Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wyandotte students get employability skills at KCKCC


You might want to think twice before tattooing or body-piercing.

“You have the right to do anything you want to your body,” Rich Piper told students in the Business Academy at Wyandotte High School. “But keep in mind, employers have every right not to hire you. If you have to have a tattoo, keep it where it can be covered. A tattoo on the neck could be career ending.”

The Director of Technical Education at Kansas City Kansas Community College, Piper was one of four KCKCC educators who conducted an Essential Employability Skills program for 57 Wyandotte sophomores and seniors at KCKCC Tuesday.

Linda Wyatt, Director of the Career Center at KCKCC, met with students on communications; Business Development Liaison Marisa Gray discussed work ethic; former Social Sciences Prof. Dr. Janice McIntyre teamwork; and Piper work readiness.

“A lot of what they’re hearing they’ve heard before but hearing outside Wyandotte’s walls they may see things differently. Hearing it from college professors, they see this is real,” said Tiffany Jasper, a business instructor and the coordinator of Wyandotte’s Business Academy. “Based on my focus on students being work ready every day I teach, this is perfect for me and based on the feedback I’m getting, the students definitely understand what it’s going to take.”

Jasper said her decision to have students take the employability skills training came after a meeting with Dr. Marvin Hunt, Dean of Business and Continuing Education at KCKCC.

“I wanted to know what courses could be offered our students and Dr. Hunt suggested the employability skills,” said Jasper. “This is ACT Test Day for all juniors so I chose this as the field trip for our students. We want our students to walk away with soft skill knowledge not covered in class and job opportunities and the experience of a college level curriculum.”

Essential Employability Skills workshops are made available by KCKCC Workforce Development.

“Curriculums are adapted to the participants given that KCKCC’s service area offers a wide range of diversity related to geographic regions and other categorical distinctions such as age and socio-economic status,” said Jay Matlack, Workforce Development Coordinator. “What satisfies one group may not satisfy another.” The four components covered:

Workplace Readiness: The application process, job barriers, personal appearance, researching industry information, understanding job descriptions, interviewing and projecting an acceptable image were outlined by Rich Piper.

Work ethic: Marisa Gray focused on the three “abilities” – reliability, dependability and responsibility – along with the importance of honest, good and consistent attendance, pride in work, acceptance of advice, supervision and criticism and appropriate workplace behaviors and good manners.

Communication: Warning students of the dangers of putting unattractive photos on Facebook, Linda Wyatt also discussed how they could be influenced by interpersonal, organizational, public, spoken, written, nonverbal, e-mails and social media including blogs, LinkedIn, texting and Facebook.

Teamwork: The multiple aspects of teamwork were outlined by Dr. Janice McIntyre – listening, questioning, respecting, helping, sharing, participating, organizing, vision, Mutual decision making and problem solving.

Groups interested in offering Essential Employability Skills are urged to contact KCKCC Workforce Development at 913-288-7210 or


PHOTO: Wyandotte High School students in the school’s Business Academy were warned that while they have a right to have tattoos, businesses have a right to not hire them by Technical Education Director Rich Piper at an Essential Employability Skills program presented at Kansas City Kansas Community College Tuesday. (KCKCC Photo by Alan Hoskins)