Downtown Council Member Spotlight
The Member Spotlight showcases Downtown Council member companies and organizations, and the roles they play in contributing to the quality of life in Downtown Kansas City, on a regular basis.
Spotlight on Metropolitan Community College, 3200 Broadway & 5 campuses
Metropolitan Community College (MCC), founded in 1915 as the Kansas City Polytechnic Institute, is the oldest public institution of higher learning in Kansas City, Missouri. Its 107-year-old legacy began at 11th & Locust, right in the heart of Downtown.
Today, MCC, a member of the Downtown Council of Kansas City (DTC) since 2019, educates about 20,000 students annually with credit and noncredit courses and business services provided through its five campuses on the Missouri side of Greater Kansas City, including the Penn Valley Campus on Downtown’s southern boundary.
“We are proud of our history as the first community college established in Missouri and one of the first colleges in the country to award an associate degree,” said Dr. Kimberly Beatty, chancellor of MCC for the last five years. “That legacy continues today, as we strive to be a catalyst for the Kansas City business community.”
A native of Pittsburgh, Dr. Beatty migrated to Baltimore for college en route to launching a 30-year career in higher education. She came to Kansas City from Houston Community College in 2017 as MCC’s eighth chancellor.
“I am passionate about the community I serve and excited about the ability to provide higher education access to the underprivileged and underrepresented,” Dr. Beatty says of her many leadership roles, which includes serving on the Downtown Council Board of Directors and Executive Committee.
A champion of diversity, access, and equity, Dr. Beatty embraces the challenge of providing access to higher education for all. That commitment is manifested through MCC’s Institutes in health sciences, automotive technology, and building maintenance and construction.
“We partner closely with local businesses and industry partners to deliver on-site training, launch in-demand programs, and create career opportunities through apprenticeships and internships,” she said. “Our aim is for MCC graduates to be prepared for the workplace on day one.”
Dr. Beatty pointed to the new Advanced Technical Skills Institute (ATSI) at 29th & Troost as MCC’s response to today’s urgent need for qualified building maintenance and construction workers. MCC will provide education to students in 11 areas, including building maintenance and construction, computer-integrated machining and manufacturing, HVAC, industrial electrical and maintenance, welding, and more.
“The construction and manufacturing industries need a pipeline of skilled people who are trained and ready for work,” Dr. Beatty said. “The Advanced Technical Skills Institute is designed to answer that call, and create a pathway to prosperity for MCC students.”
That same commitment to preparedness sparked her decision for MCC to join the Downtown Council in her second year on the job. DTC membership provided MCC and Dr. Beatty with the opportunity to connect with business and neighborhood leaders in greater Downtown.
Those connections are a driving force in her vision for MCC and for the future of Downtown Kansas City.
Her timing was fortuitous, just as the DTC was preparing to embark on a 10-year planning process. As the architect of the last two MCC strategic plans, Dr. Beatty describes herself as “… a strategic planning nerd at heart.” Not only did she play a leadership role in the development of the Imagine Downtown KC Strategic Plan over the last two years, she also now serves as a champion of the plan’s implementation.
Dr. Beatty is chair of Vision Advancement for the Imagine strategic plan. That role allows her to connect with leaders at the City of Kansas City and local civic organizations – including the Civic Council, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, and Kansas City Area Development Council – to work in harmony toward building an equitable, inclusive, and vibrant Downtown Kansas City.
“It’s all about connectivity. That’s the key to opening doors for communications and alignment,” Dr. Beatty said. “It is our pathway to success for the Imagine Downtown KC plan. It is the greatest benefit of membership in the Downtown Council.”