 years, last
10 years, last 5 years, the number of treatments for your pets has exponentially grown. Why
is that? Because the science that is taught at our universities has made a link between
the human and the animal. And things that were only able to be applied to humans are
now applied to animals. Our companion animals we used to take to the vet and we would say,
okay, what’s wrong with my dog or my cat? They might run a few tests, you get down to
the end and you put the animal down. The options now are so vast and so life changing in the
animal that our pets live a lot longer. The work that’s done in our universities have
enabled discovery of these new market fields. However, the industry has to stay in line
with these discoveries. The industry of itself, 25% of those jobs are in discovery, 75% of
those jobs are outside of that, and we’re equipping most of our biology students towards
discovery, not equipping them for the industrialization of the discoveries that others are making,
and that’s something that we need to work on. Thank you.
>>Daryl, I’m going to assume your sons went to Johnson County Community College?
>>No, I still get –>>That’s okay.
>>– alumni questions.>>You set it up.
>>But here’s a question: The Animal Health Corridor, is there another one of those corridors
any place in the United States?>>There is not another one in the U.S. and
there’s not another one in the world. It’s amazing when I walk my pet down the street
and you talk with neighbors, and they ask, “What is it you do?” “I work for Ceva, it’s
an animal health company.” And we get to talking and I talk about the Animal Health Corridor.
I haven’t talked to one person outside the industry that knows a single thing about the
Animal Health Corridor. Yet, if I go to any conference in another country, you’re from
the Animal Health Corridor, what is it like? What’s the midwest like? We established in
the Animal Health Corridor an investment forum, and originally it started out five years ago,
and we had a few people coming in, and we had to beg them, you know, okay, we’ll even
give you breakfast and lunch. Now we limit the number of investors that come, and they
come from — I think last year we had 13 countries coming in to see pitches by startup companies
within our region.>>That’s terrific. Siew.
>>So I’m representing DST. So DST is very unique in a way that we have health and wealth
data. So if you talk about wealth, it’s about the mutual funds, it’s about your retirements,
401(k), 403(b)s, businesses, it’s also about your ETF managements. And we also have your
health, which is your pharmacy, when you go to the pharmacy, when you have prescriptions
dispenses and your medical claims there. So we — we are technology company, but we serving
two very different businesses, but it’s all surrounded in individuals, me as me, right?
Regardless of where I have these mutual funds, I have these 401(k) or 403(b) retirement businesses,
or I have these ongoing medical — medications that I’m taking. So at the end of the day,
for a human being for us is to be able to retire comfortably. In order to retire not
only have enough money for me to keep going, you know, living the life that I want to live,
but have to care about the one that’s variable to all humans today is your medical expenses,
right? Can I afford retirement, can I afford my medical expenses after I retire. So we
have all these information where from a technology standpoint is — really technology is the
core of how we do the business in any company around the world. So in our mind, from a DST
standpoint, you have five key thing going on in the IT department. One is mobile. Everyone
has cells phones, all the information at the tips of your — open up your phones and do
a search on it, right? The second thing is social media. We share a lot of information
in the social media. So anytimes we think there’s life event changes to an individual,
that is where it triggers someone to make some changes in your lives, including your
health, including your wealth, right. So if I get married now I have two think about,
you know, what I have to save more and what are mutual response. So we tend to go out
to social media and ask questions to share information around the world and get perspective.
Even you have diseases, right.? Maybe your doctor tells you this is maybe the way that
you’re supposed to go and do it, and then we tend to go out and ask other people what
is your second opinion, third opinion, what are the doctors saying, and all the stuff.
It’s the social media that’s become the key to the individual and how to make the decisions.
And that then is advance analytics, which is data science, right? Why do we need that?
Because of social media, really. Because we want to know like for us, from a marketing
standpoint, how are targeting you in your certain mutual funds, right? We want to know
what TV you watch, what book you read, and what website you goes to. Those are the places
we tend to push the advertisements to you more directly instead of just generically
publish it out and hoping you’ll pick up those channel, right? It’s very targeting marketing
approach. That’s why the advance analytics and the data science are really evolving in
this — in this market where we from a DST standpoint have a hard time finding talents
in this area where we always have to go to the west and the east to find those resources.
And next in that is really the cyber security, right? We have a couple people already talk
about cyber security. To be honest, we don’t have a problem finding talent in these area,
but the cyber security changed the way we do business. In term of technology, it’s no
longer you can just keep Window 97 or Window 2003s and hope you’re done with it, right?
