Midday Business Report: KC area gains New Orleans college

kansas city star logoApril 20, 2006 – One New Orleans area employment loss – because of Hurricane Katrina – was Kansas City’s jobs gain: Today is the ribbon cutting ceremony for the relocated offices of Grantham University.

Grantham, a 100 percent online “distance learning” institution targeted at working adults, relocated about 60 employees from the New Orleans area within days after the hurricane destroyed its facilities in Slidell, La.

About 40 of the relocated workers chose to remain in the Kansas City metro area, and the school has since hired about 160 more employees. Additional hiring is expected by the end of the year.

The new “campus,” which has no students or dormitories or classroom buildings, consists of 30,000 square feet of offices in the Zona Rosa shopping center in the Northland.

Immediately after relocating its staff, Grantham set up temporary shop in offices at 2300 Main St., near the Union Station. The new facilities house the online university’s administrative, human resource, information technology, curriculum and financial aid personnel.

Grantham specializes in offering undergraduate and graduate degree classes via the Internet. About 9,500 students are enrolled. Classes, which are taught by educators around the country, include criminal justice, business administration, general studies, computer science and other technology degrees.

The university dates to 1951 when it began offering classes in a residential campus setting in Southern California. It subsequently opened other campuses around the country. In 1991, it consolidated all campus facilities in Slidell, and then became an exclusively online educator by the end of the decade.