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Missouri Innovation Campus program’s Cybersecurity and Software Development achieve Registered Apprenticeship status through the US Department of LaborMIC program logo

 Two Missouri Innovation Campus (MIC) programs were recently named Registered Apprenticeship Programs through the U.S. Department of Labor, following a comprehensive application and evaluation process. The two programs – Cybersecurity and Software Development – are the first MIC programs to earn this designation. 

 The Missouri Innovation Campus program is a partnership including the University of Central Missouri, the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District’s Summit Technology Academy, Metropolitan Community College and industry-leading business partners. It provides motivated students with career-ready skills and the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree just two years after high-school graduation – all with little or not debt.

Stan Elliott, MIC program director, and Gentry Scavuzzo, MIC internship coordinator, worked with the Department of Labor on the two applications. Both Cybersecurity and Software Development were approved during National Apprenticeship Week, held Nov. 14 through 20 this year.

 SS&C Technologies will serve as UCM's initial business partner for the MIC Registered Apprenticeship Programs with additional partners announced soon. In addition, SS&C was one of the first business partners to join the Missouri Innovation Campus program in 2012.

 “Registered Apprenticeship is an industry-driven, high-quality career pathway where employers can develop and prepare their future workforce, and individuals can obtain paid work experience, receive progressive wage increases, classroom instruction and a portable, nationally recognized credential,” according to the Department of Labor webpage. “Registered Apprenticeships are industry-vetted and approved and validated by the U.S. Department of Labor or a State Apprenticeship Agency.”

 The national program also enables and encourages employers to participate in apprenticeships and access a larger, well-trained talent pool. This effort helps meet industry demands while reducing unemployment rates throughout the nation. Key components of the Department of Labor Registered Apprenticeship Program include an industry-vetted and approved process to ensure alignment with industry standards, a paid job for the students, structured on-the-job learning and mentorship, supplemental education, diversity, quality, safety and credentials. 

 According to the Department of Labor, a total of 93 percent of apprentices who complete a Registered Apprenticeship retain their employment with an average annual salary of $77,000. 

 The one-of-a-kind Missouri Innovation Campus program started in 2012 with one academic program and three MIC business partners. Since then, the program has expanded to include 70 business partners and five programs: Software Development, Software Engineering, Cybersecurity, Design and Drafting and Big Data/Business Analytics.

Students enter the program their junior year in high school, attending dual-credit courses at Summit Technology Academy as well as dual enrollment coursework the summer before their junior year. 

Through this four-year program students are able to earn a bachelor’s degree just two years after graduating high school while also participating in three year, year-round, paid internships with one of the MIC program business partners.

(Published Dec. 30, 2022)


 Hands-on experience at UCM’s Mixed Reality Studio helps recent graduate Sean Martin in his career search

Joining the University of Central Missouri’s Mixed Reality Software Development Team greatly benefited recent UCM graduate Sean Martin as he launches his new career in computer science. Martin earned a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity and a bachelor’s in computer science software development, graduating cum laude in May 2022. sean-martin-photo

He began a new job as a mixed reality AR/VR software engineer at Sigmatech in Colorado Springs in early October.

“I learned a huge amount of practical knowledge,” said Martin about his work on the UCM Mixed Reality Software Development Team, “that helped me tremendously in being able to get the job I have now. I was able to work on real-world projects that mattered and helped others. I was also able to develop a network of people both inside and outside UCM that was all invested in helping me grow.”

UCM’s Mixed Reality Studio is a part of the university’s Gigabit Lab, located in the Lee’s Summit campus. The facility opened in 2020 with the goal of advancing virtual and augmented technology by developing new applications and educating the next generation of researchers, developers and entrepreneurs while collaborating with industry. The Mixed Reality Studio is equipped with various software and design platforms, multiple headset configurations, workstations, filming and graphic resources.

At UCM, Martin said he had the opportunity to learn, grow and become a member of the community.

“UCM helped me tremendously with a lot of aspects in my life,” he said. “In my classes I was able to get hands-on experience as well as the knowledge I needed to succeed in my career. Many professors are really knowledgeable and truly want to help each and every student succeed in their fields.”

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(Published Oct. 18, 2022)


 Laurel Hogue of UCM receives Central Region Sue Maes Leadership Award from national association
Winners are recognized for commitment to professional, continuing and online education as well as organization and community involvementphoto-of-laurel-hogue

 Dr. Laurel Hogue, University of Central Missouri vice provost for online and learning engagement, recently received the 2022 Central Region Sue Maes Outstanding Leadership Award from the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA). 

The award recognizes one UPCEA Central Region professional member each year who has exhibited outstanding leadership and service. Hogue will be honored at the UPCEA Central Region Conference in late September in Columbus, Ohio.

“She is an outstanding and inspirational leader who has championed adult education throughout her educational career,” said Rick Smetana, director of the UCM Lee’s Summit campus who also praised Hogue for removing barriers to higher education. “Dr. Hogue has championed the process of making undergraduate and graduate degrees more accessible to adult and non-traditional learners. Shifting degree programs to online, evenings and weekends is just the tip of the iceberg. She created new student advisor positions that work non-traditional hours so working adults do not have to take time off to meet with them. Dr. Hogue helps lead the general studies degree program that allows adults with some college credit to efficiently complete their education when and where it is most convenient for them.”

Smetana added that Hogue has also effectively expanded UCM’s professional education courses, industry-recognized certificate programs and customized corporate curriculum. “Dr. Hogue brings employers desperate for skilled labor, government agencies and foundations with funding resources, and students wanting a higher-paying career together,” he said. 

Since joining UCM in 2003, Hogue has provided innovative leadership to expand and energize university programs while also serving as a leader for UPCEA and other professional and community organizations. Under her leadership, the university has expanded its online and learning engagement programming as well as its Center for Workforce and Professional Education. Working with staff members from both the main campus in Warrensburg and the campus in Lee’s Summit, Hogue has facilitated a number of successful partnerships and collaborations with online learning partners, healthcare facilities and funding organizations.

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(Published Sept. 22, 2022)


UCM’s Grow Your Own Teachers first cohort graduates in May 2022 with all 17 launching teaching careers this fallgraduation-hat

 The University of Central Missouri Grow Your Own Teachers provides significant benefits to adult learners as well as school districts with the first 17 program graduates entering their own classrooms this fall. Thanks to a partnership with 14 districts, this unique collaboration helps paraprofessionals earn a bachelor’s degree in education while working full time. 

 The program, which launched in 2019, offers the flexibility, support and convenience working adults need to reach their education and career goals while providing well qualified classroom teachers for local schools.

 “Grow Your Own Teachers is a very gratifying program for students and instructors,” said Carol Germano, UCM coordinator and adjunct instructor for the program. “It allows school districts the opportunity to keep dedicated and committed educators within their school community. Paraprofessionals know and understand the ‘inner-workings’ of a school community and provide one-on-one instruction to the neediest of students. This experience only supports their goal of becoming exceptional educators.”

 Sometimes known as paras, paraprofessionals work side-by-side with teachers to assist students. Traditionally, paras had to give up their full-time job in order to complete the college coursework as well as the observation and practicum requirements for a bachelor’s in education.

 “Paraprofessionals come to the classroom with a wealth of knowledge and experience that informs their academic work at UCM,” Germano added. “The knowledge and practical experience that paraprofessionals have developed through their work within the school setting inform and support academic coursework.” 

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(Published July 19, 2022)


UCM Lee’s Summit campus receives Chamber of Commerce Simply the Best Business of the Year Awardchamber-award-presentation

The University of Central Missouri Lee’s Summit campus received the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce Simply the Best Business of the Year Award at a June 17 awards luncheon. UCM Lee’s Summit was recognized in the category for businesses with one to 20 employees.

