Hire KC is the signature youth employment program started by Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Sly James.  In 2017, Mayor James expanded the initiative from a city hall program into a citywide youth success platform managed by the KC Social Innovation Center, in partnership with the Full Employment Council.

Today, Hire KC Youth aligns and organizes the region’s work-based experiences to support opportunity equity, and illuminate career pathways so that all youth can learn and grow into promising futures.

Hire KC is a digital learning and youth employment hub to help coordinate a diverse set of stakeholders to identify and advance innovative youth employment initiatives.

Hire KC offers membership to practitioners, universities, donors, and area employers — so that we can build a connected community in responding to the region’s youth unemployment and talent development crisis.  The Hire KC Youth initiative harness these collective capabilities to empower young people to succeed in the 21st century labor market.

Our aim is to democratize the path and distance to opportunity—not only a physical distance but also a social and aspirational distance.  We are connecting Kansas City’s disconnected youth – teenagers and young adults between the ages of 16 and 24 who are neither working nor in school.  There are 5,527,000 disconnected youth in America today, or one in seven young adults—about as many people as live in Minnesota. The national disconnected youth population is larger than the populations of thirty US states.  In Kansas City, 12.3% of our youth, or nearly 31,000 young people, are neither working nor in school.  That rate jumps to 22% for black youth. 

*Sources:  Disconnected Youth, KC Regional Study, Recovery 2020

Hire KC explores how to impact youth knowing that the future of work is rapidly changing.  By 2020, 65% of all jobs will require more than a high school diploma, up from 28% in 1973, but only 24% of those jobs will require a 4-year degree.

Each summer, through the KC Social Innovation Center, Hire KC Youth pilots innovative modules and methods to experiment and explore new ways to successfully bring young people into area businesses, to increase job-readiness and to make opportunity more accessible for all.  And each summer, through the Full Employment Council, Hire KC Youth connects out-of-school youth and young adults to work-ready programs and job opportunities through the Summer Job League.

In the summer of 2017, over 50 Hire KC interns went through a new innovative, tech-inspired multi-week program, working on job sites and in cohorts with coaches to hone their professional and critical thinking skills, earn digital badges and leverage their experiences to create social impact.

We engage and recruit youth from the greater Kansas City area, working directly with high schools, colleges and post secondary institutions, youth organizations and workforce partners to help young people discover and explore the abundance of opportunities available in our region.

2018 Kick Off from Mayor James

2017 Overview

William’s Story

Yasmin’s Story

Dylan’s Story