Young Professionals of Wichita is a community-based organization that offers innovative ways for young professionals in the Wichita area to socialize and expand their professional horizons. YPW's vision is to help Wichita become the Heartland's destination for young intellectual capital.
In a survey of 2012 college graduates by Accenture, 41 percent said they were working in positions unrelated to their college majors and another seven percent were still unemployed. For many students, the answer to the problem of weak hiring is to work in an internship or cooperative education position prior to graduation.
This summer, companies all across Wichita will employ such interns from local colleges and across the nation to help them gain the real-world experience they need to increase the chances of finding full-time employment after graduation. Young Professionals of Wichita plans to assist those companies in showing the students everything Wichita has to offer in hopes they’ll want to stay in the Wichita area after graduation.
YPW’s Intern Return
program is designed to connect summer interns with local professionals, introduce them to the Wichita community, and promote Wichita as an opportunity for permanent employment. The program includes three intern-exclusive events for Intern Return participants:
1. Wingnuts Tailgate & Game
: On June 6, interns will meet at Lawrence Dumont Stadium at 6:00 to tailgate prior to the Wichita Wingnuts baseball game. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet interns from a variety of companies and universities to start forming connections.
2. Residential Housing Tour
: On June 24, YPW members will welcome interns to their homes for a behind-the-scenes tour of housing options in the Wichita area. Attendees will hear personal experiences of what it can be like to live, work, and play in the Wichita area.
3. BBQ Bash
: On July 16, interns will close the summer with some friendly competition including volleyball, kickball, and yard games at Sedgwick County Park.
YPW’s business case states that YPs starting a new job need to establish connections outside of the office within the first three to six months to reduce the likelihood that they’ll leave the area. Intern Return hopes to help students make these connections before they’re even in full-time positions.
All students participating in the program will also be invited to attend any YPW events held during the summer. This is where you, our loyal YPW members, come in. Help us convince these students that Wichita is the best place for their post-graduate employment! When you meet students at our events, welcome them to the area, engage them in conversation, and offer your networking or mentoring wisdom!
By George Hornbeck, 2013 Enhance Chair
2013 marked the fifth annual Enhance CommunitYProject, a product of the Young Professionals of Wichita. On April 27th, with the help of 163 volunteers, 13 homes were just that - Enhanced. These volunteers dedicated their Saturday to helping with home projects such as window installation, fence repair, door replacement, painting, landscaping and general clean up. The combination of a historic neighborhood, a year’s worth of planning and a dedicated team mixed with the generosity of local business sponsorships resulted in a day that will leave a lasting impression in the area for years to come.
This year's project was located in the Fairmount neighborhood, south of Wichita State University. The area is home to many longtime residents, as well as many students and alumni of WSU. A letter was mailed to all owner-occupied homes in the area and we received a great number of deserving applications. Thirteen properties were selected and YPW volunteers met with each homeowner. Individual supervisors were assigned to each home, and a plan was created for each property.
All of our volunteers play an important role in Enhance’s success, and this year there were a few that stood out. Dustin Marsh, a Landscape Architect with MKEC, created personalized landscape plans for each property, including detailed drawings and an array of low maintenance plants and shrubs. The consideration and thoughtfulness of Dustin’s plans was extremely valuable to each property lead as they began delegating tasks to their volunteers.
In addition, the YPW Community Relations Action Team, led by Ian Worrell, Chair, and Jennifer Collins, Vice Chair, hosted a Community Celebration in Fairmount Park during lunch. Neighborhood children played games and planted flowers while the Wagon Masters fired up their large portable grill and cooked more than 200 burgers for the volunteers and neighborhood residents. The Community Celebration has become a staple of Enhance because it brings neighborhood residents, YPW members and volunteers together for fellowship and further strengthens the sense of community we strive to achieve.
As the day began to draw to an end, the results of all of our hard work became clear as volunteers, as well as the homeowners, began to step back and admire the results of their spent energy. The end results were far better than I imagined and an overwhelming sense of pride came over me as I drove around from home to home surveying the work. I had a chance to speak with each homeowner towards the end of the day and I witnessed many tears of joy be shed as they admired their freshly enhanced homes. I’ve participated in this project for three years now, and it never ceases to amaze me what a group of people with hammers, shovels, paintbrushes and a plan can accomplish in one day.
to view photos of this year's project on Facebook.
by: Brant Whitelock, Vice Chair of the Pulse Action Team
Wichita Thunder Vs. Forth Worth Brahmas
The buzzer cuts through the cold air. AC/DC blasts over the
speakers. The Wichita Thunder hits the ice as Thunder fans of all ages leap to
their feet and start screaming.
