The organization formerly known as KCnext has announced a rebrand that will make it a fully-independent organization focused on tech workforce development, advocacy and industry access.
The newly-formed KC Tech Council announced its name change Friday, marking its departure from the Kansas City Area Development Council. While still partnering with the regional economic development group, the KC Tech Council’s rebrand will allow it to renew its focus on becoming a leading advocate for Kansas City’s technology industry.
Kevin McGinnis, vice president of Pinsight Media+ and chairman of the tech council board, said the move will help the group better serve its more than 100 member firms in the Kansas City area.
“Our new name and operating structure enables the Council to focus our mission and better serve our membership,” McGinnis said in a release. “The goal is to win the Midwest by continuing to focus on our three strategic priorities – workforce development, policy advocacy and industry access.”
The KC Tech Council’s newly-minted independence will give it greater autonomy to serve the region’s largest private sector industry: technology. The Midwest’s tech industry includes more than 68,000 employees at 3,500 companies, according to the release.
That means greater competition among the region’s cities, especially where it concerns attracting the tech workforce, said Ryan Weber, president of the KC Tech Council, in a release.
“Kansas City must step up its efforts to attract, develop and retain the highly skilled workers necessary to drive the technology industry and compete against other cities in our region and across the country,” Weber said. “Right now, we have hundreds of regional employers trying to fill thousands of open tech jobs. We simply cannot grow the local economy if we do not make Kansas City the number one regional destination for skilled technology workers.”
As part of the group’s restructuring, it has relocated from Union Station to new headquarters at the Sprint Accelerator in the Crossroads Arts District.
The KCADC said that it will retain the KCnext brand to “represent a broader, future-focused category of KC storytelling that will highlight our region’s best new assets for business and lifestyle — and what’s next for KC.” The KCADC — which also operates the KC Animal Health Corridor, KC SmartPort — said that KCnext is one of its most popular brands.