Great Jobs KC

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A Message From Our CEO

Reflecting on Black History Month: A Message from Earl Martin Phalen, CEO of Great Jobs KC

As we reflect on Black History Month, I am honored and humbled by the legacy of the Black community; it deeply inspires me with unwavering determination as it shapes the fabric of our society and paves the way for progress.

This legacy reminds me of the pivotal role mentors play in our lives, and I am profoundly grateful for the guidance and support of Professor Ogletree, whose belief in me ignited the spark of my first nonprofit endeavor after law school. His mentorship not only shaped my path but also instilled in me the conviction to uplift and empower others, regardless of background or circumstance.

I am immensely proud of the dedication, passion, and resilience our team brings to our mission. Together, we are not only rewriting the narrative of economic opportunity but also shaping a future where every individual has the chance to thrive.

If you’ve been a part of our legacy previously, we thank you and ask that you join us as we recommit ourselves to the values of inclusion, diversity, and equity that define our organization. If you’ve been a spectator to our impact, we encourage you to join us as we strive for excellence, inspire one another, and embody the spirit of unity that makes our community and nation stronger. There are many ways to support what we do; you can donate to help us continue to fund college and job training scholarships, you can lend the support of your own organization to our Scholars, you can volunteer to be a community reviewer for student applications, or you can simply share our message with your community to help us broaden our reach and engagement.

Thank you for your unwavering dedication and tireless efforts in advancing our mission – Scholars First. Together, we are truly making a difference, one life, one job, and one story at a time.

– Earl

Shaping the fabric of our society

Help us continue to fund college and job training scholarships

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Nearly $8 million in scholarships for adult learners to achieve their college dreams.

On February 29th we awarded $50,000 college scholarships to over 150 deserving adult learners.


Our first Core Value, which is the one that drives our mission and inspires us every day, is SCHOLARS FIRST. Here's what our Scholars have to say:

“KC Scholars [Great Jobs KC] has meant to me a lot more than I can explain, I came to America not knowing to expect, but when I was a junior in high school I got a scholarship from KC Scholars, it was the best day of my life. When I graduated high [school], I went to Avila University, in Kansas City, it was a private university. I didn’t have any problems paying for anything because KC Scholars got me. But something happened to my life so, I had to stop going to school and only work so I can be able to provide. I told KC Scholars about it. Turns out they have programs that are 4-6 weeks and you make really good money. My brother told me about the program, so I called them and talked to them about it, I was surprised on how fast it went. Again they gave me another scholarship for a program. I graduated with my certificate and I now make $89k a year. Without [Great Jobs KC], I don’t know where I would be. Thank you so much. KC Scholars means a lot to me, KC Scholars is my family.”

-Safi Veronique, CDL Driver Werner Enterprise

Our KC Scholars High School Scholarship Team

The Traditional Scholarship and College Savings Match applications are now closed!

A few highlights from the January 9 – February 23 application window:

  • Worked with 108 high schools in 6-county service area
  • Weekly email to high school’s point of contact regarding application numbers
  • Frequent, direct communication with high school counselor
  • Flyer distribution
  • Direct mail to more than 6,000 homes
  • 19 virtual application workshops
  • 23 in-school application workshops
  • 25 schools hosted their own application workshops

We will award 250 applicants with the 11th grade Traditional Scholarship that provides up to $50,000 paid directly to the college, over the course of up to six years. There will be 250 awardees for the 9th grade College Savings Match program that provides eligible students with a 1:1 match and incentives up to $1,400 to use toward college. All applicants will find out whether they were awarded a scholarship on May 1, 2024. We wish the best to all applicants!

K-State Campus Visit

Scholar Advocates have been out and about on college campuses connecting with scholarship recipients. Scholar Advocate Kaylie Smith was on K-State’s campus for their Cookies with Coaches event on Valentine’s Day. Pictured is Kaylie Smith with scholarship recipient Shawnee Warren and the cookie she decorated during the event.

Adult Learner scholarship

Nearly $8 million dollars in Adult Learner Scholarships awarded on February 29!

After a record-breaking number of Adult Learner Scholarship applications this award cycle, we awarded over 150 Adult Learner Scholarships valued at $50,000 each on February 29th. Congrats to all scholarship recipients! We can’t wait to see what your future holds, and we’ll be with you every step of the way!

