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Honeywell partners with local high schools, providing full-time careers for Grandview graduates

Simon Williams was not interested in college; instead, he saw a career path after high school that avoided costly and time-consuming diversions.

“I just didn’t want to start my career four years later with nearly $100,000 in the hole,” said the recent Grandview grad and new recruit to Honeywell as an assembler.

The US Department of Energy Kansas City National Security Campus (KCNSC) – operated by Honeywell – has announced a manufacturing career opportunity for graduating high school students with vocational technical education certifications.

What is the KCNSC?

The Department of Energy’s Kansas City National Security Campus, operated by Honeywell, is part of the Nuclear Security Administration’s set of laboratories and production facilities. KCNSC works to create technology roadmaps to ensure they are at the forefront of national security innovation.

Seven senior graduates of Grandview High School were given the opportunity to interview for positions, and two students accepted full-time jobs. During their secondary studies, these students attended either Herndon Career Academy or Summit Academy of Technology participate in traditional technical career programs to acquire the skills necessary for these employment opportunities.

“Students can learn a lot for free now while we’re young, and it doesn’t really take up much of your school schedule,” Williams said in reference to her time at Herndon Career Academy. “[Herndon has] as many different courses as you can take – not just construction. They have automotive technology, they have kitchens for people who want to be professional chefs. They have welding, HVAC, cosmetology.

New hires will be set up for success through KCNSC’s extensive hands-on training, meetings with a mentor who has worked in the industry for decades, and a skills assessment to find the best career for each individual, said Norman Kump, who serves as the manufacturing manager at KCNSC.

“You have to know who you’re working with so you can build trust and respect,” Kump explained. “It’s so great to see the veteran, tendered employees interact with the new and younger employees. People here want to share their knowledge because they are proud of what we do here. We want to make sure we pass on that knowledge so that we can continue to protect this country. It is very near and dear to our hearts.

Norman Kump, Kansas City National Security Campus (KCNSC)

Kump, who helped launch the opportunity at Honeywell for recent graduates, believes in giving such opportunities to young people because someone has already tried their luck with him, he shared.

“I was an 18-year-old who wasn’t ready for college at one point,” Kump recalled. “At 18 you can be molded into what you need and want to be. You could do just about anything in this business.

New hires in their entry-level positions are offered a competitive salary at $31.33 per hour. But it wasn’t just the salary that intrigued Williams, he said. He thinks long term.

“The pay is fantastic – but if I stay with Honeywell for about five years, there’s a chance I could get another degree without having to pay anything,” Williams said. “Then I can get more experience, keep doing more government contracts, which would bring in even more money.”

Venita Thurman, Grandview High School

Venita Thurman, Grandview High School

It’s important for students to know that it’s possible to start a successful career right out of high school, said Venita Thurman, principal of Grandview High School.

“Not everyone’s path is college,” Thurman said, noting that about 60 percent of Grandview students don’t choose college right away. “There are multiple other paths that can lead them to success. They can still have a meaningful career doing the things they love to do while earning lots of money and supporting themselves and their families in the future.

While students are still in high school, Grandview works to prepare them for the path they choose after graduation, Thurman said.

Honeywell is also partnering with teachers at Grandview High School to bring in professionals to teach teachers engineering and manufacturing technology courses, Thurman said.

“Our teachers are able to bring this training back into the classroom and work directly with our students,” she explained. “It’s a great partnership right down the street. Also the fact that [KCNSC managed by Honeywell is] hiring our students is really powerful because it keeps them in our local community.

Grandview High School Diploma

Grandview High School Diploma

Williams and his fellow Grandview graduate are scheduled to begin training at KCNSC on June 20. For Williams, he looks forward to advancing his skills in an ever-changing field of work.

“I like to weld,” Williams explained. “And since we’re working on contracts – it could be the same for six to nine months – but I know that will eventually change.”

Click on here to learn about another Kansas City-based initiative that provides 500 high school students with paid summer internships.

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