It is — it’s not, because the cyber security, the older technology you have is the easiest
ones for them to really hack, right? So we want to keep our technology up to date as
much as we can. So just for me, myself, personally, I was a customer of Target, and I had my information
got breached to, you know, other people’s, and my identity being stolen. Even today I
struggle with that because oftentimes there is a lot of people call me, hey, you apply
for this credit card, and I have never applied for these credit card, right? I have to — all
these things is still hitting me after two or three years after Target — these identity
theft issue hacking of that, right? So I think cyber security is very important.
At DST we have these transformation programs going on for the next three years, is to upgrade
our technology, to get our technology as latest as possible, as protected as possible.
And next to that is really a Cloud computing in our mind, are we going Cloud as we do these
transformation programs, we predefine the technologies that each of the applications
should be running on and make the information more available regardless of whether you don’t
have to carry that information with you all the time because it’s all Cloud enabled.
So from our standpoints, we have hard times fining resources in the big data space as
well because with advanced analytics, right, you really get — need a big data technologies
to really help you to do a lot of analytic stuff.
When we talk about big data technology, it’s not about I’m doing big data, I mean,DST,
we are not as big as JPMorgan when we have terabyte — tens of terabyte of data. We have
about 2 or 3 terabytes of data. But we’re utilizing the deep data technology itself
to — to solve the business problem. I think that is the key words. And we have hard time
finding resources or talents in this area where we always go to the east and the west
to find those — those talents. So from a DST standpoints, technology, we
are going through transformations right now to operate our technology. Cyber security
drive the whole thing, it change the game how we do the business from a technology standpoint.
>>That’s terrific. Siew, how many employees does DST have?
>>Currently we have 11,000.>>Are they all located in Kansas City?
>>Kansas City we have a little bit less — not — no. We have Birmingham, Kansas City, and
we have some resource — and we have office in Thailand, India and U.K. and Canada.
>>Okay. So everyone’s talking about going to the East Coast and the West Coast to find
talent. Why don’t you have an office on the West Coast or the East Coast?
>>Well, Kansas — we grew out in Kansas City.>>Okay.
>>So — so we — it’s a good question, right? So because Kansas City is a nice area, right,
it’s very nice. Talk about Overland Park School District is one of the top tens in the countries.
And plus, living expenses is a little bit better, right, than the East and the West
Coast. It’s very, very expensive to go to the East and the West Coast, and especially
when we were — when I was at JPMorgan, we were told to asked to move to East Coast,
we didn’t want to because it’s very expensive to live there. And we like the community here
because it’s — it’s — the people are nicer. [Laughter]
>>Good to know.>>The East Coast people is like you can tell
they are from East Coast, you know? They are very —
>>That’s great. I was born in California, but I’ve lived here my whole life.
Ken.>>Thank you very much, and I so, so appreciate
you inviting me to join today, this group is exactly the group I need to speak to, so
thank you. I am a CPA, I thought I’d make my career even
more exciting, got into the insurance business, so how about that? Does that work for you?
I am the Kansas Insurance Commissioner, I am one of only 12 that are elected around
the state, so most all of them are appointed because it’s such a technical job. I’ve — we’ve
done some things to create an insurance certificate within the insurance sector, and I want to
talk about that in a little bit here too, but I guess I first want to say just a couple
things. My wife and I are so dedicated to education
here in Johnson County and around the state, and especially in the financial area, we support
through the Blue Valley Educational Foundation an innovative teacher award that dedicates
one of those two awards to a STEM teacher. We support scholarships in Louisburg, we support
scholarships at my hometown back in Goessel, we support scholarships at K.S.U. in accounting
especially for people who have — are financially challenged, students who are financially challenged.
We’re just dedicated to this whole thing of bringing more students into the financial
sector, and we try to lead our lives that way too.
I am so proud of Kansas. We have a — a much higher workforce participation rate than most
of the country does. We’re in the top 10 or near the top 10 every year in workforce participation
rate. We’re in the lower part of the unemployment rate. We run about — in Johnson County, run
about 3%. We’re about a full point below the country, below the state. It is a good place
to find a job here, particularly in the financial sector. So I just want to keep reemphasizing
that. Some of the examples of what is in this very
broad sector, if you go to page 20 in the book that was shown to us earlier, that’s
called Education Asset Inventory, if you go to page 20 you’ll see just a nice list of
different types of things that are covered there, and I’ll give you some very brief examples.
