La’Tia Johnson

Meet La’Tia Johnson and Divinity Rollen. These women have unique stories to tell during Women’s History Month about how KC Scholars and Great Jobs KC are helping Kansas City women realize their career dreams. 

In the last six years, KC Scholars has helped more than 4,300 low- to moderate-income women start or complete college degrees, opening them to more career opportunities and a chance to make a real difference in their lives, the lives of their families and their communities. The program offers adult learners up to $10,000 per year for up to five years to use for a college education. 

Great Jobs KC was recently launched by KC Scholars to offer tuition assistance for approved job training programs in high-paying and high-demand industries. The program accepts applications on an on-going basis. 

La’Tia Johnson almost missed her chance to be a part of KC Scholars. She procrastinated until literally the last minute before submitting her scholarship application in 2016. But since then, she’s been all about her education, and spreading the word about KC Scholars and the difference it makes in the community. First, she earned an associate’s degree at Donnelly College, and then went to Rockhurst University, earning a degree in analytics and technology. 

Divinity Rollen

“It opened the possibility of me finding out what I was passionate about,” Johnson said. “It made the difference between having a job and having a career. I was excited to explore new options.” 

After graduation, she was volunteering at a KC Scholars event when she was first approached about working for the organization. Eventually, she applied for an open position and was hired to work for the organization.  

Her experience as a scholar gives her a different, unique perspective when it comes to helping students, but also when it comes to helping the organization as it grows and develops. 

“I’m a scholar's voice on the inside,” Johnson said. “I know all the resources that are at the students’ disposal. My experience brings another level of care and concern for them.” 

While KC Scholars has made a difference in Johnson’s life, it’s Great Jobs KC that has been the game-changer for Divinity Rollen and her family. 

Rollen is a 23-year-old new mother who moved to Kansas City in October 2022.  Although she had earned college credits in high school and attended college for a while, she didn’t complete a college degree. 

Her future mother-in-law recommended Rollen apply for a scholarship. Rollen knew others with careers in medical coding and billing and thought it sounded interesting. 

"I’ve always wanted to be in the medical field, but didn’t want to be in nursing. I like the administrative side of working with patients," she said. 

Great Jobs KC was a perfect fit for Rollen. The program offers assessments to help scholars determine what certifications will be a good choice for them, and matches them with programs that will help them succeed academically. 

The bonus for Rollen is that a medical coding and billing certification program is something she can complete at home, in a relatively short period of time and then find a job that will also allow her to work from home, important to her with a new baby. 

“I wanted something where I could be building a future for me and my family,” Rollen said. 

Rollen will finish her studies in August and once she obtains her state license, Great Jobs KC will assist her in finding a job to jump start her new career. 

About Kansas City Scholars:

Kansas City Scholars (www.kcscholars.org) was designed to change thousands of individual lives and transform the region by preparing our future workforce and contributing to the regional economy. It is a 501(c)(3) college scholarship, persistence, and support organization designed to increase the college completion rate for low- and modest- income students and adult learners across the six-county, bi-state service region. KC Scholars awards traditional college scholarships to high school juniors, adult learner scholarships to adults 18 years and older, and college savings match awards to high school freshman. KC Scholars supports all its awardees throughout the process and during college. 

Great Jobs KC provides tuition assistance to approved career training programs in high-demand industries such as construction, healthcare, information technology, and manufacturing. With the support of Great Jobs KC, adults 17 and older can learn the skills needed in one year or less to earn between $45,000-$85,000. 

For more information on KC Scholars and Great Jobs KC, visit www.kcscholars.org

Photos Courtesy Of Lawlor Media Group