This prestigious award is a long-standing tradition in Lee's Summit honoring the very best businesses in the community, according to Chamber officials. UCM Lee’s Summit has been an active member of the Chamber for a number of years with staff members serving on several Chamber committees. In addition, the local campus has hosted numerous Chamber events at its state-of-the-art Missouri Innovation Campus.

The Chamber’s annual awards program includes a comprehensive written application with finalists participating in site visits by the Chamber’s selection team during the spring. The application focuses on company culture, community service and impact, staff engagement and support, future plans and involvement in the Chamber of Commerce.

In the photo, UCM Lee’s Summit staff members accept the Business of the Year Award. Pictured (from left) are (front row) Carson Graff, Chamber chair; Rick Smetana, Clarinda Dir, Laura Emery, all of UCM;  Lee’s Summit Mayor Bill Baird; (back row, from left) Joe Mullins, Nathan Flowers, Dr. Laurel Hogue, Brenda Fuhr and Kenda Glidewell, all of UCM.

(Published June 20, 2022)


Missouri Innovation Campus program celebrates completion of 10th year

Seventh cohort earns bachelor’s degrees from UCM just two years after high-school graduationmissouri-innovation-campus-building

 The Missouri Innovation Campus program is celebrating the completion of its 10th year this spring. The program’s seventh cohort (2018-22) recently finished their final year with each member receiving a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Missouri on May 6. 

 As with all MIC students, the new graduates also successfully completed a three-year, year-round paid internship with the program’s 65 industry-leading business partners. The 2022 graduates earned an impressive cumulative grade-point average of 3.42 with 76 percent having a GPA of 3.0 or above and 47 percent earning 3.5 or greater. One cohort member earned a perfect 4.0 GPA in this academically rigorous and career-focused program.

 MIC students enter the program as high-school juniors by taking not only courses required to graduate high school but also college credit courses that position them to earn an associate degree at Metropolitan Community College after just two years. Their final two years are dedicated to completing coursework at UCM with students earning their bachelor’s degree in high-demand fields two years after high-school graduation.

 This unique program has earned regional and national recognition and served as a model for similar programs throughout the nation. The MIC program benefits students by reducing college debt and accelerating their time to degree completion while also  developing a quality IT and engineering workforce for the Kansas City region.

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(Published June 13, 2022)


Missouri Innovation Campus program interns apply classroom knowledge at top area businessesMIC interns

High-school juniors enrolled in the nationally recognized Missouri Innovation Campus (MIC) program were recently matched with Kansas City area industry-leading companies as part of the program’s unique internship program. The MIC program is a partnership involving the University of Central Missouri, Metropolitan Community College, the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District and businesses.

 Since 2012, the program has provided students with the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree in a high-demand field just two years after high-school graduation – with little or no student debt. An important aspect of the successful program is its three-year paid internship programs, beginning just after each student’s junior year in high school. The interns are able to apply what they are learning in the classroom while working as a valued team member at the companies. 

 MIC program participants begin this early bachelor’s degree program at the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District’s Summit Technology Academy where they are enrolled in one of these capstone courses – Software Development: Java/Python, DevSecOps (development, security and operations)/Advanced Network and Cyber Concepts, Business Finance and Fintech (financial technology) or Digital Electronics/CIM (computer integrated manufacturing). 

 This spring, 22 MIC program students were placed at the following MIC partner businesses: UMB (six interns), Olsson (one), NIC (two), Lead Bank (one), SS&C Technologies (three), Ultrax Aerospace (one), Fishtech (two), Black & Veatch (one), Burns & McDonnell (one), Rx Savings Solutions (two) and MTW Solutions (two). The new interns are enrolled in programs such as cybersecurity, design and drafting, software development, big data or software engineering at the MIC.

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(Published May 26, 2022)


UCM hosts VRoKCs Spring Hackathon at Lee’s Summit campus

 The University of Central Missouri Lee’s Summit recently hosted VRoKCs Spring Hackathon, a virtual and augmented development challenge for high-school students. Held April 22 through 24 at the Missouri Innovation Campus, this was the first VRoKCs in-person Hackathon following a two-year gap.

 Participating students learned the hackathon problem statement on April 22 with problems closely aligned to a real-world situation. Utilizing design thinking and collaboration, teams of students from ninth through 12th grade built a functioning AR/VR prototype that addressed the problem identified. After the challenge, teams are able to get assistance in building their prototype into a minimum viable product and with persistence and dedication move onto a commercially viable product.

 Technical mentors and subject matter experts were available during the hackathon to provide additional assistance. Online support and collaboration tools were also available. Teams checked in their final project and pitch video online with projects judged by a panel of VR/AR and industry partners. The top three teams were awarded trophies.

 UCM’s participation is made possible through the university’s new Mixed Reality Studio, launched in 2020. The state-of-the-art studio is part of UCM’s Gigabit Lab, housed within the Missouri Innovation Campus in Lee’s Summit.

(Published May 26, 2022)


Building a More Perfect Union: Greater Kansas City Writing Project awarded Pandemic Recovery GrantKC Writing Project logo

University of Central Missouri’s Greater Kansas City Writing Project (GKCWP) was recently awarded a grant through the National Writing Project’s Building a More Perfect Union, a grant program for humanities organizations from throughout the United States to assist in recovery from interruptions to operations due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The grant will support GKCWP’s Curating Black History in KC project. Its goal is to uncover, consider and amplify histories of the Kansas City region that have been under- or misrepresented. Educators across the city will be working in the Black Archives of Mid-America to create and curate resources that will help teachers and students learn about and connect to the robust history of this community.  

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(Published May 26, 2022)


College-level Chemistry course available at Lee’s Summit campus this summer

 The University of Central Missouri is offering a summer Intro to Science: Chemistry 1104 course June 27 through Aug. 4 at the Missouri Innovation Campus in Lee’s Summit. The class meets from 9:30 to 11:20 a.m. with the lab from 12:30 to 2:20 p.m. Chemistry 1104 includes an introduction of the basic concepts of chemistry and scientific methodology, emphasizing the connections between chemistry, technology and all things in the modern world.

 The course, taught by Dr. Chen Zhou, UCM associate professor of chemistry, fulfills UCM’s General Education Competency including Competency No. 7 while reinforcing the Foundational Skills Competency No. 3 in the science with a laboratory area of the UCM General Education Program. The course is equivalent to MOTR CHEM 100L Essentials in Chemistry with Lab in the Natural Sciences Knowledge Area.

Current students enroll at https://mycentral.ucmo.edu/. For more information, contact Dr. Zhou,  zhou@ucmo.edu.

(Published May 26, 2022)


UCM's innovative learn-as-you-earn certificate program honored by national organization
Partnership involving funding organizations and healthcare facilities breaks through barriers and provides training for critical-need healthcare positions

 The University of Central Missouri’s Center for Workforce and Professional Education recently captured national recognition for its learn-as-you-earn CNA (certified nursing assistant) partnership designed to fill critical healthcare positions. Through this innovative collaboration involving UCM, area funding organizations and healthcare facilities, the university provides adults with the training they need to launch a career in the high-demand healthcare field.CNA-graduates

 This program, which operates out of UCM’s Lee’s Summit campus, was among eight programs from across the nation recognized this spring by University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA). The university is also one of just two programs receiving an UPCEA Outstanding Program Award. UCM representatives will accept the Outstanding Program: Noncredit Award at UPCEA’s national conference during April in Orlando, Fla.

