By Janice Phelan, April 29, 2019
Youth from Pro Deo share the organization’s motto, “Every teen loved, valued and equipped for change.”
The University of Central Missouri (UCM) and Pro Deo Youth Center are joining forces to assist the center’s teenagers with workforce and college preparation. Thanks to a recently signed memorandum of understanding between the two organizations, Pro Deo youth will receive support from the professionals at UCM Lee’s Summit’s Missouri Innovation Campus.
“Pro Deo is grateful to UCM for the partnership because it solidifies the desire to involve the community in eliminating barriers to access for the underserved population,” said Elaine Metcalf, Pro Deo Youth Center executive director. “Providing young adults with job skills and confidence will empower them as as they navigate getting their first job, going to college or completing an internship. There is power in knowledge of the job prospects or college aspirations of the youth served by Pro Deo.”
UCM’s Missouri Innovation Campus is located in Lee’s Summit, just a few minutes from the Pro Deo Youth Center, making for a convenient partnership.
Through the agreement, UCM staff members will help Pro Deo seniors develop an individualized post-high plan focusing on both higher education and careers. UCM will also provide industry-driven workforce training as well as advisement and education for Pro Deo students, staff and families about college admission, financial aid and enrollment. While working closely with Pro Deo staff and volunteers, UCM employees will develop a college preparation curriculum designed to teach non-academic skills needed for college success.
“This was an opportunity to partner with an outstanding community organization and extend our workforce training to young adults, providing technical and soft skills in several industry sectors,” said Dr. Laurel Hogue, vice provost for Extended Studies at the University of Central Missouri. “The goal is to provide each student with an industry-recognized credential they can take to the workplace or provide college readiness curriculum to set students up for success as they pursue their life goals.”
Formed approximately 10 years ago, Pro Deo Youth Center is a relational organization geared toward empowering teenagers in ninth through 12th grades. At its core, Pro Deo is a people group, a family, a home away from home. The nonprofit provides after-school and Friday evening programming to help teens grow into productive adults in a safe and fun environment. Pro Deo also helps teenagers set goals while providing support and accountability. In addition to serving teenagers, Pro Deo offers assistance to families and community members. The organization’s motto is “Every teen loved, valued and equipped for change.”
The University of Central Missouri has campuses in Warrensburg and Lee’s Summit. UCM offers affordable, flexible, quality educational options including undergraduate and degree completion, graduate degrees, certificate programs, summer camps/workshops, professional development and customized corporate curriculum.