I started out as a CPA, went to work for one of the very big CPA firms here in town, it
was the big eight at the time, it’s now in the big four, but CPA firms running the gamut
in terms of size. So you got — you can attract a whole interest of your students that go
on to college to get an accounting degree from those that want to work in a small firm
to those that want to work in a very big firm. We have wealth managers, we have investment
firms, and there’s examples from the very large to the very big. We have Waddell & Reed,
21st Century on the investment firms we have, we have creative planning, and Stepp & Rothwell’s
a good example a — of a smaller, more dedicated type of a wealth manager firm, just a lot
of things like that. Insurance companies, AIG has a — has a big operation here, so
does Farmers Insurance Company, so does Zurich, so does Travelers, so do a number of insurance
agencies like Truss and Bukaty and some others like that, Lockton is huge here in town, one
of the biggest firms based here. And so — and then actuarial firms, of course
actuarial firms are a part of this industry too. Lewis & Ellis being a good example. So
they all need technical people. I see our challenge here in the state of Kansas and
around the country to expand that subset of students who come out of high school who want
to pursue a technical or a financial degree. The really interesting part of getting a degree
or a credential or an associate’s degree in business or accounting or something like that
is you can go almost any direction after that. That can be a credential or a degree that
can help you get your career started and then you can move on into any other technical degree
that you might want. A lot of people — not a lot, but some people
go on to be engineers, some go on to be scientists, some go on to be information technology people.
It is a good place to start. So if you’re interested in counseling your students where
to go and they don’t quite know where to go, it’s a good place to start, a really good
place to start. Just terribly briefly on the insurance certificate
that we’ve started here in the state of Kansas. We lacked university course work, in-depth
course work on — in insurance. So about a year and a half ago we started an insurance
certificate where in any of the four participating public universities, as well as Johnson County
Community College, you can take an introduction to insurance course, a couple second level
courses, and an internship and get a certificate. We’ve broke down barriers amongst the universities
in the state of Kansas by making those second and third level courses available online so
a student at K.U. Edwards who’s taken his intro course here at Johnson County Community
College can reach out to another university and take the specialty within insurance they
want. So we’re doing all kinds of innovative things that really try to drive at this issue
of — of we don’t have enough people here in this state and in this county in this industry,
what a good way to start your career. Thank you.
>>Ken, you mentioned a few by name, but how many insurance companies and how many insurance
employees in this region?>>In the state of Kansas we have 40,000 insurance
employees. I regulate — every company that writes business in the state of Kansas we
have 15,000 companies that write insurance in the state of Kansas. There’s probably 30
or 40 larger ones, thank you.>>Thank you. All right. You know, we’re here
not to talk about the past or even the present but about the future. So what do you see on
the horizon for your industry, and Daryl, I’m going to ask you to go first on this,
and how do you anticipate these changes will impact your core functions, your project,
and your workforce needs? Are there particular skill sets you anticipate needing or positions
which will be in high demand? And will there be new or different ways of doing business?
[Applause]>>Oh, my! Things change, and they change
fast. And in the past we all had R & D departments, and we utilized them to discover and industrialize
our vaccines. We still hold true to that in part, but the advances that are coming through
universities right now, more and more of the industry is partnering with those post-doctorate
students and the projects that they’re working on because they effectively take out a lot
of that discovery time, and we can go right into development and see how the vaccine or
project is going to work, so I think you’re going to see more partnerships from the industry
with university. That — that’s a given. The next thing that you’re going to see is
more data analytics. Animal health industry lags a little bit because we weren’t quite
as cash deep as the human side, so we lag a little bit and watch it be proven, and then
we jump in with no life jacket. So we’re going to need people capable of the analytics, which
means you need to be very functional in animal health science to apply the analytics to big
data. The other area is in controls. Controls of
all of our equipment, our bioprocess equipment, has more and more advanced control systems,
and we lack people who understand that logic and can program and troubleshoot and modify
and enhance those current systems. And it’s only going to get more and more advanced.
