More than 100 people, including Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, were on hand Thursday afternoon for a special groundbreaking ceremony kicking off construction of the new 140,000 square-foot Missouri Innovation Campus. The Missouri Innovation Campus, is a collaborative effort between the University of Central Missouri, the Lee's Summit R-7 School District, Metropolitan Community College, Summit Technology Academy and more than 40 local and regional business partners.
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This education program has been touted as boon for both education and regional economies where Missouri Innovation Campuses are located. Lee's Summit's campus was the first of its kind and was launched in 2012 as a way for Missouri students earn affordable degrees in high-demand career fields. Utilizing a program designed to give students dual credit and strategic impact, students (who enroll after their sophomore year of high school) position themselves to graduate with their Associate of Applied Science degree when they graduate from high school, or shortly thereafter. They then complete their Bachelor Science degree at UCM two years later, meaning they obtain a four-year college degree in two years.
In 2012, Gov. Nixon launched the Innovation Campus initiative to establish partnerships between local high schools, community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, and area businesses. The Governor’s administration helped establish UCM’s Innovation campus with a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant, and subsequently worked to expand the initiative across the state. Innovation Campus programs are also underway in St. Joseph, Springfield, Jefferson City, St. Charles, Cape Girardeau and Joplin.