August 30 EES Class and Facilitators: Front row (seated), from left: Florene Bellows, Anita Maltbia, Twana Hall-Scott. Middle row: Curtis Iverson, Mikall Boyd, Kenneth Alexander, Tiffany VanBuren, Robert Gregory, Eric James, Derrion Cooper, Michael King. Back row: Desmond Tucker, Robert Henderson, Dandridge Fuller, Lacey Simmons, Robert Everette, Alfred Cheffen, Rodney Knott.

In today’s job market, applicants often need an edge just to get a foot in the door — especially in the urban core, where unemployment rates are approaching 50 percent in some areas. The Green Impact Zone is helping job seekers stand out from the crowd with a free, week-long Essential Employability Skills (EES) training for unemployed and underemployed residents.

“For those who’ve been out of the job market for a while, or for those looking to step up to a better job, we provide a refresher on the basics they need to get started — a strong resume, a professional appearance, interviewing skills and a good work ethic,” said Twana Hall-Scott, assistant director of the Green Impact Zone. “This refresher course complements the ‘hard skills’ training and job placement services provided by organizations like the Full Employment Council and Institute for Workforce Innovation. EES doesn’t try to reinvent or duplicate what other organizations are already doing, but supplements those efforts and positions our residents to be successful in the job market.”

In August, the zone conducted two EES sessions with a total of 29 participants — residents from the Green Impact Zone and other parts of the city, including some enrolled in the Metropolitan Energy Center’s environmental remediation training. The second session, held Aug. 27–31, included an introduction to business management for five small-business entrepreneurs. It targeted residents of the Manheim neighborhood who are seeking employment related to the upcoming redevelopment of the vacant Bancroft School into housing units by the Dalmark Group and the Make It Right Foundation. EES training was facilitated by Twana Hall-Scott and Anwar Jones of the Green Impact Zone, Florene Bellows of U* R*MPLOYABLE and Rodney Knott of ReEngage, Inc.

In addition to training, August participants received an added bonus. Rodney Knott worked with Men’s Wearhouse to provide free suits and dress shirts to men in both classes, and Lewis Smith of Diamond Knots provided free men’s ties. Women who participated received business attire from Connections to Success. Participants in the second class also received catered lunches each day, courtesy of the Haddad Restaurant Group. “It’s so rewarding to see local businesses get excited about the possibilities a program like this offers and get involved,” said Anita Maltbia, Green Impact Zone director.

Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II attended a graduation celebration for EES participants on Aug. 30 at the zone office. He congratulated the class on completing the training and complimented their new looks. He shared a story about his own lessons in the importance of a professional appearance from his early days campaigning for the office of mayor in Kansas City and told the graduates “Employers will hire you over the next guy who doesn’t look this sharp. I’d hire you over the next guy.”

Cleaver also encouraged the group to use their new skills to help transform the community: “Get a job. Earn a paycheck every week. You’re worth it.”

The Green Impact Zone’s involvement with EES graduates doesn’t end with the weeklong class. Those who successfully complete the program are entered into a jobs pipeline, and zone staff work hard to keep them informed about job openings and connect them with employers and other job placement service providers. On the last day of the first August session, four employers — Garmin, CareGivers, Truman Medical Center and Green Vet — accepted the Green Impact Zone’s invitation to interview current and past EES graduates. Another interview fair for EES graduates is scheduled for September 17.

The Green Impact Zone provides each graduate with a certificate of completion and continuous job leads, but participation does not guarantee graduation. In order to graduate, participants must arrive on time, dress in business attire and demonstrate professionalism each day.

The next EES training will be held in October. For more information about EES or the Green Impact Zone, call 816-936-8803 or visit The Green Impact Zone is also on Facebook ( and Twitter (@greenimpactzone).

August 17 EES Class: Front row, from left: Kimberly Bryant, Samuel Cole, Eddie Bell, Marcel Walker, Derrick Davis, Lee Dickinson, Anita Borchers. Middle row: Alejandro Arriega, Brandon Marler, Robert Davis, Javon Harris, Ken Smith, Clevell Roper. Back row: Ronald Whitley, David Davis, Stephen Pointer, Tyrone Veasley, Michael Price, Francisco Green.