 Qualifying adult learners are able to receive debt-free scholarships from the Full Employment Council, Truman Heartland Community Foundation and Community Services League for the CNA training. The healthcare facilities – Children’s Mercy Hospital, John Knox Village and University Health Lakewood Medical Center – provide each student with a benefits-eligible job throughout their training period. Close to 90 percent of the graduates have also been hired by the hospitals and care facilities where they complete their clinicals.

 “Many of the students in these critical-needs programs do not have the resources to stop working while they pursue these certifications,” said Clarinda Dir, UCM Center for Workforce and Professional Development program manager who oversees the learn-as-you-earn CNA partnerships. “Thanks to the agreements with the healthcare facilities, the students earn a salary during their training period and are also offered a permanent job with the facility where they have trained.” 

 Through this program, the students launch rewarding careers in the growing healthcare field while healthcare facilities increase their talent pool for in-demand positions. Although UCM has partnered with the healthcare and scholarship organizations for several years, the learn-as-you-earn initiative began as a result of challenges faced during the pandemic.

 “Due to COVID restrictions, the non-employees – including UCM students – were not able to enter the facilities for clinicals,” Dir said. “At the same time, the CNA pool was shrinking as healthcare needs continued to dramatically increase.”

 To address this issue, UCM and the healthcare facility leaders developed a unique solution – pay the students a salary as healthcare assistants during their training program, Dir added. 

“This program has greatly benefitted the students and the partnering organizations, creating a beneficial situation for all involved,” said Dr. Laurel Hogue, UCM vice provost for online and learning engagement. “We are especially grateful to both the healthcare and funding organizations who joined with UCM to create a model program that provides industry-recognized training and also fills critical needs in healthcare.”

Clarissa Kirk, a recent graduate who trained at John Knox Village, shared her thoughts about pursuing her career goals and becoming a CNA. “You owe it to yourselves to try,” she said. “You owe it to yourself to feel satisfied. You owe it to yourself to be happy, to enjoy life. You’re worth it. You should try something…something that makes you enjoy it. Something that makes you feel really, really good inside your soul, and just take the next step.”

Shelley Penn, senior vice president/chief operations officer from the Full Employment Council, added, “Learn-as-you-earn activities allow students to rapidly apply their skills while demonstrating proficiency on the job. It’s also a great opportunity for employers to participate in ‘try-out‘ employment. Learn-as-you-earn creates a win-win for both the students and employers.”

Leaders from the healthcare facilities have praised the UCM program for helping them better serve patients while providing the hospitals and long-term care centers with highly skilled employees who have also trained within their own facilities.

“From a nursing leadership perspective, we were so frustrated with having chronically open positions that we need to fill, but not enough qualified candidates to fill them,” said Becky Paulsen, PhD(c), RN, CPN, senior director of Medical/Surgical Services at Children’s Mercy Hospital.

An initial goal of the partnership was to break through the barriers that stand between these jobs and the people who want to fill them.

“Our students have a calling for working with older adults, and this program enables us to take that passion to the next level by creating home-grown talent who have completed a high-quality educational experience,” said Trisha Pepper, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, John Knox Village manager of recruitment/employment. “The best part is that immediately after training is completed, the new CNAs hit the ground running and continue to build on those already-established relationships with our residents.”

CNAs completing the program begin their new jobs with a clear understanding of the workplace and its requirements after training within each facility.

“Our students enter full-time positions well prepared to do the job immediately and know the environment they will work in,” said Lynette M. Wheeler, chief operating officer University Health Lakewood Medical Center. “This reduces the orientation time and associated expenses, and we know the level of training accomplished. This also benefits the residents as caregivers are prepared for the level of care and support on day one.”

UCM’s certification program includes three components: classroom training, clinical experience and Basic Life Support (CPR/AED) certification. Additional instruction emphasizes UCM’s CoreBuilders©️ Workplace Success Skills covering topics such as self-leadership, integrity, teamwork, communications, human behavior, goals, problem-solving and career management. More than 80 adult learners have participated in UCM’s learn-as-you-earn CNA program since the pandemic began with enrollment ongoing.

To learn more about UCM’s Center for Workforce and Professional Education, visit this webpage. Courses are offered in a number of high-demand areas such as healthcare, information technology, business and manufacturing/warehouse. Many programs can be completed in as little as six weeks with scholarship funding available for qualifying individuals.

Since 1953, UPCEA has recognized its members’ outstanding contributions to the association and the field, as well as their achievements in innovative programming, marketing and promotion, community development and services, research and publications and many other areas.

In the photos, CNAs are honored at recent graduation ceremonies.

(Published March 14, 2022)


UCM and Whiteman Air Force Base join forces to offer on-base certificate courses
Workforce classes provide industry-recognized training for high-demand fields 

 The University of Central Missouri and Whiteman Air Force Base recently approved an agreement that will bring UCM’s industry-recognized certificate courses to military-connected students as well as military spouses. The courses are designed to provide a convenient method for adult learners to take courses at the Whiteman AFB.adult-learners-in-classroom

 Classes will begin in March and are offered at various times and days of the week to make it more convenient for military members and their spouses to participate in the programs. The majority of classes being offered this spring will be face-to-face with one course offered online. In addition, if any of the students are deployed during the session, the classes are portable with these students having the opportunity to complete the course online.

During March, the following courses will begin at Whiteman Air Force Base:

  • Clinical Medical Assistant - 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Thursday, March 14 to April 21
  • Clinical Medical Assistant - 9 a.m. to noon, Tuesday and Thursday, March 15 to Aug. 23
  • Paralegal - 9 a.m. to noon, Monday and Wednesday, March 14 through Sept. 12
  • Paralegal - 1 to 4 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday, March 15 to Sept. 1
  • Computer Support Specialist - 6 to 9 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday, March 15 to Nov. 1.

In addition, Project Management for CAPM is offered through the UCM-Whiteman collaboration as an online, open-enrollment course. Most students complete this course in two to three months. 

The new UCM courses will be the primary professional education instructor-led training programs offered at the Air Force base. Loaner laptops are available for the duration of the course for students in need. 

 Military spouses may be eligible for scholarships through the MyCAA program. UCM is recognized as a MyCAA sponsor, providing industry recognized certifications and certificates in the areas of healthcare, technology, business and manufacturing to support the mobility of the military family. The certifications provide military spouses the opportunity to obtain national certifications or credentials so they can be competitive in the global job market. For more information about MyCAA, visit this webpage. 

 The university continues to offer Whiteman servicemen and women a number of military benefits, has been recognized as Military Friendly and was recently named an AU-ABC (Associates to Baccalaureate Cooperative) school. 

Benefits for military personnel include tuition assistance, access to Student Services on Whiteman, reduction or elimination of some fees, priority for course enrollment and access to UCM’s award-winning Military and Veterans Success Center and Student Recreation and Wellness Center. 

 Interested military-connected adults, military spouses and others may enroll in the courses using the links above. Students must either have base access or be able to obtain base access no later than two weeks prior to the course start date. Although the civilian community is welcome to enroll, please note that priority enrollment is given to military personnel and their families with limited spots in each course. Please contact the UCM Whiteman site coordinator, Courtney Irvine, at wafb@ucmo.edu or call 660-543-4464 if you have additional questions or to request access to the base.  