Congratulations to all awardees we can’t wait to see your stories unfold.

black & white image of scholars celebrating graduation.



Currently in Training


Currently in Workshops



Our Great Jobs KC team trained with the DeBruce Foundation on the Agile Work Profiler for the Scholar Advocates and Career Resource Managers to become Agility coaches. Scholars will begin taking the AWP during workshops, so Scholar Advocates can use the data with Scholars who are not certain about the best career path for them, and Career Resource Managers can use the data to highlight the top strengths in a Scholar’s resume.

What is

Access to a short-term, flexible, skills-based career training program that is TUITION-FREE, if you qualify.

  • It’s short-term because you can complete the program in less than a year.
  • It’s flexible because our training partners offer programs that include virtual, online, on-campus, hands-on, or even hybrid training.
  • It’s skills-based because you master high-demand skills that employers are seeking in the following careers: healthcare, construction, information technology, logistics/warehouse, or manufacturing. 

It’s a career training program because it trains you for a career, not just a job. A career with a salary that helps you secure your future.

How does the Great Jobs KC Program Model Work? Program Model: Five Elements of the Great Jobs KC Model

1. Intake

  • Identify Career Interests/Goals
  • Schedule interested participants for career specific orientation
  • Introduction to Scholar Advocate


  • Life Skills: Time, Money, and Stress Management
  • Career Skills: Resume, Networking & Job Search, Building your Brand
  • Workplace Skills: Working as a Team, Effective Communication, Managing Change


  • Scholar Advocate Support
  • Scholar Support Resources
  • Complete Training
  • Assistance National/State Certifications
  • Introduction to Career Resource Manager

4. Employer Network Team: EMPLOYMENT

  • Update and complete resume
  • Introductions to Employers
  • Interviewing Preparation 


  • Frequent communication from Scholar Advocate during first year of employment
  • Alumni Support

What programs does Great Jobs KC offer?


  • Clinical Medical Assistant (CMA)
  • Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
  • Dental Assistant
  • EKG/ECG Technician
  • Medical Billing and Coding
  • Administrative Medical Assistant
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Phlebotomy Technician
  • Sterile Processing
  • Certified Medication Technician (CMT)
  • Certified Medication Aide
  • Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
  • Firefighter/ Fire Science


  • Certified Manufacturing Associate
    • Assembler
    • Machine Operator
    • Operations Clerk
  • Welding Technician
  • Environmental Remediation/ Hazmat
  • FANUC Handling Tool Operation and Programming

Information Technology

  • Networking Technician
  • Computer User Support
  • IT Support Specialist
  • Digital/ Social Media Marketing
  • Data and Business Analytics
  • Sales Development and Operations
  • UX Design
  • Software Development
  • IT Apprenticeships (separate application process)
  • Data Analytics
  • Project Management
  • Cybersecurity Specialist
  • Web Development and Design


  • Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)
  • Warehousing Specialist/ Materials Handler


  • Construction Fundamentals
  • CAD (Computer Aided Drafting and Design)
  • Revit BIM (Revit for Building Information Modeling)
  • Pre-Apprenticeships and apprenticeships:
    • Iron workers
    • Electricians
    • Carpentry
    • General labor
    • Painters/glaziers
    • Operating engineers

Service Careers

  • Dog Grooming
  • Insurance Agent
  • Insurance Specialist
  • Claims Adjuster
  • Culinary Arts
  • Community Interpreter
  • Medical Interpreter
  • ESL Courses

Want to find out if you qualify?

Fill out the form and find out. Or, if this is the perfect opportunity for someone you know, please share the link with them.

Click Here For Link

Have questions or want to find out more?
Join us online EVERY Wednesday 12:00pm-1:00pm
for a virtual information session.
Join on your computer, mobile app, or device.
Click here to join the meeting
Meeting ID: 221 112 442 485
Passcode: 37VfG6
Or call in (audio only)
+1 816-406-3910 618051675# United States, Kansas City
Phone Conference ID: 618 051 675#

Our Job-Training Partners

The Education Partner Team has an exciting initiative that will be launched in the coming weeks. Our CDL training partner, APEX CDL Institute, has responded to our Scholars’ need for transportation by purchasing a 15-passenger van and developing a plan to transport our Scholars to their CDL training.

