1:00 – 1:50 Room 1K: Panel Discussion


Certifications for Digital Media


Traditionally, digital media firms have required college degrees and strong portfolios from their job candidates.  This panel discusses whether other credentials such as certifications should be considered as viable proof of capability to perform well on the job.  The panel will discuss how certifications are viewed by digital media firms and what certifications for digital media skills might serve their needs.  They will also discuss how certifications can provide opportunities for colleges and universities.


Link: https://youtu.be/Qg_Y1Xrm0cM




Ron Green – Moderator


Executive Director, digiSTORY KC and KC IMAGINE


Ron Green is a former editor and editorial manager with Hallmark Cards. He founded and led Hallmark’s Creative University program where he was responsible for training over 1400 talented professionals from a wide range of creative occupations. Ron retired from Hallmark in August of 2012. After Hallmark he worked as a consultant for Mizzou Advantage’s Media of the Future program.  He now serves as the Executive Director of the Digital Storytelling Center of Kansas City (digiSTORY KC).  He is currently working to establish a center for digital storytelling that will advance the digital media industry in our region, provide training and development for industry professionals and those desiring a career in digital storytelling including underprivileged kids in the urban core. He is working with Thank You Walt Disney to locate this center in the Laugh-O-Gram building at 31st & Forest where Walt Disney launched his animation business.


Jake Akehurst

Executive Director, UMKC TalentLink

UMKC TalentLink Executive Director Jake Akehurst has 20 years of experience in higher education in the Kansas City area. He leads strategic efforts to identify skills-based workforce training needs in the community, develop training initiatives with businesses, and deliver programs that address those needs.


Katherine Maloney

Vice President – Workforce Development, Goodwill/Artemis Institute

Katherine Maloney is currently serving as the VP of Workforce Development at Goodwill of Western Missouri and Eastern Kansas based in of Kansas City, Missouri. She has been with the organization for over five years and a part of the Goodwill network for over ten years. Katherine completed her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in Public Administration from Texas State University. She is also a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) and an AmeriCorps Alum. Katherine’s expertise is primarily working in workforce development, program management, grant oversight and implementation, career exploration and navigation, and career readiness training. Over the last two years, the MOKAN Goodwill team partnered with training providers and local employers to launch the Goodwill Artemis Institute offering a variety of short-term vocational certification programs and digital inclusion efforts in the Kansas City metro area. Katherine and her team are committed to continually expanding these learning opportunities to combat the digital divide and address the workforce challenges facing our Kansas City community.


Beth McCarthy

Director of Community & Industry Partnerships, PREP-KC

Beth has been with PREP-KC for 16 years.  She works closely with Kansas City’s school districts & charter schools that serve primarily students of color and students impacted by poverty.   McCarthy supports the implementation of research-based strategies to increase college and career access & readiness for students.  Her responsibilities include building partnerships with over 200 businesses & 32 postsecondary institutions to create opportunities at scale for students to explore college & careers and leave high school with a Market Value Asset (such as earning college credit or credential, completing an internship or in-depth project).  She is an alumna of Kansas City Tomorrow, a local civic leadership program through the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City.


Alisa Morse

CAPS Network Coordinator, CAPS Network

Alisa Morse is the Network Coordinator for the CAPS Network, empowering high school students to fast-forward into their future through real-world, industry-initiated projects and the development of professional skills. Alisa’s work includes strategic ideating, marketing and supporting and innovating alongside stakeholders to get the maximum benefit of an international network of schools. She is also the producer and co-host of two CAPS Network podcasts: The Network and CAPS Playbook. Previously, Alisa taught in the CAPS model and was a visual arts and marketing entrepreneur. She considers her superpower to be empowering others