(Published Jan. 21, 2022)


CNA, Phlebotomy Technician and Medical Billing and Coding Professional graduates earn sought-after certificates from University of Central Missouri

 Graduates of the University of Central Missouri’s Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)-Mental Health, Phlebotomy Technician Certificate and Medical Billing and Coding Professional programs were recognized Dec. 17 at a ceremony at UCM’s Lee’s Summit campus. Through these programs, students earn industry-recognized certifications and are prepared for careers in the high-demand healthcare field.photos-of-three-grad-groups

 Thanks to a partnership with the Community Services League and Truman Heartland Community Foundation, qualifying students are eligible for scholarships for workforce programs as well as several other workforce development programs. Information about scholarship opportunities are available at this link. The Phlebotomy Technician and Medical Billing and Coding Professional recent graduates includes students receiving funding through CSL/Truman Heartland. The CNA graduates’ tuition is paid by Children’s Mercy Hospital with the graduates working at Children’s Mercy.    

 These three workforce programs can be completed in approximately two to three months, depending on how many classes are offered during each week.

Students successfully completing the Medical Coding and Billing Professional Certificate program are prepared to take the Certified Professional Coder (CPC-A) certification exam from AAPC, which is recognized by employers across the nation. Also included is preparation for the Remote Worker Certification. This course is offered in the Kansas City metropolitan area as well as via hybrid online. 

Through the Phlebotomy Technician program students learn all aspects of blood collection and are prepared to pursue certification for the National Healthcare Association’s industry exam. Classes are offered in Lee’s Summit and Kansas City.

The CNA certificate program prepares adult learners for employment in one of the fastest growing job fields in the nation and includes Missouri CNA Certification and the American Heart Association Basic Life Support Certification. 

At the graduation ceremony, students were encouraged to continue their education and advance in their careers through UCM’s variety of certificate and degree programs.

In-person classes, online and hybrid are currently forming for several high-demand certificate programs with more information available at this webpage

Interested individuals are invited to learn more about these programs at UCM’s monthly Professional Training and Education Open House, offered on the last Tuesday of each month. Scholarship information is also available at these events. 

(Published Dec. 10, 2022)


Missouri Innovation Campus program provides student with hands-on experiences at paid internships and relevant, quality courseworkphoto-of-madison-canton

Madison Canton is prepared to graduate with a high-demand cybersecurity degree from University of Central Missouri in 2022

 Thanks to a groundbreaking program from the University of Central Missouri, Madison Canton is poised to earn her bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity in May 2022, just two years after her graduation from Blue Springs High School, while also working toward a spring 2023 master’s degree graduation.

 Madison is participating in the Missouri Innovation Campus program, which has received national recognition for redefining higher education, reducing student debt and accelerating the time it takes to earn a bachelor’s degree. Through partnerships with leading Kansas City metropolitan area businesses, the program helps businesses grow talent and retain employees in high-demand areas.

Another unique aspect of the MIC program is its paid internships that begin during high school. Madison has interned at Fishtech, a leading current-generation security-as-a-service solutions provider, for two and a half years, currently serving as cyber threat analyst.

“Through the MIC program and my internship, I’ve had hands-on practical experiences that cannot easily be simulated in a classroom,” Madison said. “The classes I have taken through UCM have better prepared me for my MIC internship, and what I have learned from my MIC internship helps me have a more in-depth understanding of concepts I learn in my UCM classes. Having the opportunity to not only get a jump start on my college education, but also my career is almost unprecedented. It is all possible because of UCM and the MIC program.”

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(Published Dec. 14, 2021)


University of Central Missouri supports for VRoKCs Fall 2021 Hackathon

VR/AR software development challenge designed for high-school students

 The University of Central Missouri sponsored a unique event for high-school students interested in virtual and augmented reality software development. VRoKCs Fall 2021 Hackathon was held Dec. 3-5 with students from ninth through 12th grades competing virtually from their respective homes. 

 VRoKCs Hackathon problem statement was revealed on Dec. 3 to the participating teams. Using design thinking and collaboration, each team built a functioning AR/VR prototype to address the defined problem. Technical mentors and subject matter experts were available during the hackathon to provide additional assistance as well as online support and collaboration tools. 

The event concluded with teams submitting their final project and pitching their video online. Submitted projects were judged by a panel of AR/VR and industry partners. Following the challenge, the teams can receive assistance in building their prototype into a minimum viable product (MVP). To learn more about the hackathon or to sign up a team, visit this webpage.

UCM’s sponsorship includes support for the teams along with providing judges for the hackathon. VRoKCs is a non-profit, software development mentoring program for high-school students based in Kansas City and beyond.

(Published Dec. 14, 2021)


UCM student spotlight

Two Missouri Innovation Campus grads share their stories and appreciation for this flexible, accelerated program leading both to careers at top engineering firmphotos-of-young-woman-and-young-man

Jatyra Harris and Chris Donnici, University of Central Missouri 2018 graduates, credit UCM’s Missouri Innovation Campus program with helping them launch a successful career at Burns & McDonnell just two years after graduating from high school. Both Jatyra and Chris began their UCM education as high-school juniors taking courses through the MIC program, an unique partnership including UCM, Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, Metropolitan Community College (MCC) and more than 50 industry-leading businesses.

A key component of the MIC program is its paid internships that begin during high school. Jatyra and Chris completed their internships with Burns & McDonnell where both MIC graduates were offered full-time positions with the top engineering firm. Jatyra, who majored in design and drafting and information and technology, works as an assistant electrical detailer. Chris, a drafting and design technology major, is an assistant civil detailer.

“Jatyra and Chris are excellent examples of what it takes to be successful in the MIC program,” said Stan Elliott, MIC director. “They were dedicated, determined, passionate and focused on navigating the academic course load as well as their internship experience at Burns & McDonnell. They have a tremendous career ahead of them!”

Jatyra, who graduated in 2016 from Raytown South High School, said she was looking for a STEM-based education. 

“The MIC program  and UCM offered the opportunity not only to follow this type of academic path, but get an accelerated education and head start on my career,” she said. “That meant I was able to get my associate degree the same year I graduated high school. Two years later, after graduating high school, I got my bachelor's and accepted my full-time offer with Burns & McDonnell. I graduated UCM debt free and already had four years of experience in my intended field.”

Chris, 2016 valedictorian at Van Horn High School, chose UCM and the MIC program due to the challenging, yet rewarding path it provided to higher education. 

“I was looking for something interesting to invest myself into, something more than just dual-credit or AP classes,” he said. “The MIC program provided a unique experience that I could not get anywhere else, while also preparing me for my career in the future. I have been at the same company I interned with for a total of seven years and have a large network of contacts reaching back to my MIC internship days.”

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(Published Oct. 25, 2021)


Real-life training, strong curriculum and proven partnerships help University Health Lakewood Medical Center develop talent for critical healthcare positionsgroup-of-graduates-during-ceremony

Exposing students to real-life experiences and a solid curriculum are key elements of an innovative training program for certified nursing assistants (CNAs) at University Health Lakewood Medical Center (formerly called Truman Medical Center Lakewood). The medical center has joined forces with the University of Central Missouri and the Full Employment Council to provide quality training for high-demand CNA positions.

“UCM has developed a strong curriculum to train and prepare CNA students for jobs at University Health Lakewood Medical Center Care Center,” said Lynette M. Wheeler, chief operating officer University Health Lakewood Medical Center. “Our students enter full-time positions well prepared to do the job immediately and know the environment they will work in. This reduces the orientation time and associated expenses, and we know the level of training accomplished. This also benefits the residents as caregivers are prepared for the level of care and support on day one.”

Clarinda Dir, UCM Center for Workforce and Professional Education program manager, said the partnership helps fill the healthcare talent pool with employees who have job experience at the medical facility. 

“This partnership and others really started with the pandemic when we could not get students in facilities for clinicals unless they were employees,” Dir said. “This allows students to establish their career path resulting in a win-win for the organization and the students.”