The other thing I see our industry moving towards is global. And when we think global
we have to have people who understand and are able to partner and work with brokers
in other countries, we have to have people who can speak other languages because guess
what? Not everybody speaks Kansas. [Laughter]
>>And we end up — I can just tell you this, just — in 2012 we built a new building and
we started it, but prior to the start of that building that we were going to market a product
for, we went out and we went into 50 different countries and we set up the logistics of this
product that was going to be manufactured and shipped. We spent three years just building
the logistics in these countries. Now, that product has grown 449% since 2012. So if we
are active and we have people who are — have the right mind-set to look in advance of what
is required, aren’t afraid of challenges, and are willing to tackle something that hasn’t
been done before, that will be the kind of people that will find a job.
>>Great. Thank you, Daryl. Siew.>>I think I touched that a little bit just
now. So in our industry in the technology space is mobile commuting, it’s been going
on for many, many years, and the next — right now what we focusing on is using advanced
analytics is your data science, the data engineers. That’s what we have been hiring is the data
scientists and the data engineers, especially data engineers are very hard to find. I mean,
we — last — just for the past two months we trying to hire like six different positions,
and right now I have four open full time positions open for the data engineers, and I have a
hard time finding those here and locally. The next one is really cyber security, is
— it’s another area that we — the trend is going from a technology standpoints regardless
of what industry you are. Cyber security is number one issues. The risks, the [indiscernible],
(1:12:06) all these is [indiscernible]. And then the next one is really Cloud Computing
PaaS, it’s just a platform as a service and software as a service. Those are really trending
right now in technology space to find the — the talents in this space. From a software
development standpoint, DevOps has become a trend right now, it’s no longer traditional
development versus the support team, is that the support — the — somewhere in the middle
is what we call DevOps, it has been trending in the software development area as well in
the technology space.>>Thank you, Siew. Ken.
>>Yes, the trends in the financial sector are — you’re watching those on the news every
night when you watch the national news.>>I don’t know if everyone’s watching the
financial trends on the national news. [Laughter]
>>Okay.>>Until the election this last November,
we fully expected more and more stifling regulation within the financial services sector. As you
know from watching the national news, that you see a lot of these now being lifted or
reversed. There were some very clear examples of Dodd-Frank bill that some of you have heard
about from years back since the financial crash, much of that may be reversed, the Department
of Labor rules around wealth managers and investment advisers is being relaxed. The
ACA is being changed. Much of those financial regulations created fewer and fewer competitors,
meaning fewer people, fewer companies competing for your insurance dollar and competing for
your financial services dollar, all of those things that really stifled — stifled competition,
that’s being reversed now. So we have trends that will be supportive of building the financial
services sector, hence a need for more employees with — with base level certificates, associate
degrees, four-year degrees, graduate degrees. The sector’s going to expand. It will be needing
>>You know, I didn’t — when I started, I probably should have shared with you that
kind of the pillars of the work that we do at Black & Veatch are resisting the word “columns,”
but I’ll explain to you why. We do everything water in engineering and infrastructure and
construction. Storm water, waste water, clean water. We do everything energy. We do coal,
we do nuke, we do renewables, we do whatever the customer needs and what is best for the
situation. We do everything in telecommunications. The towers and the conductivity that your
cells phones connect through, and even some of the data systems in asset managements,
we do that kind of work. We also do safety and security, some of which I can’t share
with you today or they’d kill me, but help make this country safer, which includes some
of the cyber security elements. And how do we get ahead of the curve in cyber security.
But I will tell you the thing that challenges me the most as the director of state and local
government affairs and working with cities and counties around this country is every
one of them comes to me and says there’s two things, Clint, that I need: I need more efficiency
and I need more jobs. And yet, they don’t understand the irony of that question. Because
they don’t understand that built in with some efficiencies is a change in workforce. So
one of the really important aspects of the changing future of our business, I think,
is in workforce development, changing people from one function which may or may not be
necessary any longer and train them into a field that is necessary. So it’s a little
bit of what I said about nimbleness. So I don’t argue with them anymore about why those
things conflict, I just make sure that they’ve got a workforce partnership, I make sure they’ve
got a Clyde McQueen or somebody in their city that they can go to and say, we’re about to
move X number of people from the auto industry that are doing this it’s going to be robots,
and so people need to learn how to operate robots, right? So that’s coming to all of
us, and that nimbleness is important. There are three terms that are becoming very
prevalent in our industry, and they overlay those four columns that I talked about, energy,
water, communications, safety and security, and those three terms are: Smart, sustainable
and resilient. Everything we do in each one of those four columns has an umbrella over
the top of it that says how are we going to make this product smarter, more sustainable
or sustainable at all, and resilient in order to account and rebuild. And resiliency is
not an absolute term. Resiliency, frankly, is what you can afford and what you believe
to be practical in order to protect yourself. So when somebody says I’m resilient, I always
want to challenge them and say against what and to what degree.
