Mingling with the President of the United States: Obama visit will highlight MIC partnership

President_Barack_Obama,_2012_portrait_cropMetropolitan Community College will have a seat at the virtual table this week when President Barack Obama visits the University of Central Missouri on Wednesday to tout a program that MCC helped develop with UCM and the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District.

The Missouri Innovation Campus is an accelerated college curriculum program initiated by UCM and developed in partnership with MCC, the R-7 School District and several industry-leading business partners from across Greater Kansas City. President Obama is expected to highlight the Innovation Campus as an example of effective, innovative business/higher education partnerships that are preparing students for in-demand jobs without sending them into a tailspin of debt.

MCC Chancellor Mark James and other college admininistrators and faculty members involved in the development of the Innovation Campus program will participate in Wednesday’s event. James will join other representatives of the partnership for a private meet-and-greet with President Obama before the president’s public speech, which is expected to begin around 4 p.m.

So what exactly is the Missouri Innovation Campus? Well, here’s the gist:

  • WHAT: The Missouri Innovation Campus is an accelerated college curriculum program for high-achieving high school students looking to pursue careers in IT and who want to considerably reduce their higher education costs.
  • WHO (is participating): The Innovation Campus program is open to students from the 19 school districts served by R-7 School District’s Summit Technology Academy. Students currently enrolled come from all three Lee’s Summit R-7 high schools and schools in seven other districts.
  • WHO (is running it): The Innovation Campus is a partnership between Metropolitan Community College, the University of Central Missouri, the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District and these employer partners: 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.
  • HOW: The Innovation Campus model is as follows: beginning in the junior year of high school, a student takes college-level classes through MCC at Summit Technology Academy and works an internship at one of the partner companies. The summer after graduating high school, the student graduates with an MCC associate’s degree and then continues on at UCM to work towards a bachelor’s degree, which the student can earn in just two additional years.
  • COST: Students in the first (current) Innovation Campus cohort group will not pay anything for the program, thanks to a commitment from Gov. Nixon to cover the full cost for the initial group. Students participating in future years will pay a nominal amount.
  • TIMELINE: The program began in August 2012 and the first group of students will graduate high school in May 2014, then earn their associate’s degree in August 2014, then earn their bachelor’s degree in the spring of 2016.
  • DEGREES: The degrees offered include: associate in applied science, systems administration and engineering emphasis (MCC); bachelor of science, systems engineering technology (UCM); bachelor of science, engineering technology/design and drafting (UCM).

The Missouri Innovation Campus is just one of five early-college innovation programs offered by Metropolitan Community College. The others, which are each housed on an MCC campus, are: the Trailblazer Collegiate Academy at MCC-Blue River, Early College at MCC-Business & Technology, the Early College Academy at MCC-Penn Valley and the Monarchs Collegiate Academy at MCC-Maple Woods.