KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- It's been almost a year since a program at KCI geared toward giving people a fresh start began.
Already, it has provided opportunities some may not otherwise have.
In a three-week workforce training program, those selected are paid to learn a trade. From there, they are aligned with a subcontractor to take a position on the airport project.
Already, 48 people have gone through and graduated from the program. And since work on the new KCI terminal is deemed essential, crews are still employed during the pandemic.
The program is part of the Terminal Workforce Enhancement Program.
It falls under Edgemoor's commitment to reinvest up to $23.3 million to support minority and women-owned business subcontractors, and the workforce, for the project.
To this date, they have now reached the milestone of hiring 100 women and minority-owned businesses.
These businesses have been added to the roster since the start of the procurement in 2018. These are businesses that already existed in Kansas City, that landed contracts to work on the airport.
Mayor Quinton Lucas had a news conference regarding this milestone at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at the airport.
According to Latoya Goree, who is in charge of the Workforce Training Program, the program itself is a first in the construction industry.
“All across the country, this is the first opportunity. And it’s amazing to have Kansas City be the starting point of such a wonderful, life changing opportunity for small businesses and workforce," Goree said.
Warren Coburn, 23, was hired on through the Workforce Training Program. He was then placed with a woman-owned business Hartline Construction
He says the program has given him an opportunity.
“I’m just super grateful. Initially coming in I was super overwhelmed. I thought, here I am stepping off into something I have no experience doing. Again, although my father did it, I wasn’t really..my interests as an adolescent wasn’t really in carpentry’s. But I can say now, I know for sure this is the path for me. I know this will be a lifelong thing for me," Coburn said.
The Workforce Training Program that Warren completed will hold seven more classes.
“My team is thrilled to play a role in such a significant project in our cities history and honored to be one of more than 100 strong KC small businesses helping make the terminal take flight onward and upward,” Parrish & Sons Construction Owner Fahteema Parrish said.
From excavators to plumbers, diverse hands will play a role in constructing the new 39 gate terminal and 6,300 space parking garage.
In the new terminal, you won’t have to go back and forth through security to get real food. It will feature restaurants past the security checkpoint, like other larger scale airports in the country. It is expected to be completed in 2023.