A Thank You To Our Reviewers!

Thank you to Scholarship Reviewers!

A big thank you to all our volunteer scholarship reviewers! Reviewers dedicate approximately 20 hours of time each cycle to review applicants’ personal statements and recommendations. This year we had a total of 338 reviewers, with 85 of those being new reviewers this application cycle. We couldn’t do this without your time and support!

What Our Reviewers Say About The Experience:

"WOW! The applications I read were from a wide-range of backgrounds and all so very deserving, IMO. Worried that I wouldn't be able to sign on easily again, I completed them all tonight. The hardships and obstacles these people deal with every single day are mind boggling and their ability to navigate them is remarkable. We live such immense lives of privilege, for which I'm grateful every single day. You're doing such important work. Thank you for letting me be a very small part of it."
- Rachel
"It was such a pleasure being a part of this process! I’m so thankful that I volunteered. It humbled me, inspired me, and gave my whole attitude a reset!!! Please keep me in mind for anything in the future, as I will always say yes!"
- Brandi N. Johnson
Mortgage Loan Processor, II
scholar smiling

Our Donors, Our Heroes

While we couldn’t be prouder that we’ve been able to award 730 scholarships during this past year’s award cycle through the generosity of both our donors and our Post-Secondary Network partners, we want to be able to fulfill the dreams of even MORE Scholars this next award cycle.

Our class of Adult Learners for 2024 was announced last week when we awarded 150 deserving adults with the opportunity to achieve their college goals. Our next class of high school awardees is due to be announced this SPRING and we need YOUR help to make sure the untapped potential of Kansas City does not go unrealized due to a lack of funding.

Please join us and INVEST in the future of Kansas City. You can make a one-time donation or even set up recurring donations.

A Tax-Saving Way to Help Great Jobs KC!

Make a difference today and save on taxes. It is possible when you support Great Jobs KC through your IRA. Robert and his wife have taken advantage and couldn’t be prouder of their decision: “My wife and I learned about Great Jobs KC from the local news and after some further research I continued to be impressed. The process of making a donation by Qualified Charitable Distribution was quite easy. I will consider donating again as I believe education is crucial to the future of our society.”
– Robert C.

A Special Opportunity for Those 70½ Years Old and Older

You can give any amount (up to a maximum of $105,000) per year from your IRA directly to a qualified charity, such as Great Jobs KC, without having to pay income taxes on the money. Gifts of any value of $105,000 or less are eligible for this benefit, and you can feel good knowing that you are making a difference at Great Jobs KC.

Why Consider This Gift?

• Your gift will be put to use today, allowing you to see the difference your donation is making.

• Beginning in the year you turn 73, you can use your gift to satisfy all or part of your required minimum distribution (RMD).

• You pay no income taxes on the gift. The transfer generates neither taxable income nor a tax deduction, so you benefit even if you do not itemize your deductions.

• Since the gift doesn’t count as income, it can reduce your annual income level.

Please contact Karolyn Dreiling at or 816-601-2282 for more information!

We were proud to host one of our Named Scholarship Donors, RiskeKC (Mark Murphy) and his 2023 Named Scholar Tumusifu Ndagijimana (TL).

If you are interested in a Named Scholarship in honor or memory of someone, please reach out to Chief Development Officer, Jessica Rhodes at

We hosted a donor appreciation event on Tuesday February 13th at the National Museum of Toy/Miniatures where adult scholar, Tina Downey and Great Jobs KC program finisher, Jeniffer Rojas spoke about their experience with Great Jobs KC.

Our Community Engagement Team

Over the past year, as we expanded our team, we continue to build bridges with our wonderful Great Jobs KC community! We understand the importance of community collaboration—it really does take a village! If you know of any organizations, religious institutions, or businesses we should connect with to broaden and enhance our impact within the community, we warmly encourage you to contact our team! 

Scholar Support Resources

If your business or non-profit would like to become a scholar support resource partner, helping to provide support for our scholars, please reach out to us at

Research & Evaluation

6-year Evaluation Report

Our Research & Evaluation team has completed the Evaluation of the KC Scholars Program Year Six Report. You can read the full report Here

Reports from previous years can be found Here 

Employer Partner Program

We’d like to welcome and THANK our newest Employer Partner, who has signed on with us to gain access to our exceptional pool of qualified Scholars to fill their much needed open positions.

