A program located within the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District is providing local high-school students with relevant, on-the-job experience thanks to a collaborative effort involving the school district, the University of Central Missouri, Metropolitan Community College and a growing number of industry-leading business partners.
Known as the Missouri Innovation Campus, the program is gaining regional and national recognition for offering accelerated training for high-demand college degrees at virtually no cost to participating students. A total of 17 students are currently completing their summer internships in the Systems Engineering Technology program, now in its second year. An additional five students are enrolled in the second cohort of the Systems Engineering Technology degree and are taking college coursework this summer. The newest program, known as Engineering Technology/Design and Drafting CADD, has 10 students enrolled.
Engineering Technology/Design and Drafting courses begin officially this summer and are available through the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District’s Summit Technology Academy. The summer interns in this class will be the first cohort to begin the new four-year program.
Students begin the MIC as high-school juniors. The first course offered through the Innovation Campus, Systems Engineering Technology, began in fall 2012 with a second cohort beginning this program in fall 2013. Both Systems Engineering Technology and Engineering Technology/Design and Drafting provide students with the opportunity to earn a high-tech bachelor’s degree just two years after graduating from high school.
Each career-oriented course challenges students with a rigorous curriculum that prepares them for high-demand careers and reduces their higher-education costs to almost nothing.
The opportunity to gain a college education at virtually no cost appealed to Brian Green, a Lee’s Summit North High School senior enrolled in Systems Engineering Technology. Brian, who serves as an intern at Cerner this summer, said, “This has given me an opportunity to get my foot in the door in the IT field. It has been a great learning experience to be at Cerner, especially working on research and problem-solving as part of a development team.”
Matthew Orson, a Lee’s Summit West High School senior also in Systems Engineering Technology, added that students enrolled in the program “must be prepared to work hard to succeed” and that “time management is very important.”
Through the Missouri Innovation Campus, students greatly reduce time spent earning their college degrees. They 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/Design and Drafting from UCM within two years after high-school graduation. Throughout the students’ involvement in the four-year process, they participate 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 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.
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 19 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/abo