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(Published Oct. 4, 2021)


Earn-as-you-learn partnership offers a win-win for UCM, John Knox Village, Full Employment Council and students
Out-of-the-box thinking during pandemic results in innovative program that helps fill critical needs in healthcareGroup-photo-of-grads

 Thanks to a successful partnership involving the University of Central Missouri, John Knox Village and the Full Employment Council, adult learners have the opportunity to participate in an earn-as-you-learn program that helps fill critical healthcare needs.

 Through this collaborative effort, area certified nursing assistant (CNA) and certified medication technician (CMT) students earn their certification while working full time as health services assistants at John Knox Village. The Village pays these employee students to attend class and clinicals while also providing them with benefits. To make earning this high-demand certification even more accessible, the Full Employment Council offers scholarships for qualifying individuals.

 “This program allows us to have home-grown talent that has completed a high quality educational experience,” said  Trisha Pepper, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, Village manager of recruitment/employment. “Immediately after training completion, the new CNAs hit the ground running and continue to build on those relationships with our residents.”

 This innovative partnership started during the COVID-19 pandemic, said Clarinda Dir, UCM Center for Workforce and Professional Education program manager. 

“We couldn’t get students in facilities for clinicals unless they were employees, and the CNA pool was shrinking,” Dir said. “These partnerships allowed facilities to feed their talent pool thanks to out-of-the-box thinking to address these challenges.”

 So far, approximately 50 CNAs and CMTs have been trained through this partnership with the majority of the new healthcare professionals working at either the Village Care Center or Village Assisted Living. During the pandemic, UCM offered one CMT and four CNA classes in cooperation with John Knox Village and the Full Employment Council. 

 “As we all experienced early on in the pandemic, change was the constant,” Pepper said. “However, I feel like we didn’t really skip a beat. We certainly had to make some changes to our processes, but have continued to provide training”

 Both students and John Knox Village have benefited greatly from the partnership, Pepper added. Through the earn-while-you-learn program, the students progress through the John Knox Village pathway from health services assistant to CNA student to CNA fairly quickly and begin making an impact, she said. 

 “We are able to train them to use Village-approved approaches and techniques for providing care and, more importantly, we know that they are dedicated team members who have already formed relationships with the people they serve and work with,” Pepper said.

 Working with UCM has been a positive experience for both the Village and the students, Pepper added, especially with a UCM campus located in Lee’s Summit, approximately 1 mile from the retirement community.

 “It’s been a very smooth process to work with UCM and they’ve continued to be flexible to meet our needs,” she said. “The students are able to complete all components either on our JKV campus or just down the road at the state-of-the-art Missouri Innovation Campus facility.”

 “We are grateful to John Knox Village and the Full Employment Council,” Dir said. “The partnership allows students to establish a career path and is really a win-win for the organization and the student.”  

“I have worked with the Full Employment Council for over 20 years to assist with funding opportunities, supportive services and to develop the first CNA and CMT registered apprenticeship programs,” Pepper said. “UCM also has a long history of partnering with the FEC, so pulling the three organizations together made perfect sense. The partnership with UCM also has enabled the Village to reach even more individuals who want to begin a career in nursing by expanding its professional network to include the Community Services League of Independence and the Truman Heartland Community Foundation.”

Individuals interested in enrolling in the CNA or CMT certification programs may visit the UCM Center for Workforce and Professional Education webpage or contact Dir at dir@ucmo.edu

The University of Central Missouri operates campus locations in Warrensburg, Online and Lee’s Summit with UCM’s Workforce and Professional Education programs housed at the Missouri Innovation Campus in Lee’s Summit. 

John Knox Village is a life plan community located in Lee’s Summit, serving about 1,200 residents on its campus and about 5,000 additional community members. The Village offers a full continuum of care, including independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing, home health and hospice. The Village Care Center provides 24-hour licensed nursing services in two long-term care units, a memory care unit, a Medicare-certified rehabilitation unit and Village House, which provides short-term, in-patient hospice care. Village Assisted Living offers 24-hour nursing care, regular housekeeping, three meals a day, planned activities and assistance with activities of daily living as well as three dedicated memory care units.

In the photo, recent CNA graduates celebrate at a recent ceremony with their instructor and John Knox Village officials. 

(Published Sept. 2, 2021)


Missouri Innovation Campus program begins 10th year of connecting businesses to a trained workforce
Unique program benefits students by reducing college debt and accelerating time to degree completionMIC-intern-sitting-at-desk

Since its initiation in 2012, the Missouri Innovation Campus (MIC) program has received regional and national recognition and provided a pathway for metro-area young adults to earn sought-after skills and an accelerated bachelor’s degree, leading them to high-paying careers.

As the Missouri Innovation Campus program begins its 10th year, this unique partnership is staying focused on its original goals -- reducing college costs and debt for students, accelerating the time it takes to earn a bachelor’s degree, providing students with real-world learning experiences and developing a quality IT and engineering workforce for the Kansas City region.

“The MIC program remains to our knowledge the only workforce talent provider that allows students to receive a BS degree two years after high-school graduation and participate in a three-year, year-round internship,” said Stan Elliott, MIC director who also helped found the program. 

The program includes business and civic partners, the University of Central Missouri, the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District and Metropolitan Community College (MCC). Thanks to this unique partnership, the MIC re-imagines students’ college experience with a focus on rigorous and relevant coursework as well as connecting businesses to a highly trained workforce. To ensure continuing success, curriculum is reviewed every other year to keep it on the leading edge of each industry.

Students enter the MIC program as high-school juniors by taking not only courses required to graduate high school but also college credit courses that position them to also earn an associate degree from MCC just after high-school graduation. Their final two years are dedicated to completing coursework at UCM with students earning their BS degree and entering the workforce with average salaries of close to $65,000 -- all at age 20 to 21.

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(Published Aug. 9, 2021)


FAA administrator highlights Missouri Innovation Campus Aerospace Academy during tour of Lee’s Summit facility

 Steve Dickson, administrator for the Federal Aviation Administration, highlighted the new Aerospace Academy, a collaborative effort involving the University of Central Missouri and Summit Technology Academy during a June 28 visit to the Missouri Innovation Campus (MIC).student-talking-to-two-men-by-equipment

 “These students right here are our future,” Dickson said. “We welcome their energy and enthusiasm as they grow through their studies. This is one of the most exciting times to start lifelong learning and a career in aerospace.”

 During his tour of the MIC, Dickson heard about the Aerospace Academy, designed for both high-school and college students with a goal of enhancing the talent pipeline for a qualified workforce in this high-demand field. In addition, the FAA administrator participated in a student demonstration of aerospace equipment at the MIC.

Beginning in fall 2021, students will enter the program as high-school juniors with a focus on aviation-related fields such as avionics, aerospace engineering, aviation maintenance, aviation management, unmanned/drone pilot, professional pilot and military aviation. 

 In addition to UCM and Lee’s Summit R-7’s Summit Technology Academy, the Aerospace Academy partnership includes the Lee’s Summit Municipal Airport, the City of Lee’s Summit and a number of industry leaders such as Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA), Ultrax Aerospace Engineering, Aircraft Institute of Maintenance (AIM). AEA, which provides industry training, is donating aerospace equipment through its educational foundation, including an electronic flight instrument system, radio equipment, antennas, wiring, tool benches, tool sets and more. 

 UCM, which has an aviation flight program that began more than 50 years ago, is sharing expertise, connections and additional resources. UCM is also one of just a few universities with an aviation program as well as its own airport, located in  Warrensburg. 