Friday night at INTRUST Bank Arena is an exciting place to
be as the Thunder go head to head against the Fort Worth Brahmas. It was my
first hockey game of the year and I didn’t want to be anywhere else in this
moment. Every year I am impressed with the energy and excitement that fills the
air in the Arena when the Thunder competes. Thunder fans are dedicated hockey
fans (all the way from face painting to cheering and trash talking) and there
were over 5,000 on this particular night. Banners hang in the air boasting the
Thunders previous years accomplishments: 2012 Governors’ Cup Champions and 2012
Berry Conference Champions, and the Thunder fans let the opposing team know
they were proud.
The Thunder jump to an early lead scoring four goals
quickly. The Arena is BOOMING. The atmosphere is electric, the energy of the
fans contagious and I couldn’t help but get caught up in the moment. Although,
I don’t consider myself a “true hockey fan,” I felt myself cheering louder with
every scored goal.
The Thunder won that night. But I didn’t go to see a
win. I went because of the electricity - in the air and on the ice. On January 18th,
the Thunder will take on one of their biggest rivals, the Tulsa Oilers. I know the
Arena will be packed with the same crazy, dedicated Thunder fans as my first
game this season, cheering their team on to victory. I’m looking forward to
being in the Arena that night for the YPW
Wichita Thunder UltraMingle and cheering on the Thunder with other YP’s. Wichita
is very lucky to have a talented hockey team and as Young Professionals, we
need to support the Wichita Thunder. Whether you consider yourself a “true hockey
fan” or not please join us on Friday, January 18th for electricity
in the air and on the ice!
The Ambassador Hotel is offering YPW members an incredible deal for their New Year's Eve party! Get a group of six together and individual tickets are only $100 (individual tickets are $175)!
Call Heather at 316/268-1170 to purchase your group tickets.
Authored by: Dennis I. Clary, 2013 Chair of the Board of Trustees
Why does YPW exist? To attract and retain diverse young
How does YPW do this? Through professional and social immersion.
What does YPW do? Promotes the Wichita community.
together, these answers yield the current YPW Mission Statement: To attract and retain diverse young talent
through professional and social immersion in the Wichita community.
Recently, a video from optimist and
author, Simon Sinek, was brought to my attention by fellow YPW volunteer,
Walker Schwartz. Simon has coded a
biological communication pattern called The
Golden Circle that states, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why
you do it.” Simple. True. Brilliant. If we apply this
viewpoint to traditional YPW programming, it suggests that young professionals
will never “buy-in” to our community because of what we do -- promote Wichita. Or even how we do it -- by hosting a mingle,
blood drive, lunch and learn or dine around, etc. Indeed, YPW has offered a wide array of
robust event programming targeted at professional development and social
interaction over the lifespan of our organization. The value of these events for regional young
professionals is not to go understated. They
have been, and continue to be, vitally important. They serve as the way YPW currently
demonstrates the importance of attraction and retention -- by showcasing a
myriad of wonderful ways young professionals can work, play and live in Wichita.
these events are undeniably important, they do little to arouse great
enthusiasm among young professionals and differentiate Wichita from any other metropolis. Rather, to truly “buy-in” to our community, young
professionals need to be inspired by a shared belief of why we do these things. We do them because young professionals
believe in challenging the status quo -- because “that’s the way things have
always been done” does not necessarily mean that is the way they should
continue to be. We do them because young
professionals believe we are accountable for the promise of a brighter future
for us and our children. That is why attracting
and retaining diverse young talent is critically important to Wichita. I believe that YPW has reached an inflection point. It is time we double our efforts to re-communicate
behind the why -- to inspire ourselves and to inspire others to join
I mention all
of the above to offer, that in addition to the strategic elements of
professional and social immersion, that YPW begin to consider other elements to
further our mission. These elements
should serve to infuse some much needed inspiration and reaffirm a belief that
is absolutely essential to our success -- that young professionals do have the
ability to affect change in our community.
purposes of today’s blog, I suggest the element of advocacy -- defined as the
act of pleading or arguing in favor of something, such as a cause, idea, or
policy. It is for this reason that I am
proud to announce the launch of a new YPW series entitled, “A Seat at the
Table.” The “Seat at the Table” series
will provide young professionals with intimate access to our local elected
officials on the Wichita City Council and the Sedgwick County Board of
Commissioners on an every other month rotation. The series begins Thursday,
November 15th with Vice Mayor Janet Miller.
Voting is a civic responsibility, a tenet of the
democratic process and a nod of respect to the many who sacrificed so that we
could attain such a liberty -- a liberty many are still fighting for
worldwide. I see this new series as
merely an extension of that civic responsibility and I urge you to take
advantage of the opportunities it affords. YPW has created this mechanism to provide you, the individual YP, an
opportunity to advocate for change. Given
this direct channel to our local elected officials, you have the opportunity to
advise them of your desires, share your feedback regarding their decisions and
influence their way forward. If the
“Seat at the Table” series is the metaphoric equivalent of YPW “putting a toe
in the water” as it relates to advocacy, then I ask you to ponder the immense
potential of what we can accomplish if we “dive in” by coming together and
combining our individual voices. This immense
potential just happens to exist in a gem of a town we call Wichita, Kansas.