Missouri Innovation Campus Expands to Offer New Program
Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (June 19, 2013) – The Missouri Innovation Campus program continues to expand, offering additional opportunities for Lee's Summit area students interested in earning a college degree within a high-demand field with little or no college debt or expense. The program, located at Summit Technology Academy, is a collaborative effort involving the Lee's Summit R-7 School District, the University of Central Missouri, Metropolitan Community College (MCC) and a number of business partners.
Approximately 12 students have already signed up for the Innovation Campus' new Engineering Technology/CAD (computer-assisted drafting) program, launching in fall 2013. During fall 2012, the first Innovation Campus program – Systems Engineering Technology – began with 19 students enrolled. The second cohort group in the Systems Engineering Technology program will also begin next fall with approximately six students already enrolled.
Each career-oriented course provides students with a rigorous, accelerated program that prepares them for high-demand careers and reduces their higher-education costs to almost nothing.
Through the Innovation Campus, students will complete an associate's degree from Metropolitan Community College by the semester after high-school graduation, earning either a bachelor's degree in Systems Engineering Technology or a bachelor's degree in Engineering Technology/(CAD) from UCM within two years after high-school graduation. Throughout the students' involvement in the four-year process, they are also participating in high-impact internships and on-the-job education thanks to the partnering businesses.
These companies, which include Cerner, DST, Saint Luke's Health Systems, Lee's Summit R-7 School District, Black & Veatch, Burns & McDonnell, Honeywell, KCP&L, the City of Lee's Summit and Grundfos, enter into participation agreements with the Missouri Innovation Campus (MIC). The companies help underwrite the cost of training provided by the Innovation Campus through paid internships for the MIC students. The Innovation Campus has also received state grants totaling $1.5 million to assist with these program costs.
Laura Evans of Cerner said her company is exploring multiple ways to fill current and future needs for technical talent to support Cerner's continued growth. "The MIC approach challenges status quo by developing accelerated methods for students to not only gain a degree but the work experience needed to successfully apply their skills solving real-world problems in a team-based, professional environment," she added.
For the students, the benefits are substantial as they will complete their bachelor's degree just two years after high-school graduation and pay virtually zero for their tuition from MCC and UCM. Through the business internships, it is anticipated that students will have the opportunity to become full-time employees of the partner companies immediately following graduation.
“We are looking forward to our continuing partnership with the Lee’s Summit School District and all of our other Missouri Innovation Campus partners," said Charles Ambrose, president of the University of Central Missouri. "It’s very gratifying to see us move forward with new opportunities to help students graduate on time, with little or no college debt, while meeting critical needs in business and industry for employees who are skilled in technology. We not only want to create a model for innovation campuses, we are making the Missouri Innovation Campus in Lee’s Summit ‘The’ model for all innovation campuses.”
Summit Technology Academy, a Lee's Summit R-7 school, provided a solid foundation for the local Innovation Campus.
"Lee's Summit R-7 is fortunate to have outstanding partners working together to offer such a valuable program to our students and their families," said David McGehee, R-7 superintendent. "An important component in this success is Summit Technology Academy, which is uniquely positioned to serve as the location of our state's first Innovation Campus due to its emphasis on high-tech career training and business partnerships."
Fred Grogan, MCC-Longview president, praised the program and partnerships. "The value of this partnership is that it allows three sectors of education—kindergarten through 12th grade, community college and four-year university—to work together to help students shorten the time to state-of-the-art education and in doing that reduce the cost of higher education," he said. The close working relationship with employers, such as Cerner and DST, enriches the quality of both our programs and the experience of our students."
The Innovation Campus programs as well as Summit Technology Academy are open to qualifying students from Lee's Summit R-7 as well as the 18 area high schools sending students to Summit Tech. The sending high schools pay tuition to the R-7 School District for the MIC courses as well as other high-tech programs offered at the school.
For more information about the MIC, visit http://sta.leesummit.k12.mo.us/ or http://www.ucmo.edu/about/mic.