Young Professionals

Our mission is to “connect new energy to the Chamber and Wyandotte County as a whole, encourage holistic civic duty, and develop young professionals’ leadership roles.”

The KCK Chamber rolled out KCK Forward Young Professionals in 2017 with the goal to convene and serve area professionals between the ages of 21 and 40 (or young at heart). The initiative’s pillars include networking, professional development and community outreach.

#KCK_FWD

Programming in the last year has included…

Networking

Joint networkers with young professional groups throughout the Kansas City Metropolitan.

Panel Talks

A panel discussion at City Hall with former KCK Mayor Mark Holland, City Administrator Doug Bach, and Commissioner Angela Markley regarding young professionals impact on our community.

Guided Tours

A “Connect the Dotte” culture/history crawl through downtown Kansas City, Kansas.

Happy Hour

A “Hard Hat Holiday Happy Hour” at the new, state-of- the-art Pinnacle/Children’s Mercy Sports Medicine Center.

Discussion

And, finally, a round table regarding what attracts young professionals to jobs/employers and communities.

So what attracts young professionals to a job, and - better yet - a specific area? Here is what KCK Forward found…

What are you looking for in a place to live? Describe your ideal setting.

– Centrally located in the Metropolitan
– Entertainment options
– Cost of living
– Crime rate
– Walkability

What are some activities you are/would like to be involved in outside of work?

– Recreational sports leagues
– Charitable work/events
– Community gardens
– Outdoor events
– Walking/hiking options

What are the biggest barriers to work/life balance that you have faced in your career thus far?

– Long hours expected (even weekends)

What are the biggest barriers in the job search process?

– Online job search – many questions to filter, some jobs are still posted and not taken down even when filled
– Some postings are bogus; already hired someone; job seekers wasting their time preparing and
applying
– Hard to find a job without a network
– Having to deal with large HR departments for larger companies

What are some of the biggest challenges when starting a new job?

– First job experience – getting used to waking up early, process involved in going to work
– Retaining new information
– Getting used to the culture of the office
– Sometimes the job is not what is portrayed at the interview
– Adapting to new personalities/learning team dynamics

What do you wish someone had told you about job searching?

– Network – teaching you how to network, what to do at a networking events, elevator speech
– Communication skills; email etiquette, LinkedIn
– Resources – on writing a resume, interview skills, proper attire
– Be yourself to a point
– Benefit of being bilingual
– Volunteer, community engagement to add to experience
– Participate in internship

What do you wish someone had told you/would tell you when starting a new job?

– Straightforward on what is expected of you
– Need different skill sets for longevity on the job; look for future opportunities
– Salaries – room for growth and advancement
– It is ok to leave when there are red flags; how to come up with a plan when you have to exit
– Financial education – taxes, savings, basic financial skills, deductions
– Expectations, benefits, and leadership in the workplace must be communicated by HR to eliminate potential problems in the future

What are you looking for in a career? What does it mean to you?

– Opportunity for growth; acknowledgement…always a constant upward motion.
– Part of millennial culture to “do what makes you happy”
– Fulfillment; More of a blend between work/home life because we’re starting families later. More important for our careers to align with core values
– Enjoy what we do, excited to come into work; Feeling like you believe in what you do
– Lifelong learning; Expanding your toolkit

What do you want seasoned professionals know about young professionals?

– Young people offer fresh view to organization
– Can see different point of views
– As more young people are entering the workforce we are creating new and different needs
– The energy is there, even if the preparedness isn’t as evident
– We’re looking for validation (positive and constructive feedback)
– We’re not entitled, we just need flexibility
– It’s much more than the 9-5 job. It’s important for leadership to acknowledge that it’s important for us to be involved in other areas of our life
– Affirmation, affirmation, affirmation
– Looking for more modes of communication

Why are you living/working in the Kansas City (WYCO) area?

– See the need for the service here
– Enjoy diversity of community and feels respected here. “People are more willing to help others here….”
– Diversity in opportunity
– We’re diverse, but the same…not a lot of people get that kind of exposure.
– Has a new passion for community pride since working in Wyandotte County
– Whether or not people are from here or have an attachment here there is still a sense of pride
– There’s a sense of loyalty to Wyandotte County
– Invest in yourselves, invest in your resources, invest in your community
– Seeing the new energy makes those though who grew up here want to stay/live/work here

Do you see yourself continuing to live/work in the are in 5 years? Why/Why not?

– Continuing to see the need to serve the area and keep the momentum makes us want to stay
– Big city/small town still in development…lots of room for opportunity

KCK Forward would like to thank its sponsors.

Interested in joining and partnering with the KCK Chamber?

Connect with Kate Kershaw, Director of Partnerships and Memberships, and learn about engagement opportunities and how the Chamber can best serve you and your business!
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