Beginning next year, the Missouri Innovation Campus (MIC) program will launch a highly sought-after bachelor’s degree combining artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and data science. The Bachelor of Science in Data Science will start in summer 2024, said Stan Elliott, MIC program director, and is offered through the MIC program’s partners – the University of Central Missouri, Lee’s Summit R-7 School District and Metropolitan Community College.
In January 2023, Elliott said he began hearing requests for the new degree from the MIC program’s business partners.
“The business partners were asking if UCM had an AI program and, if so, when would interns be available for the Kansas City region’s workforce as the AI push was growing at a fast pace,” Elliott said. “With the Data Science BS degree program starting in June 2024, interns in the MIC program would be available in June 2025 when they begin their paid, three-year, year-round internship with one of our over 70 MIC business partners.”
The new MIC program will be chaired by Dr. Belinda Copus, UCM assistant professor and chair for the UCM Department of Computer Science and Cybersecurity.
“The BS Data Science degree was created to address the region’s needs to make vast streams and stores of data sensible and actionable across many domains, public and private,” Copus said. “We will provide the workforce with graduates who have both the theoretical knowledge and the practical skills to better inform decisions, make new discoveries and increase data’s value. I can think of no better partner than the MIC program to enable accelerated delivery of formal classroom instruction coupled with hands-on, real-world learning opportunities. We look forward to bringing this innovative delivery of our program to fruition.”
Since the Missouri Innovation Campus program began in 2012, the goal of this one-of-a-kind initiative has been to keep information technology and engineering talent within the Kansas City area, decrease the cost of a college degree, reduce the time it takes to earn a bachelor’s degree, eliminate the skills gap and provide a real-world learning experience through three-year, paid internships.
Currently, 90 percent of the MIC program graduates go to work for the company they interned with, keeping workforce talent in the region, Elliott said.
“The first MIC program cohort that can take advantage of the new Data Science degree program will be the 2024-28 cohort that will start after their sophomore year in high school and will graduate in May 2028 from UCM – only two years after graduating from high school,” he added. “And since they receive their first two years of college tuition free, our students graduate with little to no debt.”
Students enter the MIC program the summer before their junior year in high school when they begin attending Lee’s Summit R-7’s Summit Technology Academy. The students take college-level classes from UCM and Metropolitan Community College alongside their high-school courses. This places the MIC students on an accelerated pathway to complete their UCM bachelor’s degree just two years after high-school graduation. The program has received national recognition for reshaping the path to a college degree.
In addition to the Bachelor of Science in Data Science, the Missouri Innovation Campus program includes pathways to BS degrees in Drafting and Design Technology, Computer Science, Cybersecurity, Software Engineering, Business Administration in Big Data/Business Analytics and Business Administration in Computer Science Information Systems.
For more information, visit the MIC program webpage.
(Published Sept. 27, 2023)
Looking for a new job or interested in scaling up your skills to launch a new career? Register today to attend the University of Central Missouri’s Fall 2023 Job Fair and Career Expo, scheduled from 4 to 8 p.m. Oct. 5 at UCM’s Missouri Innovation Campus in Lee’s Summit.
Participants will have the opportunity to meet with representatives from leading businesses currently recruiting employees. Workforce experts will also be available to discuss UCM’s affordable certificate programs designed to help adult learners gain the skills they need to begin a new job or advance in their career.
Representatives from community organizations will also be on-site at the Job Fair and Career Expo to assist individuals looking to qualify for debt-free scholarships for certificate programs.
In addition, those attending the Job Fair and Career Expo are eligible to sign up for drawings for prizes.
UCM’s industry-recognized certificate programs are a perfect fit for busy adults with courses offered in-person, online and hybrid. Many courses are held on weeknights and weekends with programs in high-demand areas such as information technology, healthcare, business and manufacturing/warehouse.
To learn more or to register for the Oct. 5 Job Fair and Career Expo, visit this webpage. If your business is interested in recruiting employees at the event, please select here.
(Published Sept. 7, 2023)
Since its launch over a decade ago, the Missouri Innovation Campus program has been recognized for successfully connecting businesses to a trained workforce. To make sure coursework aligns with workplace needs, MIC program instructors collaborate with business partners on a regular basis to develop and review competencies for each degree program.
“As the MIC program has grown from one program and three business partners in 2012 to six programs and over 70 business partners currently, the competencies are reviewed in each program bi-annually to keep them at industry standard,” said Stan Elliott, MIC program director.
The business partners work closely with instructors from the program’s three educational partners – the University of Central Missouri, Lee’s Summit R-7 School District’s Summit Technology Academy and Metropolitan Community College – to designate existing competencies as essential, desired or non-applicable. Through this process, course competencies are added where skills gaps are identified by the review team with obsolete competencies deleted, Elliott added.
