KANSAS CITY, Mo (April 25, 2022) – Addressing historic disruptions in the nation’s supply chain and labor pipeline, Port KC today announced the launch of their Logistics Hiring & Workforce Advancement Program, aimed at creating new career opportunities in the logistics, warehousing and manufacturing sectors. Port KC’s Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the innovative new program at their April 25 meeting, and the first steps of the program are already taking shape and being implemented.
“This is an exciting time for logistics facilities in Kansas City as we experience significant expansion and anticipate sustained growth in our future. Opportunities for career advancement have never been better,” said Port KC President & CEO Jon Stephens. “Yet we face unprecedented challenges in recruiting and retaining a workforce to meet this increased demand, so Port KC is creating worker-centered ways to broaden and strengthen that pipeline of talent.”
In 2021, the Kansas City metro was the fourth-fastest growing logistics hub, surpassing more than 300 million square feet of logistics facilities. And while Kansas City is the 31st largest metro in the country, that recent surge propelled KC to become the nation’s 17th largest market for logistics. That growth has also attracted more manufacturers’ attention as they consider new locations.
However, logistics facilities often suffer from a perception of low wages, lack of benefits and lack of advancement opportunity. Additionally, many neighborhoods in Kansas City suffer from a significant number of citizens who are chronically unemployed or underemployed. And finally, there is an interest and a need for logistics companies and developers to locate sites closer to urban centers. The new Logistics Hiring & Workforce Advancement Program addresses all of those issues by overcoming historic and systemic hurdles to pair citizens looking for new careers with industries looking for strong candidates.
“Simply put, this is Kansas City’s opportunity to be a leader in merging project attraction with meaningful workforce support and assistance,” said Stephens. “Not only does this program provide support to existing programs, but it also serves as a new national model in the areas of attraction, workforce development and community support.”
The program’s impact has the potential to be felt well beyond the logistics, warehousing and manufacturing sectors and the specific jobs being filled. Supporting and assisting the citizens in underserved neighborhoods is vital to the success of the city, existing and growing neighborhoods alike and new businesses considering expanding in this area.
In forming the new Logistics Hiring & Workforce Advancement Program, Port KC would partner with the Full Employment Council to promote and highlight job opportunities in the logistics, warehousing and manufacturing sectors; identify and address issues impeding employment in these sectors; offer training and certifications where skill gaps exist; support training programs to youth seeking careers in these sectors; and establish a fund that would provide financial assistance to employees or potential employees in these sectors.
“This program is a great way for Kansas City to ‘Grow its Own Workforce’ through providing continuous career information and just in time training and employment systems,” said Full Employment Council President & CEO Clyde McQueen. “This program will help employ our citizenry at all levels while sustaining the tremendous growth we are experiencing and further anticipate.”
The new program would be funded through an annual financial contribution from Port KC, drawn from existing, budgeted funds. The balance of the program funding would be generated through payments collected from third parties each time Port KC issues its bonds in support of logistics, warehousing and/or manufacturing projects.
About Port KC
Port KC’s mission is to grow the economy of Kansas City through transportation, logistics and revitalization. Our agility, efficiency and cultivated partnerships enable us to create a more globally connected and competitive Kansas City. Our investment in the community strengthens our city and helps build a place for all Kansas Citians.