by Murrel Bland
There is a social and economic dividing line in Wyandotte County with 72nd Street being the line of demarcation.
That was the message that Dr. Greg Mosier, president of Kansas City Kansas Community College, brought to a meeting of the Congressional Forum Friday, July 16, at Children’s Mercy Park. About 60 persons attended. The forum is a committee of the Kansas City, Kansas, Area Chamber of Commerce.
Dr. Mosier said the household income west of 72nd Street is about $64,000 a year; east of 72nd, the average annual income is about $36,000. His solution is education that speaks to the needs of employers in Wyandotte County. Presently, there are more than 5,000 job openings in Wyandotte County. Many of these jobs pay more than $50,000 a year.
The college, in cooperation with other social service agencies and others, is planning for a Downtown Community Education Center. The total cost would be more than $70 million. The college would invest $10 million in the project without increasing the mill levy.
Course offerings at the downtown campus would include English as a second language, general education diploma, automation engineering, biological sciences, administrative office professionals, general chemistry, commercial construction technology and welding.
Other agency partners will include the YMCA, the Wyandot Behavioral Health Network, Swope Health, Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools and Community America Credit Union. Through this cooperative effort, the cycle of poverty can be broken, Dr. Mosier said.
Private sector giving will play a key role in the downtown campus. Dr. Mosier announced a $10 million investment from the Sunderland Foundation. He said the goal of the fund-raising effort will be to have half of the $70 million raised by the end of 2021. Other sources of funds would include federal and state governments.
Dr. Mosier came to the community college in 2018 from Rochester (Minnesota) Community and Technical College. Previously he was a vice president at Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology, Okmulgee, and a dean at Moberly (Missouri) Area Community College.
Murrel Bland is the former editor of The Wyandotte West and The Piper Press. He is executive director of Business West.