Saturday was a beautiful spring morning.
By BRIAN BURNES
The Kansas City Star
More than 250 young Kansas City residents spent it getting ready for summer.
They filled Pierson Auditorium at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, lining up for summer jobs and internships at the ninth annual Bright Future Employment Fair. Resumes in hand, they met with representatives of 15 city departments and four private employers.
“Young people may be only about 30 percent of our population, but they are 100 percent of the future,” Mayor Sly James told the assembled applicants before the interviewing began. “We have to start training the next group of leaders. That’s you.”
The fair, organized by the Mayor’s Office of Civic and Community Engagement, is part of a larger initiative aimed at giving Kansas City young people a variety of work and play options during the summer.
Recreational programs are scheduled to be described during a news conference Tuesday at the Brush Creek Community Center. They include a summer schedule of sports, as well as Club KC. The recreational program, which last year included DJs and dancing, will be offered on Friday and Saturday nights starting in late May and running through August at five sites across Kansas City.
City officials have worked to set aside resources for the programming, said Joni Wickham, deputy communications director with the mayor’s office. The budget for Club KC, she said, has increased from $200,000 to $400,000.
On Saturday, applicants appreciated the opportunity not only to interview for jobs, but to meet with public service professionals.
“I love the opportunity to give back to the city,” said Csani Johnson, a junior at Missouri State University in Springfield.
Others were pleased at the variety of employment options offered. City departments represented Saturday included parks and recreation, water, health, finance and public works.
“This is a unique event,” said Sandra DuPree, a UMKC pre-med and sociology senior. “I’m definitely humbled by the experience and excited to meet all the professionals here.”
“This is an opportunity for me to learn about summer employment that also could be educational and lead to further career opportunities,” added Richard Woods, 16, a student at Rockhurst High School.
Parents also appreciated the fair.
“Clearly there is a need for it,” said Joe Nastasi of Kansas City, president of the Center School District Board of Education, who attended with his son, Joshua, a Center High School senior.
City departments are expected to follow up with applicants by May 17, with internships running from June 3 through July 26.
To reach Brian Burnes, call 816-234-4120 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.