By Janice Phelan, September 1, 2023
Blake Sullivan, a Missouri Innovation Campus student, is participating in a paid internship with Lead Bank while attending high school. This will help him to become job ready when he completes his four-year college degree nearly two years earlier than most students his age.
Reshaping the typical college internship has long been an important aspect of the
University of Central Missouri’s nationally recognized Missouri Innovation Campus
program. Strengthening the internship commitment was recommended by the MIC’s business
partners when the program began in 2012 and has continued to be a key advantage for
both students and companies.
Instead of simply hosting a college intern during the summer between students’ junior and senior years, the business partners recommended that internships begin the summer before students’ junior year in high school. Business partners and students also commit to three-year, year-round paid internships.
"Their reasoning for this type of internship was two fold,” said Stan Elliott, MIC program director. “One, it would give them more time to deliver their proprietary competencies so they could eliminate the skills gap and two, there would be more time that they could see if the intern was going to fit into their company culture and to be sure that the intern would want to be hired full time by them.”
Since the program’s launch, keeping IT and engineering talent in the Kansas City region has been paramount, Elliott said.
“Ten years later, there is one telling metric that indicates the program is meeting that goal,” he added, “and that is that 90 percent of our graduates go to work full time for the company they interned with for those three years.”
The Missouri Innovation Campus program is a partnership involving the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, Metropolitan Community College, the University of Central Missouri and around 65 industry-leading business partners.
The MIC program remains a one-of-a-kind opportunity as it combines the enhanced internships with students’ ability to start their bachelor’s degree program the summer after their high-school sophomore year. This allows MIC program students to graduate with a Bachelor of Science just two years after high-school graduation.
“Also, since UCM pays their first two years of college tuition and there are no room and board costs as well as the paid internship, most of our students graduate with little to no debt,’’ Elliott said.
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.
For more information about the MIC program, visit this webpage.