“This bi-annual review is essential in supporting our MIC program interns as they begin their three-year, year-round, paid internships the summer after their junior year of high school, so they have the most current industry standard instruction over the four years of the program,” he said.
Both the business partners and the students benefit from the thorough competency evaluations.
During June, educators and business representatives joined forces to review the following programs – Software Development, Software Engineering and Cybersecurity. The team’s updated competencies are provided to all business partners hiring MIC interns as well as Summit Technology Academy, Metropolitan Community College and University of Central Missouri instructors in these areas.
“Keeping the MIC program responsive to the needs of our MIC business partners is essential in growing the program and providing companies in the Kansas City region with a highly skilled intern talent pool in the IT and engineering space,” Elliott said.
Students enrolled in the MIC program have 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. A vital component of the successful program is its paid internships with students applying what they are learning in the classroom while working as valued team members at the companies.
Through the internships, each business creates relevant, real-life job experiences over each student’s three-year placement. Among the program’s graduates, 91 percent traditionally accept a position with the company where they interned with close to 99 percent accepting a job with a MIC program partner.
MIC program participants begin this accelerated bachelor’s degree program as high-school juniors at the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District’s Summit Technology Academy where they are enrolled in one of these capstone courses – Big Data and Business Analytics, Cybersecurity, Digital Electronics/Engineering Technology/Design and Drafting, Software Development/Computer Science, Software Engineering and Computer Information Systems.
For more information about the Missouri Innovation Campus program, visit this webpage.
(Published July 11, 2023)
Ainsley Lewis, a May 2023 graduate of the University of Central Missouri, recommends UCM’s Missouri Innovation Campus (MIC) program based on the unique opportunities it provides to participants including an accelerated bachelor’s degree.
“I liked how fast paced the program was,” said Lewis, who has a bachelor’s degree in drafting and design technology. “I only had to take two more years of schooling after high school, plus with the added internship I already had accepted my full time offer for when I would graduate the year prior.”
A 2021 Center High School graduate, Lewis served as a MIC program intern at Black and Veatch from summer 2020 through spring 2023.
“During my internship I was a power engineering technician working on substation design and drafting,” she shared. “When I transition into full time I will be going into a civil engineering tech role working on solar fields.”
The MIC program has been recognized at the regional and national level for reshaping the way students experience education and innovation. A partnership between UCM, the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, Metropolitan Community College and close to 70 leading businesses, the MIC program provides motivated students with career-ready skills while connecting businesses to a highly trained workforce.
“I would totally recommend the MIC program to people who want the fast-paced college experience but also those who would be ready to be in the professional field,” Lewis added.
(Published June 26, 2023)
A nationally recognized partnership designed to provide quality training for high-demand CNA (certified nursing assistant) positions is now in its fifth year at University Health Lakewood Medical Center. Developed by the University of Central Missouri and University Health, the learn-as-you-earn program offers debt-free scholarships to qualifying adult learners as well as both salary and benefits during the training period.
Through this homegrown education opportunity, CNAs complete a rigorous curriculum in a supportive environment while also gaining real-life experiences during supervised clinicals at University Health. A total of 26 current employees at the medical center have earned their CNA certificate from the University of Central Missouri (UCM) since the partnership launched in 2019.
“The current competition for and retention of CNAs is extremely challenging,” said Lynette M. Wheeler, DNP, RN, LNHA, FABC and chief operating officer at University Health. “The supply and demand for CNAs is high. Agencies are hiring CNAs at very high rates that we cannot compete with. We feel fortunate if we can keep a new CNA for one year!”
Thanks to scholarships through the Full Employment Council, qualifying CNA certificate students are able to complete the program without paying tuition or taking on educational debt. University Health also pays tuition for some adult learners.
Throughout the CNA training, University Health provides students with a benefits-eligible job. Each successful CNA graduate is also offered a job at University Health, Wheeler added, with the partnership delivering well-trained candidates who already understand the workplace and its requirements.
“Students who complete the training can enter full time positions prepared to do the job immediately, and know the environment they will work in,” she said. “We reduce recruitment time and expenses, and know exactly what level of training has been accomplished.”
Kimiko Fowlkes, director of nursing at University Health’s Lakewood Care Center, said she appreciates being involved in the partnership and helping teach the next generation of healthcare workers.
“I love our nursing assistant program,” Fowlkes added. “It allows Long Term Care to grow our own CNAs and instill University Health’s values into students during those first steps of learning. The students form relationships with the staff and residents from day one and by the time they receive their certification, they are ready to transition into their full-time and part-time position with University Health.”
In 2022, UCM’s Center for Workforce and Professional Education captured national recognition for this learn-as-you-earn CNA partnership, which involves several healthcare facilities and funding organizations. The CNA program received an Outstanding Program Award from the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA).
