The University of Central Missouri is partnering with the Government of Makueni County-Kenya, a member of the South Eastern Kenya Economic Bloc (SEKEB), and Global Classroom Exchange (GCE) to enhance international workforce development and education opportunities.
The unique collaboration includes UCM, the government of Makueni County-Kenya, the Economic Bloc and Global Classroom Exchange. The partnership officially launched at a Jan. 8, 2021, virtual signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding. MOU signers included the governor of Makueni County, Hon. Professor Kivutha Kibwana; Dr. Phil Bridgmon, UCM provost and vice president for Academic Affairs; Dr. Laurel Hogue, vice provost for UCM Extended Studies; and John Musau, founder and CEO of Global Classroom Exchange.
Through the partnership, UCM Extended Studies will work with the university’s Kenyan peers on education, entrepreneurship and workforce development. The partners are leveraging technology to foster global collaboration in resolving local challenges. These organizations are working together to develop real-world sustainable solutions for students and adults. Students from Kenya and the United States will also gain hands-on experiences in areas such as Internet of Things, virtual reality, telehealth and entrepreneurship while working on industry-recognized certifications and accelerated degree programs.
The partnership’s foundation began in 2019 with Summit Technology Academy (Lee’s Summit R-7 School District) meeting virtually with students in Kenya to become acquainted and begin planning their combined efforts. During fall 2019, Kenya Governor Kivutha Kibwana and a delegation from Kenya visited Lee’s Summit to tour the Missouri Innovation Campus and meet with officials from UCM and Summit Technology Academy. Select here to view a video of this visit.
This new partnership has benefited significantly from the involvement of Digloso Ltd, a company focusing on providing emerging populations with technological infrastructure and modular application platforms. Digloso is headquartered in Kenya.
Business, individuals and organizations have the opportunity to collaborate in the project, which is actively seeking partners to help with solutions. For more information, contact Joe Mullins at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dr. Laurel Hogue at email@example.com.
“The Makueni Innovation Centre will provide an avenue for young people within the County, the SEKEB Region and beyond to develop skills and innovations that are necessary in creating an economic ecosystem,” said said the governor of Makueni County, Hon. Professor Kivutha Kibwana. “Unemployment is a major challenge in Kenya, especially among the youth, and I believe the experience they will receive through this partnership will create employment opportunities for them.”
“Today is the result of a lot of work and collaboration, and we are really excited about the work ahead,” said Dr. Laurel Hogue, vice provost for UCM Extended Studies, during the virtual MOU signing.
“We talk about having borders, and we talk about creating opportunities and sometimes those two don’t go hand-in-hand,” said John Musau, founder and CEO of Global Classroom Exchange. “I feel this is one opportunity for us to make a difference.”
“This is an important engagement in workforce development that will provide career pathways in an area that is growing and emerging,” said Dr. Phil Bridgmon, UCM provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.