A step toward better local jobs

Jeff Fox
The Examiner

Eastern Jackson County stands to gain with a reshuffling of Metropolitan Community College programs meant to help people get into good-paying jobs.

Jeff Fox

MCC’s Business and Technology campus in the East Bottoms, an impressive facility, is being phased out, but some of its programs are coming to an expanded MCC-Blue River campus in Independence, perhaps in early 2022, as The Examiner’s Karl Zinke reported last weekend. Those programs include forklift driving, certified drivers licenses and lineman technician.

Kansas City figures to continue having a growing number of jobs in logistics in the years ahead. Driving a forklift, for example. pays a living wage and can be a stepping stone to other things.

This seems to fall in line with the Community Services League’s program to train people as welders and certified nurses aides – in-demand jobs that open doors to better and better paychecks. 

At the state level, Missouri seems to recognize that it has a jobs problem. Employers in many fields constantly scramble to find people with the skills they need. But action at the state level is modest. These local solutions give some hope for local families and for a state that needs to do more to forcefully to address steadily rising paychecks.

Double, with cheese

Apparently there’s no such thing as too many cheeseburgers. Now it’s Whataburger coming to the crowded local market. It says it’s opening at 905 Missouri 7 in Blue Springs (the old Winstead’s) and has a proposed site at 1450 N.E. Douglas on that busy commercial strip on the east side of Lee’s Summit.

Midwest economy

By at least one measure, things are looking up – significantly – for the Midwestern economy.

The Creighton Economic Forecasting Group, at Creighton University in Omaha, puts the October regional business conditions index at 70.2, the highest in 16 years.

Each month, Creighton surveys supply managers at manufacturing companies across nine states, asking about inventories, sales and other factors as well as general sentiments. It puts all of that on a scale of 0 to 100, and any reading above 50 suggests manufacturers think things are looking up for at least the next few months. It posted its latest results Monday.

The big picture is that manufacturing has bounced back from the spring, when the pandemic set in. More than three out of four companies reported negative impacts from COVID-19.

And despite the loss of millions of jobs this year because of the pandemic, more than three-quarters of supply managers said they had trouble finding qualified workers last month.

Missouri has a Creighton reading of 78, up from 74.4 for September, with a strong rebound in employment.

Jeff Fox is The Examiner’s editor. Reach him at jeff.fox@examiner.net or on Twitter at @FoxEJC.