Thomas Meyer is the newest president of Metropolitan Community College’s Blue River and Business and Technology campuses, having stepped into the role last month.

Meyer began his career in community college administration in 2001, after a career in consulting for immigration and naturalization services, pharmaceutical companies and health-care systems. Meyer said he fell in love with the connection he felt with the community and helping students find their careers and passions.

“It’s been with me ever since,” he said.

Coming to Independence from Pennsylvania, where he served as vice president for a community college, Meyer said he was “very impressed with the things MCC has happening as an institution under one college,” and with the strength of the five individual campuses.

Describing MCC as a “college that’s on the move,” Meyer added that being a part of that trajectory is exciting and exhilarating.

“I embrace change, so it’s something I get excited about. There are others that might not find it that way but I think that’s what makes me a good fit for this,” he said.

Meyer said he takes a forward-thinking approach to higher education, and wants to prepare students to be lifelong learners, giving them skills to tackle the future outside of what they’ll need in the workplace. Meyer said this mindset of embracing change is crucial for students entering the workforce as technology advances.

“The jobs that we’re preparing our students for now may very well not be here 10, 20, 30 years from now,” he said, saying that by training students to adapt and grow even outside of the college environment, they will be able to tackle changes as well as careers that don’t exist yet.

“As a community college, that’s our goal, to get people to engage in that lifelong learning,” Meyer said.

Meyer said he is currently meeting with community to identify what needs are present in the area, as well as its specific workforce needs.

“It’s all about partnering with the community and finding out what the local workforce needs are to prepare the students,” he said. “I really want to learn much more about the greater Independence area and Blue River area to see what the workforce needs are specific to this region … but also for the greater Kansas City region as well.”

As students get ready for the upcoming fall semester at MCC, Meyer encourages them to keep focused on their dreams.

“My message is for them to be persistent and not give up, to follow their dreams and not lose sight of them for their immediate wants and needs,” he said, explaining that “life is going to happen, but your education is always going to be there to support you.”