Bancroft School Apartments ready for residents
On Nov. 9, the Green Impact Zone staff joined Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II, Mayor Sly James, the Make It Right Foundation, Dalmark Group, Historic Manheim Park Neighborhood Association, current and former neighborhood residents, and other partners for a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Bancroft School Apartments.
The school building at 4300 Tracy, built in 1904 and vacant since 1999, has been transformed into affordable rental housing and community space. The $14 million renovation was led by the Make It Right Foundation, the organization founded by actor Brad Pitt to address housing needs in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
The LEED Platinum project, designed by BNIM Architects, includes 50 rental units, both in the school building and in new townhomes on the school grounds. Community amenities in the main building include an auditorium, gym, computer lab and gardens. Rents for the one-, two- and three-bedroom units range from $470 to $695. Applicants must meet income eligibility requirements. For more information and a link to the rental application, visit www.thebancroftschool.com.
Green Impact Zone congratulates latest graduates of EES training — some already hired!
At least one-third of the 22 graduates of the Green Impact Zone's September Essential Employability Skills training (EES) have already found work and more will be interviewing for jobs in the next week.
Families and friends joined those who completed the free, weeklong program for a special graduation and reception on Sept. 13. This is the seventh round of EES classes offered by the Green Impact Zone for unemployed and underemployed residents who need assistance in entering the job market or need to upgrade their skills.
One unique aspect of this EES session involved a partnership with the Metropolitan Energy Center (MEC) where interested students received five weeks of training in deconstruction and hazardous waste removal before entering the EES class. Warren Leavitt, director of training programs for MEC, said seven people were hired before graduation — six of them by the same employer. The students received training and certification in areas such as mold remediation, first aid/CPR, hazardous waste operations and emergency response (HAZWOPER), and asbestos abatement. A final course in lead abatement is offered as an option. A second track allows participants to become certified environmental inspectors and air sampling technicians.
Mark Woods, 51, had some experience in demolition and renovation, but says he never knew how dangerous the work was until going through the training. "Everyone should go through this. It would make a big impact on this world," he said.
During the week of EES training, participants had a refresher course in basic interviewing skills, resume writing, professional dress and what it means to have a strong work ethic. Some of the graduates received two certificates — one for completing their 'hard skills' training in environmental remediation and abatement, and one for completing the EES program. All participants also received new suits to wear to interviews from Connections to Success.
EES participants must arrive on time, dress in business attire and demonstrate professionalism each day in order to graduate. Since the Green Impact Zone began offering EES training in 2011, more than 100 residents have graduated from the program. Another round of EES training will be held in November. For more information, call 816-936-8803.
In the photo, from left to right.
Front Row: Tracey Reynolds, Mark Woods, Victoria Finley, Cheryl Kincaid, Allen Tate, Carlos Burke, Eric Cuffee
Back Row: Rory Thorpe, Daryl Carter, Juanita Singleton, Todd Neukom, Larry Hatch
Hiring fair draws hundreds of job seekers in the urban core
Hundreds of people looking for work turned out in the pouring rain for a hiring fair held at the St. James United Methodist Church at 55th and Paseo on Sept. 17. The Green Impact Zone partnered with the Urban League and the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Urban Neighborhood Initiative (UNI) to help urban core residents find jobs.
More than a dozen companies were in attendance representing retailers, banks, hospitals, colleges and the armed services. Many of them were actively seeking to fill available jobs. The hiring fair drew a variety of people. Demetria Jones, 23, a recent graduate of University of Central Missouri with a degree in health studies, is already employed with two jobs. "I'm looking for something in my major in clinical research or infection control," she said.
John Sanders, 60, who is unemployed, came to the hiring fair looking for work in his field as an electrical engineer. "I've been looking all over the place, networking and following up on tips. Iâ€™m hoping to find something here," he said. Job seekers were asked to come with resumes and dressed for pre-screening interviews. The Green Impact Zone, UNI, and the Urban League want to cultivate commitments with potential employers to hire residents from the central city on an ongoing basis.
Citizen Police Academy gets underway with a look at police officer training and 9-1-1 operations
The first session of the Citizen Police Academy (CPA) was held Sept. 7 at the Green Impact Zone where residents are learning about Kansas City Police Department (KCPD) operations. The CPA is designed to help residents understand how the police department functions and how they can become more proactive in their communities. Normally, the CPA is held at a KCPD facility north of the river, a location that is difficult for zone residents — particularly those who rely on public transportation — to reach. This is the second year the zone has hosted the CPA.
The first session focused on officer training, the 9-1-1 system, the citizen complaint process and how KCPD selects officer candidates. Sergeant Kurt Schmidt of the KCPD training academy explained the physical and mental preparation that goes into becoming a police officer and how different police work is from what's shown on television, especially as it relates to gunfire. "I've seen thousands of police shootings on television and I've only been involved in two," he stated.
About 35 people are enrolled in the academy that will allow participants a behind-the-scenes look at a number of units within the police department including, crime scene investigations, meth lab operations, the mounted patrol, and the gang squad. Some attendees are going through the program, because they are interested in joining KCPD. Chris Tiebout, 22, is a firefighter with the Inter-city Fire Protection District in Blue Summit, Mo., but hopes to make a career change and become a police officer. Kimberly Monk, 20, is a junior at Avila College majoring in Criminology and Justice and says her dream is to work in the canine unit. Others are attending CPA to make a difference in their community. Carol Graves, 63, lives in the Hickman Mills area. "I am concerned about police presence in my neighborhood and in the school districts," she said.
Next Saturday, participants will visit the Helicopter Unit at 4601 Eastern and see the canine operations, the mounted patrol, the bomb and arson squad and tour the South Patrol Division. Applicants must be 18 years of age or older, live or work in Kansas City, Mo., and be in good standing with the community. Each applicant was chosen after passing a thorough background check. The seven-week course will meet through Oct. 19.
Green Impact Zone welcomes Blue Hills Business Center and Contractor Incubator
On Thursday, Sept. 5, Blue Hills Community Services held a grand opening for the new Blue Hills Business Center at 5008 Prospect. Nearly 200 people, including elected officials, staff, community leaders and residents enjoyed an open house reception at the newly renovated building, with musical entertainment provided by the Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts. Read our blog for the full story.
A national model
The Green Impact Zone initiative is an effort to concentrate resources — with funding, coordination, and public and private partnerships — in one specific area to demonstrate that a targeted effort can literally transform a community. This national model for place-based investment is now underway in the heart of Kansas City's urban core. More»