Individuals interested in enrolling in the CNA or other UCM certificate programs may visit the UCM Center for Workforce and Professional Education webpage or contact Dir at email@example.com. The CNA program can be completed in a few months.
(Published June 26, 2023)
Missouri Innovation Campus (MIC) program 2022 cohort students were recently paired with industry-leading companies through the nationally recognized program’s unique internship program. The high-school juniors will participate in valuable three-year, paid internships with their assigned businesses.
Companies recently matched with interns, along with the students’ MIC degree program, include SS&C (Software Development), Olsson Engineering (Design and Drafting), eHawk (Software Development), Black & Veatch (Design and Drafting), McKesson (Software Development and Cybersecurity), UMB (Big Data and Software Development, Lead Bank (Big Data), Community America (Big Data), Tyler Technologies (Software Development), Burns & McDonnell (Design and Drafting) and Cyderes (Cybersecurity).
The MIC program, which began in 2012, is a partnership involving the University of Central Missouri, Metropolitan Community College, the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District and metro-area businesses.
Students enrolled in the MIC program have 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. A vital component of the successful program is its three-year paid internships, 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 accelerated 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 – Big Data and Business Analytics, Cybersecurity, Digital Electronics/Engineering Technology/Design and Drafting, Software Development/Computer Science, Software Engineering and Computer Information Systems.
Preparing for the three-year internships starts several months before the students are placed with each company. Beginning in fall 2022, students begin participating in resume writing and interviewing skills workshops, mock interviews and a job readiness/soft skills workshop. In addition, the students’ families participate in a parent informational meeting about the internships.
MIC program students begin their internships in June with each business creating relevant, real-life job experiences over the three-year placement. Among the program’s graduates, 91 percent traditionally accept a position with the company where they interned with close to 99 percent accepting a job with a MIC program partner.
For more information about the Missouri Innovation Campus program, visit this webpage.
In the photo, Missouri Innovation Campus program high-school juniors recently learned their placements for three-year, paid internships beginning in June. Students in the morning session are in the top photo with students in the afternoon session in the lower photo.
(Published April 24, 2023)
Adora Mullendore, a University of Central Missouri social work major, is looking forward to receiving her bachelor’s degree in May and continuing a successful career.
“I chose to enroll in UCM because they offered a great social work program and had night classes right down the road from my house,” said the Lee’s Summit resident.
UCM’s bachelor’s degree in social work is offered at both the Warrensburg and Lee’s Summit campuses.
During her years at UCM, Mullendore said she has appreciated her professors and the opportunity to become involved in professional activities.
“My experiences at UCM have been amazing,” she said. “The mentorship I have received from all my instructors throughout the social work program, especially Dr. (Ashley) Gage, has helped me realize my potential as a young professional, and I would not have had the courage to pursue a professional job if it weren’t for UCM.”
Through UCM, Mullendore also joined the National Society for Leadership and Success, which helped her realize her interest in other professional activities.
“I am now actively involved in the Independence Chamber of Commerce and have been approached by an elected official with Jackson County Extension to assist with community development program implementation,” she added.
Mullendore has been employed as a workforce specialist for the Community Services League for around a year. She meets with low-income individuals to determine if they qualify for CSL’s short-term workforce training program.
“I help support them until class completion,” she said. “I work closely with many educational sites (including UCM) and act as the student advocate for those selected to go through the program. I am big on strengths-based empowerment coaching and trauma informed care.”
(Published Feb. 17, 2023)
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)
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.
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.”
(Published Oct. 18, 2022)
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.
(Published Sept. 22, 2022)
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.”
(Published July 19, 2022)
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)
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.
(Published June 13, 2022)
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.
(Published May 26, 2022)
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.
(Published May 26, 2022)
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.
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)
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.
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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call 660-543-4464 if you have additional questions or to request access to the base.
(Published Jan. 21, 2022)
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.
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)
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.”
(Published Dec. 14, 2021)
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.”
(Published Oct. 25, 2021)
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 email@example.com.
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)
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.
(Published Aug. 9, 2021)
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).
“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, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Mullins, email@example.com.
(Published July 14, 2021 - Photo courtesy of Lee's Summit R-7 School District)
Clarissa Kirk, a recent graduate of UCM’s Certified Nursing Assistant program, is featured 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.
(Published June 28, 2021)
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)
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)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or Dr. Laurel Hogue at email@example.com.
(Published Jan. 12, 2021)
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)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or (816) 441-2861. For information about partnering with Velocity Lee’s Summit to access the Mixed Reality Studio, contact Ashley Smithson, email@example.com. 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)
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or (816) 441-2861. You can also read more about the studio by selecting this link.
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.
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.