 The Aerospace Academy is unique within the Midwest and has drawn interest from throughout the nation. Joe Mullins of UCM and Dr. Jeremy Bonnesen of Summit Technology Academy are leading the project. For more information about the new program, contact Bonnesen, jeremy.bonnesen@lsr7.net, or Mullins, jmullins@ucmo.edu.

(Published July 14, 2021 - Photo courtesy of Lee's Summit R-7 School District)


Certified Nursing Assistant program grad begins healthcare career thanks to UCM program and Full Employment Council scholarship

Clarissa Kirk, a recent graduate of UCM’s Certified Nursing Assistant program, is feawoman-wearing-scrubs-outdoorstured in a recent article and video from the Full Employment Council. Kirk, who was born deaf, encourages others to not let barriers derail their successes.

For adults considering a return to school and a new career, Kirk said, “You’re worth it. You owe it to yourselves to try. You owe it to yourself to feel satisfied. You owe it to yourself to be happy, to enjoy life. You should try something...something that makes you enjoy it. Something that makes you feel really, really good inside your soul, and just take that next step. And the FEC (Full Employment Council) will help you through it, if you try.”

The FEC helped connect Kirk to funding, which covered the cost of her tuition, as well as her uniform and supplies. After graduating from UCM’s popular Certified Nursing Assistant program, she began working as a CNA at John Knox Village in Lee’s Summit. 

Kirk had been interested in a career in healthcare for years, but as a deaf person, she worried that she might not be able to perform some related tasks such as listening to a stethoscope. She shared that her teachers at UCM, whom she described as “amazing,” helped her learn how to complete all the tasks necessary to become a CNA -- including how to use a stethoscope.

To read more about Kirk’s journey, select here.  To view a video featuring Kirk, select here. Feature article, photo and video courtesy of the Kansas City Full Employment Council. 

(Published June 28, 2021)


UCM student spotlight: Jacob Danley earns cybersecurity degree just two years after high-school graduation, begins new job at Burns & McDonnellphoto-of-jacob-danley

Within the space of a few weeks, Jacob Danley earned a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity from UCM and started a full-time job at Burns & McDonnell -- both at age 20. Jacob is among students participating in the Missouri Innovation Campus (MIC) program, a progressive partnership that includes the University of Central Missouri, Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, Metropolitan Community College (MCC) and more than 50 industry-leading businesses.

All MIC program students participate in three-year, paid internships with Jacob interning at Burns & McDonnell and AWNIX, both MIC program business partners.

A 2019 graduate of Lee’s Summit West High School, Jacob said he was pleased with his selection of the MIC program and UCM. “The MIC program from my local school district is partnered with UCM to fulfill the junior/senior level college classes so the choice was somewhat made for me, but I was very happy at UCM.”

A favorite part of the program for Jacob is its location at the Missouri Innovation Campus in Lee’s Summit. (Missouri Innovation Campus is the name of both the accelerated degree program as well as UCM’s Lee’s Summit campus.)

“It allowed me to stay home but attend in-person classes without having to drive for an hour to the UCM campus,” he added.

After completing the MIC program, Jacob said he would recommend UCM to others, especially those with access to the MIC program or Missouri Innovation Campus facility in Lee’s Summit. 

“It allows much more flexibility in college which was necessary since I was working internships during most days, so my classes were at night,” he said. “I’m really happy that I made the decision to start in the MIC program and get my degree through UCM because the teachers are really great and the financial support UCM provides its students is amazing.”

Through the nationally recognized Missouri Innovation Campus program, students take college-ready classes from UCM and MCC along with their high-school classes beginning with their junior year of high school. Students have the opportunity to earn their bachelor’s degree just two years after high-school graduation. In addition, they graduate with little to no student debt, participating in three-year, year-round, paid internships with the first two years of college tuition paid. MIC degree programs are in high-wage, in-demand areas such as engineering, big data/business analytics and information technology. More than 90 percent of MIC graduates are also hired by the industry-leading businesses where they intern. 

(Published June 15, 2021)


Certified Nursing Assistant and Phlebotomy Technician graduates earn sought-after certificates from UCM
FEC offers scholarships for qualifying students entering these high-demand fields

 Graduates of the University of Central Missouri’s Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)-Mental Health and Phlebotomy Technician Certificate Programs were recognized May 14 at a ceremony at UCM’s Lee’s Summit campus. Through these programs, students earn industry-recognized certifications and are prepared for careers in the high-demand healthcare field.

 Thanks to a partnership with the Full Employment Council, qualifying students are eligible for scholarships for this course as well as several other workforce development programs. 

 At the graduation ceremony, students were encouraged to continue their education and advance in their careers. Additional opportunities include Sterile Processing Technician, offered by UCM, as well as pursuing LPN (licensed practical nurse) or RN (registered nurse) options through local community colleges. 

UCM offers undergraduate nursing programs which include the traditional BSN program, as well as  an online RN to BSN option. Graduate nursing programs are also online with two track options -- Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and Nurse Educator (NE).

 The university’s CNA courses include a general CNA certificate program as well as home health aide, a CNA course specializing in mental health and a CNA program geared toward special needs.

 Both the CNA and Phlebotomy Technician programs can be completed in approximately two to three months, depending on how many classes are offered during each week. 

 Classes are currently forming for several high-demand certificate programs with start dates and links to program descriptions included below.

Scholarships are also available for qualifying students with information at this webpage. UCM sponsors a monthly Professional Training and Education Open House through a partnership with the Full Employment Council with scholarship information also available at these events. 

(Published May 25, 2021)

CNA grads are pictured in photo at left with Phlebotomy Technicians on the right.

CNA-and-Phlebotomy-Tech-graduates


University of Central Missouri announces schedule for popular computer science online summer camps for kidsYellow-comic-monster

The University of Central Missouri is partnering with Black Rocket online learning company to offer online computer science summer camps for children from age 8 to 14. One-week sessions are available June 7 through Aug. 6 with three-hour classes offered during either the morning or afternoon. 

The computer science summer camps include topics such as video game design and animation, programming, coding and YouTube content creation. Examples of popular upcoming courses are Minecraft Animators, Roblox Makers and YouTube Content Creators, Python Programmers, Make Your First Video Game, Young Authors and eSports Apprentice-Streamers and Gamers.

The online offerings are designed to educate young people in an engaging and safe environment while also reducing isolation through interactive activities with live online teachers. For more information about UCM’s summer online computer science summer camps, select this link.  

(Published April 27, 2021)


Gov. Parson lauds Mixed Reality Studio for contributions to prepare Missouri’s workforcegovernor-speaking-at-podium-at-event

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson praised our new Mixed Reality Studio during a March 2 visit to the Missouri Innovation Campus. The governor received a first-hand view of how projects funded through the Missouri Excels (MoExcels) program are helping prepare the next generation of researchers, developers and entrepreneurs. 

UCM, Lee’s Summit R-7 School District and area businesses came together for the governor’s visit to showcase the new Mixed Reality Studio as a key educational project that will help address the state’s critical need for a well-trained, technology-focused workforce. 

The Mixed Reality Studio was launched by UCM in the fall of 2020, and is part of the Gigabit Lab housed within the MIC. MoExcels, which was implemented by the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development, provided almost $675,000 toward the Information Technology Expansion Project that included the Studio and related UCM initiatives. All are designed to help facilitate development and expansion of employer-driven education and training programs to increase educational attainment.

“I couldn’t be in a better place than to be here today,” Parson said, reflecting on his visit with individuals involved with the Missouri Innovation Campus and the Mixed Reality Studio.

