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Missouri Innovation Campus Program Prepares Students to Thrive in Today’s Work Environment by Engaging Business Partners

By Janice Phelan, July 10, 2023

The Missouri Innovation Campus building in Lee's Summit is home for a program that enables educators and business representatives to work together in a program that delivers courses that  are designed to meet workplace needs and internships that begin while students are still in high school.

LEE'S SUMMIT, MO --  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.



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