The last thing I will say is when I recruit people at the universities and some of you
here from the high schools know I spend time there, the most important thing I tell a student
or when I’m interviewing them is what can you do for me tomorrow that I can’t do today.
So the change in our environment is I’m not looking at Mike Nelson and saying, Mike, I
really look forward to you coming and working with us at Black & Veatch, and you can expect
this in your first five years and you can expect this in your second five years, and
then in the next ten years you can do this, you can’t do that anymore because the people
that we’re hiring are gone in three to five years. So our challenge is how to keep them,
challenge them, and one of the ways I believe that we can do it in the engineering and architectural
sectors is to ask them when they are going into college and as they graduate from college
looking for a job is what can you do for me now that I can’t do. So it’s look for that
edge, look to that thing that changes, because trust me, the formulas never change. Water
still flows downhill. Those things don’t change. It’s how we prepare it, how we build it, how
quickly we can develop that information. So ….
>>So I have to ask, how can you gauge someone’s ability to be adaptive?
>>You know, I think part of it is how people think. And, you know, when we talked about
attraction, access, all the people things we’re talking about today is when you ask
somebody and they say you know what I really want to do, is I just want to build water
treatment plants for the rest of my life, I want to go — and trust me, I need people
that will do that for me, but if the water market starts to slide, I need somebody that’s
willing to say, you know what? I’ll go build that wind farm. I have some basic skill sets
that allow me to understand free flowing fluids, you know, the movement of electricity is similar
in principle, I think I can learn that, it’s that willingness to adapt. So at Black & Veatch
I say I’m really glad about two things about our company: One is that we’re diverse. So
if one part of the market starts to fall off, another part of the market typically makes
up for it. So if you can move your workforce in between those things, that’s a great workforce
development tool that you have inside. And the other is that we’re global. In this particular
economy with this particular administration, if you don’t know what it is that you’re going
to do or how that’s going to grow, the opportunity to look in another country where they may
be developing at a more rapid rate, you can invest and move things there, those are both
really important things.>>So what if I just want to build water plants?
>>You know, I’ve got a lot of people that are the best at their business in building
water plants. And for me to say that an engineering company doesn’t need an engineer that sits
in a cube and designs water treatment plants all day because that’s what they want to do
is just silliness. But I have to have flexible — for years we’ve complained that we look
at our shoes too much, we don’t know how to communicate, I’m really trying to break that
and say we’ve got some really dynamic, innovative people that now will look at your shoes when
they’re talking to you –>>Looking at my shoes right now.
>>Right. So we have to have that full complement, that full balance, but I think the important
thing is someone’s willingness to design water plants, to design energy plants if the business
nature of the needs require us to do so.>>Anyone else want to comment on this? I
think adaptability –>>Yeah, I think flexibility’s very important,
especially in the information technology. I mean, technology change so fast, think about
iPhones, every year come out with a new version, right? iPads and things like that. If we don’t
adapt to the changes you will be way behind. I mean, for DST team ourself, we have assurance
because 70% of our workforce is still in the mainframe, but it’s old technology, so I think
be flexible, sell, develops is very important because technology change every minute, every
second, so ….>>Daryl.
>>I find that the young men and women that come out right now are adaptable, much more
flexible than me. [Laughter]
>>And many of those that we have succession plans for for the next five to ten years,
I find them much more adaptable and flexible and have a want, they have a want to see change.
And if we aren’t providing that change, they just say goodbye. I am valued by how much
I get input, and change is part of that.>>Perfect. One last question, and then we’re
going to open it up for questions from the audience, so — and this gets right down to
one of the reasons why we’re here today. How can high school and college students best
prepare and position themselves to step into these high demand positions? Siew, would you
like to go first?>>Yeah, I would — I would say for the information
technology, right, I can tell you what you learn in a college not really applies a lot,
so I would say when you in high school or college, get internships. Internship is the
best way to learn. I mean, at DST, I didn’t know until recently, we actually have a high
school intern at DST, and we actually pay them when they’re coming in and interning
with us, and at the same time we teach them. You know, they stay with us in our area, and
then we share with them how to do codings and all those stuff. And when they graduate
from high school, if they’re good, we actually give them the scholarships to go to the college.
