The Project Commons is intended for students and it’s made by students, so it’s really cool to see how our diversity brings us together.
— TPC Project Intern

collaboration meets innovation

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. 

KC Social Innovation Center manages Hire KC and works to engage schools and support a variety of business partners, increasing the number of internship and work-based opportunities so we can serve more youth while continuing to innovate and experiment with new tools, platforms and methodologies to improve youth talent and workforce development at scale. 

The Work-Based Experience micro-system needs to be more flexible, and have a deeper bench of diverse experiences in order to address real-world learning with equity and scale. We believe adding bank of employer and civic projects through The Project Commons will add a needed volume of real-world experiences through a variety of projects, and help to accelerate authentic, experiential learning in safe, accessible and moderated spaces, where learning and experiences can be personalized for students and employers. 

The Project Commons aims to be a central place for young people to collaborate and innovate to impact work-readiness and boost their ability to chart their own future. The summer pilot hosted approximately 20 students through a 4-week immersive real-world learning program that helped KCSIC inform and impact future program design and development with greater impact and outcomes. 

The foundational aspect of our impact for this new modality of real-world learning (RWL) posits that a structured series of integrated and progressive student-led project modules will allow for a robust experience that 1) accelerates work readiness, 2) increases student agency and 3) creates visible assets for students (portfolio) and the community (space/place). 

The Project Commons will be among the first programs to pop-up within the Keystone Innovation District, and with this unique alignment, creates a powerful catalyst to capture and develop employer partnerships and accelerate youth work-readiness in highly visible and accessible innovative learning spaces, expanding both our reach and our ability to serve KC’s urban communities with equity and outcomes. 


The Project Commons is a creative hub for work-based projects with a mission to accelerate youth work-readiness through innovative, safe learning spaces and Real World Learning. 


The Project Commons envisions a heartbeat of youth collaboration around work-based projects that radically develops local talent through passion and purpose, curiosity and lifelong learning. 


  • Equity-based

  • Accessibility

  • Safety and Trust 

  • Growth Mindset 

  • Youth-centered 

  • Community-based

  • Empowerment

  • Innovation-centered

  • Collaboration

  • Experiential and Exploratory 


  • Talent is everywhere. Opportunity is not. 

  • Student agency empowers authentic, high quality learning. 

  • Industry partners thrive in this format.

  • Space matters. And good design inspires value and self worth for its inhabitants.

  • Diversity underpins both an ideal future and a reality where exposure is an imperative.

  • Student choice and engagement.interest correlates to human potential. 

  • Students see TPC as "the future" and see themselves succeeding in it. 

  • It connects to school.

  • It's a hive, and the "commons" as a concept is a nerve-center approach to RWL.