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Accelerate KC

Accelerate KC

Accelerate KC - Our integrated program platform

Accelerate KC is KC Social Innovation Center’s workforce continuum for real-world work and career-connected learning. It is designed to help bridge the gap between our region’s talent and industry by working with employers to provide quality real-world experiences for students and by engaging schools and education systems where they are. Our network of programs provide various opportunities for young people to gain essential skills and develop along a continuum – through exploration and enrichment, industry-led projects, and micro- and paid summer internships. 

Accelerate KC coordinates comprehensive Work-Based Learning (WBL) experiences in order to close the opportunity gap between at-risk youth and pathways that lead to good and promising jobs.  

Accelerate KC is a suite or set of stackable programs that follow students along a career pathway and future trajectory.  Our Hire KC program – started by former Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Sly James in 2014, and expanded from a city hall program into a citywide youth success platform managed by KCSIC in 2016, is now the largest provider of paid summer internships in the Kansas City region. 

Today, it aligns and organizes the region’s work-based experiences to support opportunity equity, and illuminate career pathways so that all youth can learn and grow into promising futures.

Stackable Programs

Accelerate KC – a sequence of internship readiness activities and experiences 

  • Summer pre-ternship experiences 
  • Draw Your Future in-school classroom activity 
  • Know Your Agilities in-school classroom activity
  • Internship-Readiness Accelerators in-school classroom activity
  • Career and Pathway Events 

The Project Commons – a project-based platform centered on innovative learning spaces and student voice

  • Summer project internships 
  • Summer Work-ready Institute (training)

Hire KC – a network  of internships and brokered experiences for schools and students

  • Summer Internships
  • Summer Re-ternships 
  • Work-ready Institute
  • Summer Experiences – professional development and networking 
  • Winter Career Fair
  • Spring Hiring Fair


We are the region’s largest internship provider.

Hire KC connects young people to work-based learning opportunities that exposes them to new potential career pathways and better prepares them for the jobs of tomorrow. Hire KC is the primary funnel of youth engagement for internships in the KC Region. Participation is open to all high school and college students from the Greater Kansas City Metropolitan Area, and our service area includes Jackson, Cass, Clay, and Platte counties in Missouri, and Johnson and Wyandotte counties in Kansas.

Connecting the future of work to the future of learning. 

We provide micro- and traditional paid- and credit-based internships to Kansas City’s youth through real-world and project-based experiences. We prepare industry for the next generation workforce by providing them with:

  • Hire KC Toolkit
  • Assessment 
  • Student engagement
  • Readiness mapping
  • Internship network (Accelerator)
  • Project network 

Accelerate KC – the continuum + activities: 

  • Pre-terns – curated community projects for 13-15 year olds at youth-friendly organizations; with an emphasis on at-risk populations where trust and engagement is an issue.  There are a lot of high school students that are simply not ready for a job or internship. They need early, consistent engagement that will help them up-skill and achieve “work-ready” status. In order to truly be impactful, we think it’s important to focus on younger populations so that we can cultivate relationships and prepare them for projects and internships as they move along our continuum. This past summer, we partnered with the Kansas City Public Library to pilot an immersive pre-internship for 13-15 year olds in the Southeast neighborhood working on community organizing and neighborhood initiatives. This is the first high-touch experience youth can get by working alongside adults and professionals to foster a sense of belonging, community investment, and self-worth. 
  • Project interns -The Project Commons is a program that brings industry-led client projects directly to 15-18 year olds inside innovative spaces that mimic and showcase the future of work. These creative hubs are inside schools, employer sites and city spaces. 
  • Interns – paid summer internships across the public, private and nonprofit sectors to champion youth talent development and create opportunity equity for the region’s youth.  High school credit-based internships are curated on a school-service model. 
  • Re-terns – expansive and advancing experiences for returning interns so that they can collect additional experiences and build social capital as they refine their interests and career pathways.
  • Fellows – ideally those young adults 21 and older who are able to lift up our interns and re-terns as near peers to support the AccelerateKC population as a coach and mentor while working on advanced community and social impact projects.

We provide schools with an on-site programming model that connects students to real-world and project-based learning through industry-led projects. 

  • Open to external students
  • State standard compliant
  • High/human touch
  • Curriculum centered
  • A bridge between schools and industry
  • An essential skill and college/career accelerator 

We partner with schools that can provide: 

  • A physical space for a pop-up classroom
  • Staff liaison/lead facilitator for projects (or an agreement/commitment to support one)

We provide employers with access to the region’s young talent pipeline through work-based projects that fit the needs of the company or organization. We consult employers with our expertise in real-world and project-based learning, including goal assessments and landscape analysis for their industry. This process covers:

  1. Current industry landscape analysis
  2. Goal assessment
  3. Real-world learning analysis
  4. Project platform development
  5. Industry project curation
  6. Project launch + management