So I — for me, I intern with Intel Corporations a long time — 20 years ago down in California,
and I think that’s how I get my first job is because I have the real life experience
in the technology space.>>Ken.
>>So, you can help us by helping with the soft skills. You’re not there to teach soft
skills, but we need soft skills in industry. Those soft skills being showing up on time,
working with others, all kinds of those things, looking presentable. We don’t need people
necessarily that can get up in front of a group and speak to a group. Later we will
need those leaders that have that. We need people who have good solid soft skills. What
is amazing to me is that if you find somebody who can — who has those basic soft skills,
you can teach them just about anything, not all of them, but just about — if someone
has a discipline with the soft skills, they probably have the discipline to learn something
else. And again, I am absolutely not talking about doing the things like we’re doing today,
speaking in front of a group, that kind of thing. It’s the discipline, your personal
discipline. So help us with that, please help us with that. And then please help us come
up with ideas how we can expand the number of students who want to think analytically
or financially or technically. We need to expand that subset in Kansas. We have I think
a flat high school graduation rate, the number of students coming through high school I think
has been flat — has flattened over the last couple of years. That means a lot to community
colleges, to universities and so on. We need to figure out how to expand within that flat
stable numbered group, expand the number of people who are interested in analytical STEM
or financial careers.>>That’s terrific. Clint.
>>Four good things, good examples. I know that they have other names, I’m going to use
the names that I’m familiar with. I’m very embedded with Blue Valley CAPS. One of the
things that’s impressed me in our field in engineering is that we teach all engineering
skills. So you don’t know whether you want to be a civil engineer, a mechanical engineer,
electrical engineer, you just think you want to be an engineer. So the thing that’s impressed
me is that when these kids do their projects and they do the formulas, they don’t any of
them right. I mean, they really don’t. I mean, they are way off, right, Mike? They’re way
off. But at least they’ve tried the formula, and so they know what that’s like, they know
whether that’s what they want to do, and you need to do it younger and younger when there’s
a no-fear attitude. So don’t be afraid to give them hard things and them not get the
answer right. Sometimes it’s learning the process and refining to get the right answer
later. So I think that’s important to learn. It’s not always the right answer, it’s always
the right process, there will be time to learn the right answer.
Two, foreign language, we’ve already talked about it a little bit. Foreign language in
and of itself — and I speak Spanish fluently and Portuguese a little bit, and I spent ten
years doing work in Latin America. I had no expectation of doing work as an engineer in
Latin America, but because I spoke Spanish that opportunity was given to me. I don’t
see language as an end all. I don’t see learning French or Spanish or German or any of those
languages in and of itself as a degreed program, it’s a very competitive field, but you need
to start thinking about it on top of other things you want to learn. Think about a language
with business, with IT, with engineering, you know, with finance, with one of those,
because it will help. Three, change expectations. When kids are
going to college and they’re looking at a degree, they see 120 hours, 132 credit hours,
they know how many credit hours they’re bringing from their college-now program with their
high schools, so we know they’ve whittled it down now to 110 hours that they need at
the university, and their parents are so glad they’re going to finish in three years instead
of four, okay? So it’s great for the community college, it’s great for the high schools,
it’s great to advance kids, but change that expectation possibility. If they’re going
to a four-year college, add on top of that major, add some minors, maybe throw in language.
Maybe throw in business. But when you graduate from the university, maybe actually while
you’re at the university take 132 or 150 hours, get a major and a minor, because those are
the kinds of things that differentiate you from others.
And the last thing, and I’ve learned it ever since I was in the school board, is a phrase
that I’ve said is, “Learn to teach.” If you learn something well enough to teach it to
somebody else you know it. And frankly, there’s no benefit in learning something if you’re
not willing to teach it to somebody else.>>Terrific. Daryl.
>>Well, the — there’s a generation — I’ve hired probably 300, and I ended up at maybe
174, okay? And what I find is the people that are coming in right now want autonomy but
they can’t work with ambiguity. They want responsibility, but they don’t want accountability.
They want to be a leader, but they have no idea what is means to serve or mentor. So
we — we make brilliant kids and young men, but what I think would do best for them, if
they job shadowed a job that hauled garbage, if they job shadowed and spent time in a nursing
home. If they job shadowed somebody in a preschool that just loved to be around booger-picking
>>I think it would put a different appreciation on the degree that they’re getting and the
opportunity that they have. Thanks.>>Thank you. Now, we have — we have time
for a couple questions from the audience. Anyone out there has a question for the panel?