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(Published March 8, 2021)


UCM to offer new online course exploring African American history through legacy of Chadwick Boseman

Eight-week online course offered for high-school students at discounted ratechadwick-boseman-as-black-panther

The University of Central Missouri will present Hidden Histories, a class designed for high-school students, March 8 through May 7. The online course will dive into African American history by exploring the legacy of the late actor Chadwick Boseman.

The engaging and experiential class showcases eight films starring Boseman including his portrayal of Jackie Robinson in “42,” James Brown in “Get on Up” and Thurgood Marshall in “Marshall” as well as the box office hit “Black Panther.” Students will have an entire week to watch each film and then share their responses through an online discussion board. An added feature to Hidden Histories will be a guest lecture by UCM alum Dr. Jesse Adolph of Perimeter College discussing the Black Panther comic series.

Offered by the UCM History Program, the course provides three hours of college credit. Hidden Histories is discounted at $89.90 per credit hour for high-school students. Since UCM is a regionally accredited institution, Hidden Histories will transfer to the majority of United States universities. 

To enroll, contact the UCM Dual Credit Office at 816-543-4876 and tell them you are a “Visiting High School Student” wanting to enroll in HIST 2000. The course is taught by Dr. Delia Gillis, UCM professor of history and Africana studies. For more information, contact her at dgillis@ucmo.edu

(Published Feb. 17, 2021)


International MOU signing celebrates partnership involving UCM and South Eastern Kenya Economic Bloc in education and workforce development

Representatives from the University of Central Missouri (UCM) and the Government of Makueni County-Kenya, a member of the South Eastern Kenya Economic Bloc (SEKEB), and Global Classroom Exchange (GCE) celebrated a unique international partnership at a Jan. 8 virtual event. The early morning Zoom session included representatives from the university, Government of Makueni County-Kenya, the Economic Bloc and Global Classroom Exchange.

Officials signing the partnership’s memorandum of understanding were 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. To view the MOU signing, visit this webpage.

“From our experience when we came to the university, the focus is really on the students,” said Kibwana during the virtual signing. “Even more exciting is creating this new nuance in education, this virtual education.”

Critical aspects of the partnership include leveraging technology to enhance academic learning, developing career pathways with joint workforce programs for global markets and establishing dual credit and concurrent programs with Makueni County-Kenya, Hogue said. “Today is the result of a lot of work and collaboration, and we are really excited about the work ahead,” she added.

The initiative is resulting in meaningful collaboration and project-based learning, Musau said. “We talk about having borders, and we talk about creating opportunities and sometimes those two don’t go hand-in-hand. I feel this is one opportunity for us to make a difference.”

Also attending the ceremony was Rick MDowell of the Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council. “Workforce is a major initiative for Lee’s Summit and the regional area in Kansas City,” he said. “Now we see this as throughout the world as a major initiative.”

Through the partnership, UCM Extended Studies will work with the university’s Kenyan peers on education and workforce development. The partners are leveraging technology to foster global collaboration in resolving local challenges. The organizations are working together to develop real-world sustainable solutions for students and adults. Students will also gain hands-on experiences in areas such as Internet of Things, virtual reality, telehealth and entrepreneurship -- just to name a few -- while working on industry-recognized certifications and accelerated degree programs.

“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.

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.

This new partnership has benefitted 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 jmullins@ucmo.edu or Dr. Laurel Hogue at lhogue@ucmo.edu

(Published Jan. 12, 2021)


UCM-Greater KC Writing Project awarded $2.3 million to advance literacy skills for kids and teensyoung-adult-students-at-workshop

The Greater Kansas City Writing Project at the University of Central Missouri (UCM), was awarded over $569,000 for the first year of a five year $2.3 million subgrant as part of a state-wide effort to improve literacy and ultimately the lives of Missouri children. 

Funding from the U.S. Department of Education supports Missouri’s Comprehensive Literacy State Development program. Missouri was awarded $18 million, overall, and is one of just 11 states awarded funding through this grant program.  The federal funds are earmarked for children from birth through 12th grade with grant monies being distributed over a five-year period. 

Established in 1983, the Greater Kansas City Writing Project (GKCWP) is one of nearly 200 university-based National Writing Project sites. The organization focuses on a pre-kindergarten through college community of educators and lifelong learners. The Greater Kansas City Writing Project has been housed at UCM since 2016, supporting the education outreach work of the university’s Extended Studies. 

The Writing Project’s mission is to enhance student achievement by improving the teaching of writing. Working in partnership with institutions, organizations and the community, the Greater Kansas City Writing Project seeks to develop and sustain leadership for educational improvement.

The Missouri Comprehensive Literacy State Development program was formed to complement the state’s commitment to literacy for students under the agency’s Show-Me Success plan. The goal of the project is to support educators’ working knowledge of evidence-based literacy strategies to effectively teach reading and writing to all students. This includes providing professional development to pre-service teachers in institutions of higher education, early childhood education teachers and K-12 educators to enable them to provide effective instruction. This grant will additionally support districts with developing evidence-based literacy plans to implement in their local schools while providing support for families. 

For more information about the Greater Kansas City Writing Project, visit the webpage.

(Published Dec. 8, 2020)


UCM Lee’s Summit’s Mixed Reality Studio provides opportunities for innovation; virtual launch held Nov. 20 exterior-view-of-mixed-reallity-studio

A new Mixed Reality Studio, located at the University of Central Missouri’s (UCM) Lee’s Summit campus, made its debut to the community during a Nov. 20 Virtual Sneak Peek. The approximately 60-minute preview is available at this link.

During the launch event, co-hosted by Velocity Lee’s Summit, presenters talked about the equipment available at the new studio, shared examples of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) potential projects and discussed the future of this growing technology. Presenters included Joe Mullins of UCM, Jeff Danley of VMLY&R and Ashley Smithson of Velocity.

“The Lee’s Summit studio is one of the most advanced mixed reality labs I’ve ever seen,” said Danley. “The opportunity to innovate with these technologies is tremendous for students and entrepreneurs in our area.”

“The Mixed Reality Studio aims to advance state-of-the-art technology in VR and AR by developing new applications and educating the next generation of researchers, developers, entrepreneurs and technologists while collaborating with industry,” Mullins said.

At this flexible space, students, instructors and industry innovators will be able to explore cutting-edge immersive technologies as they create, develop and deploy new applications, products and services.

The facility is equipped with various software and design platforms, multiple headset configurations, workstations, filming and graphic resources. Equipment available includes Dell workstations, HTC Vive VR headsets, Oculus Quest headsets, Microsoft HoloLens2, Magic Leap 2 glasses, HTC Vive Trackers and Lightform LF2 with New HP Reverb GT to be installed soon.

The Mixed Reality Studio was made possible by MoExcels funding, a Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development (MDHEWD) initiative to facilitate development and expansion of employer-driven education and training programs to substantially increase educational attainment. 

For more information about the Gigabit Lab and Mixed Reality Studio, contact Joe Mullins of UCM at jmullins@ucmo.edu or (816) 441-2861. For information about partnering with Velocity Lee’s Summit to access the Mixed Reality Studio, contact Ashley Smithson, info@velocity.org. Anyone interested in visiting the Mixed Reality Studio for a one-one-one or small-group socially distanced tour may contact Mullins.

(Published Nov. 23, 2020)


UCM Lee’s Summit offers Virtual Sneak Peek of new Mixed Reality Studio at Nov. 20 event 
Launch will provide preview of studio’s virtual reality and augmented reality technology capabilitiesgraphic-image-about-event

The University of Central Missouri will launch its new Mixed Reality Studio at a Virtual Sneak Peek from 10 to 11 a.m. Nov. 20. The studio is part of UCM’s Gigabit Lab and is located at the university’s Missouri Innovation Campus in Lee’s Summit.

