Personal Finance

Quick Ways to Good Money | American Graduate

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What would you say to making $18 per hour after less than half a year of post-secondary training? Or $35 an hour in a union job? Those aren’t hypotheticals. Workforce experts say those jobs exist in the Kansas City area, and workers are in demand. One of the biggest hurdles in matching people with those positions, observers said, is overcoming the stigma that has developed around blue collar professions like manufacturing and construction. 

How is it that such good jobs can have such a bad reputation?

Career Profile: Animal Scientist David Patterson | Market to Market Classroom

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David Patterson is an animal scientist researcher at the University of Missouri in this career profile from Market to Market Classroom. Market to Market Classroom provides insight on the experiences, education and opportunities from a variety of career professionals working in agriculture-related industries. 

Vishal Singh: CEO and Founder of Quantified Ag | What If – Innovator Insights

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NOTE: Spanish version is captions only.

Called a “FitBit for Cows,” high tech ear tags created by a Lincoln company Quantified Ag and founder Vishal Singh make it easier for cattle producers to monitor animal health. Vishal Singh is CEO and founder of Quantified Ag. The Lincoln, NE startup is creating an ear tag to electronically monitor cattle health.

Innovation Insights features short video interviews with innovators and creators answering questions about things like influences, passions, and mistakes, and offering advice for the next generation of innovators.

Hacking Your Brain to Get Out of Debt | Two Cents

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Debt is one of our least favorite things to talk about, and that's one of the main reasons it is so hard to pay off. BUT researchers have figured out how to rewire your brain to take on the debt monster.

Do I Need to Buy a House? | Two Cents

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The importance of homeownership is still embedded in American culture, but actual homeownership has dropped to its lowest level since 1967. How should we react to that? Are more young people ready to buy a home than they believe?

Workforce Challenges in KC and Beyond: Videos | American Graduate

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This collection of videos accompanies the Workforce Challenges in KC and Beyond lesson plan featuring KCPT's American Graduate: Getting to Work series.

Career Profile: Farmer James Petersen | Market to Market Classroom

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James Petersen raises livestock, grows organic, conventional, and genetically modified crops on his family-run farm in this career profile from Market to Market Classroom. Market to Market Classroom provides insight on the experiences, education, and opportunities from a variety of career professionals working in agriculture-related industries.  

Building a Better Workforce | American Graduate

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There is a lot of talk in workforce development circles about “middle skills” jobs, career opportunities that fall between minimum-wage positions and others that require at least a four-year degree. 

But Ryan Meador has a different phrase for that wide swath of workers in the center of those two occupational poles. He calls them the “meaty middle,” and he works a lot with that population as dean of student development and enrollment management at the Business and Technology Campus of Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City, Missouri. 

That’s the group of high school students — perhaps as many as three quarters of them — that falls between the standouts and potential dropouts. 

“These are the individuals that are best for going into programs where there’s practical application,” Meador said. “We’re going to teach you the skills that you need, and we’re going to get you into good paying jobs. …. They’re the ones who have opportunities, who have the skills and ability to be successful, but don’t have what it takes to drive it on their own.” 

And it’s those students who are prime candidates to take advantage of what the workforce development community describes as “stackable credentials.” That’s where a student earns an industry certification, in say, IT security, and then builds upon that skill up through community college and then a four-year institution. (For more on that, see the video above.) 

Only about a third of the open jobs in Kansas City require a bachelor’s degree or higher, Meador said. 

One of his best real-world examples of succeeding through stacking is a Kansas City Power & Light executive, who now has a master’s degree, but who got in with the company after going through MCC’s program for linemen. KCP&L paid for much of his schooling 

In today’s world, Meador said, healthcare is one of the best industries suited to stacking credentials. 

For every doctor, he said, there are about two nurses that have bachelor’s degrees and there’s about six other support staff that have somewhere between a high school degree and associate’s degree. Others with more limited training include phlebotomists and billing and coding staff. 

Dr. Doug Girod is looking at workforce development from a different vantage point than Meador, but as the former executive vice chancellor of the University of Kansas Medical Center, he certainly shares the viewpoint about the healthcare field. Girod is now chancellor of the University of Kansas. 

The U.S. is short about 50,000 physicians, he said. And there are manpower shortages in just about any healthcare-related field, he said, from physical therapists to lab personnel. 

Girod has also been a leader within KC Rising, a business-led initiative to accelerate economic growth within the region. So, he has thought about education and workforce development from a variety of perspectives. 

“It’s really a matter of creating connectivity,” Girod said. “So, reaching further into high school, if not middle school, and helping students understand pathways and what those pathways look like, creating those pathways, and then making them continuous.”

Fighting the Financial Pitfalls of the Supermarket | Two Cents

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Supermarkets are built with tricks and challenges designed to make you spend more than you planned. But with a little preparation, you can safely avoid them and save money. We have some grocery tips this week!

Is My Identity Safe from Hackers | Two Cents

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You can never protect yourself 100% from identity thieves, but there are ways to make it harder for them! Here's how you can help protect yourself from identity theft.

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