>>So just came back from Washington, D.C. at the CompTIA Fly-In where we’re working
with Congress in order to look at the Chance in Tech Act that will promote things like
IT and apprenticeships as in supporting services. I think IT will probably lead the industry.
My concern is someone graduating with IT, what are the other skill sets that are going
to make that IT valuable.>>[Inaudible].
>>Huge grasp. Huge grasp. I mean, in our construction industry, we don’t have enough
welders. Now, is the welder of the future going to be the tipped-down metal hat in the
small window, or is it going to be the guy driving a piece of instrument up behind it
that has the capacity to do it? I don’t know what that skill set is, but I do know that
there will also be the need to combine two pieces of metal in order to create a stronger
structure at that joint with welding. So when I say those basic principles never change,
water still flows downhill, I think your responsibility in your field is teaching them how is the
advancement of that, how is the speed with which that’s being developed, how are they
going to take those same simple tools that we all learned how to do on the drafting board
and convert them into an automated, computerized, moveable, nimble tool so that it be adjustable
for the future.>>Daryl.
>>Yeah, we’ve lost trades, we have. There is a huge gap in need. What I used to pay
maybe $600 a square foot for, routinely now I’m getting quoted for a 1,000 to $1,200 a
square foot because we haven’t the trades here. They have to be brought in. There’s
something to be said — I think — is he spent too many years saying that the trades was
what you did if you did not go to university and that’s a shame. I — they are equally
talented and probably much more adept at problem-solving than many of us. That’s — that’s a gap that
needs to be addressed.>>One last question. Yes.
>>You all have given us some great ideas for what the workforce needs and you talked
about K-12 and higher ed. What does [inaudible] and we think about changing that institution
to prepare students the way that higher ed and the workforce needs enough to be prepared,
and you’ve given us some great examples, and some great [inaudible]. I think mostly we
all agree that changing that workforce means changing the way we teach, changing what happened
every day in our school, [inaudible]. What kind of advice do you have K 12 educators
[inaudible] innovating and nimble and analytical, what would you say to that teacher workforce
that needs to happen for you all as employers [inaudible]?
>>Can I answer that question? I’m not going to repeat that for you. Ken, go ahead.
>>So thank you for asking the question. And here’s a classic example. So two years ago
we gave that Blue Valley Education Foundation Innovative Teacher Award, and one of them
went to a lady who started an all-girls pre-engineering class at Blue Valley Northwest. Couldn’t believe
the number of kids that wanted to enroll in that class because she had the foresight to
think that maybe at that age at sophomore or junior in high school it was a little bit
intimidating for some girls to step up and talk about math. And it worked perfectly.
So it’s — it’s ideas like that that are innovative that I think are incumbent upon everyone to
think about what can they do that’s a little different that might encourage people to step
forward and show some interest, because most of them, when they show interest, they’ll
grab it like you wouldn’t believe. So thank you for asking that question.
>>One other thing that I think the industry needs to do is give externships and figure
out a way to work with the time available that a teacher has in a meaningful way so
they understand maybe a broad stroke of that industry. And then when we say innovation,
it has an anchor.>>Thank you for your answers and also for
your questions. Outstanding panel. Can we give them a big round of applause, please?
[Applause]>>We are so fortunate in our community to
have such a collection of outstanding leaders who really care about our community and where
— the direction that it’s going to go in the future. So this bodes well, bodes for
Kansas City and the region, and I’d like to thank you for your participation, and also
to all of you for being here today. Martha, your turn to close.
>>Thank you, panel, thank you, Dr. Sopcich. Thank you all for your time and interest today.
The planning committee hopes this event will serve as a springboard to continued conversations
around guiding and preparing students for their future. For digital versions of today’s
materials, please contact Keely Schneider, her information is now on the screen. You’ll
also be able to view today’s events on the Johnson County Community College YouTube channel,
and we thank you, Johnson County Community College, Dr. Sopcich, your team, especially
Denise Griffey, Ali Scott and Chris Gray for hosting us today. Thank you also to Cindy
Swartz from the DeSoto Public Schools and Linda Appholder from Blue Valley Schools and
Keely Schneider from the Kansas Workforce Partnership for providing their insights and
dedication to the planning committee for today’s event. And we hope today’s forum has provided
a wonderful start to your week, and let’s all commit to moving the conversation forward
and have a great day.