The Virtual Sneak Peek is among a number of special events planned throughout the Kansas City metropolitan area in celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week. The preview, co-hosted by Lee’s Summit Velocity, will be offered at this link.    

The Mixed Reality Studio aims to advance state-of-the-art technology in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) by developing new applications and educating the next generation of researchers, developers, entrepreneurs and technologists while collaborating with industry.

The Lee’s Summit studio provides access to leading edge devices, educational programs and industry through leadership that will educate and inspire the next generation of innovation in the areas of augmented reality and virtual reality.  Access to the studio will help students, faculty and industry innovators to create, develop and deploy new applications, products and services.

The Mixed Reality Studio was made possible by MoExcels funding, a Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development (MDHEWD) initiative to facilitate development and expansion of employer-driven education and training programs to substantially increase educational attainment. 

For more information about the Gigabit Lab and Mixed Reality Studio, contact Joe Mullins of UCM at jmullins@ucmo.edu or (816) 441-2861. You can also read more about the studio by selecting this link.

(Published Nov. 12, 2020)


UCM Lee’s Summit and Urban TEC to host Technology, College and Career Virtual Event Dec. 11

Slide-with-details-about-eventNOTE: This event was originally scheduled for Dec. 4 and has been moved to Dec. 11.

The University of Central Missouri (UCM) Gigabit Lab is joining forces with Urban TEC to host the Technology, College and Career Virtual Event from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Dec. 11. Additional sponsors include CISCO, Truman Medical Center University Health and Microsoft. 

The event is designed to expose, educate and engage students from 15-18, with technology to bridge the digital literacy divide and to encourage their pursuit of STEAM - science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics - careers through hands-on experiences and workshops.

Middle and high school students from throughout the Kansas City metropolitan area are invited to attend for a  unique experience. The deadline for registration is Dec. 10, and participants may sign up at urbantec.org.

 The UCM Gigabit Lab is designed for growth-oriented companies and innovators and helps them develop products designed primarily in the education, cyber and healthcare vertical. The focus is on education, cybersecurity, Internet of Things, workforce and healthcare applications that can be deployed to students and teachers in K-12 grades and UCM degree and certificate programs.

For more information, visit urbantec.org or contact Ina P. Montgomery, M.Ed., founder and executive director of Urban TEC, at kcbitgathering@gmail.com or (816) 533-5693.

(Published Nov. 11, 2020 / Updated Dec. 7, 2020)


Announcing the opening of Mixed Reality Studio at Missouri Innovation Campus

The University of Central Missouri is launching the Mixed Reality Studio, part of its Gigabit Lab, during Global Entrepreneurship Week in November. The studio aims to advance state-of-the-art technology in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) by developing new applications and educating the next generation of researchers, developers, entrepreneurs and technologists while collaborating with industry.three-people-with-VR-headsets

The Mixed Reality Studio provides access to leading edge devices, educational programs and industry through leadership that will educate and inspire the next generation of innovation in the areas of augmented reality and virtual reality.  Access to the studio will help students, faculty and industry innovators to create, develop and deploy mixed reality experiences. The studio is located at our Lee’s Summit campus, housed within the Missouri Innovation Campus.

According to Joe Mullins, UCM Center for Workforce and Professional Education, the new studio will help participants from a variety of fields to explore this technology, take advantage of experiential learning and research opportunities and develop new applications, products and services.

The Mixed Reality Studio was made possible by MoExcels funding, a Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development (MDHEWD) initiative to facilitate development and expansion of employer-driven education and training programs to substantially increase educational attainment. 

For more information about the Gigabit Lab and Mixed Reality Studio, contact Joe Mullins of UCM at jmullins@ucmo.edu or (816) 441-2861. You can also read more about the studio by selecting this link.


UCM starts development of future partnership with South Eastern Kenya Economic Bloc in education and workforce development

Thanks to a virtual project involving Lee’s Summit area students working with students and officials from Kenya, an international partnership is launching this fall. The partnership under development includes UCM, the South Eastern Kenya Economic Bloc (SEKEB), Makueni Innovation Centre, Eastern Kenya Integrated College and Digloso Ltd.kenya-governor-at-MIC

During a recent video conference, representatives from UCM, SEKEB, Makueni County Government (who run the Innovation Centre), Digloso Ltd., Eastern Kenya Integrated College and Summit Technology Academy participated in presentations and discussions regarding the potential partnership’s next steps. 

“This unique collaborative effort will allow UCM Extended Studies to work with the university’s Kenyan peers on education and workforce program development,” said Joe Mullins, UCM Workforce and Professional Education and the chief development person for the partnership. 

Through the project, partners will leverage technology to foster global collaboration in resolving local challenges. The partners will work together to develop real-world sustainable solutions for students and adults. Students will also gain hands-on experiences in areas such as Internet of Things, virtual reality, telehealth and entrepreneurship -- just to name a few -- while working on industry-recognized certifications and accelerated degree programs.

In the photo, Governor Kivutha Kibwana of Kenya tours the Missouri Innovation Campus during fall 2019. Read an expanded article on this topic by selecting this link.


UCM, Summit Technology Academy discuss new Aerospace Academy partnership with Lee’s Summit City Council 
Program to begin fall 2021 to provide career pathway for students interested in aviation-related fields

Lee’s Summit City Council members heard an update on the Missouri Innovation Campus Aerospace Academy, a partnership involving the University of Central Missouri (UCM) and Summit Technology Academy. During an Aug. 18 meeting, council members heard from Bob Hartnett of Lee’s Summit Public Works, Dr. Jeremy Bonnesen of Summit Technology Academy, Joe Mullins of UCM, Mike Adamson of Aircraft Electronics Association and Dr. David Buck, Lee’s Summit R-7 superintendent.two-men-at-MIC

The collaboration has made significant progress since the formation of the Aerospace Academy Advisory Board during August 2019. The group of industry experts and regional stakeholders includes representatives from the Aircraft Electronics Association and ULTRAX Aerospace -- both headquartered in Lee’s Summit, Duncan Aviation and Garmin as well as officials from the City of Lee’s Summit and the Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council. Bonnesen and Mullins are leading the project for UCM and Summit Technology Academy.

During the city meeting, Aerospace Academy officials discussed the need for a program leading to jobs in this high-wage, high-demand field. Following the presentation, Mayor Bill Baird and several council members expressed their support for the new program.

Beginning in fall 2021, students will enter the program as high-school juniors with a focus on aviation-related fields such as avionics, aerospace engineering, aviation maintenance, unmanned/drone pilot, professional pilot and military aviation. The program is designed for both high-school and college students with a goal of enhancing the talent pipeline for a qualified workforce.

The Aerospace Academy is unique within the Midwest, said Mullins during the City Council meeting. “Our next steps are to continue to meet with our Advisory Board, to finalize the curriculum with industry and faculty input and ensure that the program is relevant to students,” he said. 

The program has involved both the City of Lee’s Summit as well as Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council since its formation. The Aerospace Academy will operate out of the Missouri Innovation Campus, which houses UCM’s Lee’s Summit campus and Summit Technology Academy.

The University of Central Missouri is one of just a few universities with an aviation program as well as its own airport, located at the Warrensburg campus. The City of Lee’s Summit also operates a municipal airport.

For more information about the new program, contact Bonnesen, jeremy.bonnesen@lsr7.net, or Mullins, jmullins@ucmo.edu. Mullins (at left) and Bonnesen are pictured above.

 

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