Our Employer Partnership Program has three options that will allow you to increase the skill level and diversity of your current workforce while impacting the entire Kansas City workforce of tomorrow.

If we can help you find the staff you need, contact us at

How does the partnership work?

What's your Investment?


Annual membership for a set number of hires.


Per hire fee based on industry and number of hires.


Partnership where you cover 50% of training funds to upskill current staff to better paying jobs.

What's your Return?


Access to our qualified Scholar candidate pool on an ongoing basis to fulfill yearly hiring needs.


Access to our qualified Scholar candidate pool to fulfill immediate staffing needs.


Great Jobs KC financial investment covering 50% of training funds to upskill your current employees to better paying jobs.

What are the three program options and how do they work?



Access to our qualified scholar candidate pool.


Annual membership of $20,000 with up to 10 trained hires guaranteed.

Annual membership of $28,000 with up to 20 trained hires guaranteed.

Annual membership of $40,000 with up to 40 trained hires guaranteed.


New hire follow-up and support:

GJKC Advocates

One-on-one personal support through training and the first year of employment.

Workforce Development

We offer online training courses to support each new hire’s soft-skills development during their first consecutive six months of employment.

Scholar Support Resources

Access to community resources that aid in the managing of responsibilities while scholars adapt to work schedules and job expectations during the first twelve months of employment.



Access to our qualified scholar candidate pool.


$1,200 per hire in manufacturing and construction

$2,500 per hire in the medical or IT field.


New hire follow-up and support:

GJKC Advocates

One-on-one personal support through training and the first year of employment.

Workforce Development

We offer online training courses to support each new hire’s soft-skills development during their first consecutive six months of employment.

Scholar Support Resources

Access to community resources that aid in the managing of responsibilities while scholars adapt to work schedules and job expectations during the first twelve months of employment.



Great Jobs KC provides you with up to 50% of training funds to support your identified training needs. Per Scholar maximum contribution:

$5,000 (Health Industry)

3,500 (IT Industry)

$2,000 (Manufacturing Industry)

$1,250 (Construction Industry)


You are partnering with us to cover the remaining cost of training, 50%.


Follow-up and support:

GJKC Advocates

Not applicable.

Workforce Development

Additional training funds could be facilitated if applicable.

Scholar Support Resources

Access to community based resources available if needed.

What makes our Scholars different?

1. Great Jobs KC candidates come from our six county areas (Cass, Clay, Platte, and Jackson in Missouri; Johnson and Wyandotte in Kansas), so they are local talent, meaning they are invested in the community and in staying at your organization.

2. Great Jobs KC invests thousands of dollars per candidate in soft skills workshops and life skills workshops to develop a more stable individual.

In The Media

CEO, Earl Martin Phalen appeared on “The Grio With Marc Lamont Hill” to discuss the quest to build the economy in the African American community and his recent trip to the White House.  

Listen to Great Jobs KC CEO, Earl Martin Phalen as his mission and insights on race education and the importance of affordable education/training are featured on WRHU-FM Hofstra University.

Our Development Team challenged a San Francisco Nonprofit to a “Raising in the Red Zone” competition to see who could raise more funds over Super Bowl Weekend. Here’s the coverage on local news.

Great Jobs KC was featured on KSHB Channel 41 as part of their Black History Month spotlights as an organization helping break the cycle of student loan debt among Black and Brown students.

Check out the feature on our CEO, Earl Martin Phalen in the Black History Month special edition of The Kansas City Globe: Greater Kansas City’s Largest Circulated Black-Owned Weekly

Scholarships Help Communities as Much as Students

Scholarships Help Students & Their Communities.


We thrive on feedback. Let us know what you think, review us on Google. It provides us feedback, and the review helps us rank higher on Google, which means more people find us, and we can CHANGE MORE LIVES. Click Here For The Link

Notice Our Email Addresses Have Changed?

To go along with the recent expansion of our name to Great Jobs KC, our organization’s email addresses are changing. Please reach out to your contact(s) here to get an updated email address. Our previous emails will continue to work for a few months, but please make sure to update them soon. Staff emails will be based on first and last name, but email addresses referenced on our website will remain the same before the @, but after the @, it will now be