Gov. Nixon announces nearly $9 million in Missouri Innovation Campus grants to create a pathway for students to careers in high-demand fields

August 1, 2012
Governor makes announcement at Missouri Western State University, which is a partner in a $1 million Innovation Campus grant
St. Joseph, MO

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Gov. Nixon announces nearly $9 million in Missouri Innovation Campus grants

On Aug. 1, 2012, Gov. Jay Nixon announced nearly $9 million in grants to establish Innovation Campuses throughout Missouri. Innovation Campuses will train students for career opportunities in high-demand fields, cut the time it takes to earn a college degree, and reduce student debt. The Governor made the announcement during a visit to Missouri Western State University, which is a partner in a $1 million Innovation Campus Grant to help area residents earn college degrees while receiving real-world training opportunities at area businesses.

Read the press release.

Gov. Nixon announces $9 million for Innovation Campus Program

Gov. Jay Nixon today announced nearly $9 million in grants to establish Innovation Campuses throughout Missouri. Innovation Campuses will train students for career opportunities in high-demand fields, cut the time it takes to earn a college degree, and reduce student debt. The Governor made the announcement during a visit to Missouri Western State University, which is a partner in a $1 million Innovation Campus Grant to help area residents earn college degrees while receiving real-world training opportunities at area businesses.

"Innovation Campuses create a direct connection for Missouri students between the skills they learn in the classroom, and the skills that are in demand today," Gov. Nixon said. "Not only will students be trained for solid careers in growing industries, they'll be able to earn those degrees in less time with lower debt as a result."

Gov. Jay Nixon announces nearly $9 million in grants to establish Innovation Campuses throughout Missouri during a visit to Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph. Innovation Campuses will train students for career opportunities in high-demand fields, cut the time it takes to earn a college degree, and reduce student debt.

Beginning this fall, the MWSU Innovation Campus program will enroll adults and high school students in relevant educational tracks, with financial aid of up to $7,500 for these students to pursue college degrees. Partners in this project with Missouri Western include the St. Joseph School District, Metropolitan Community College, the St. Joseph Metro Chamber of Commerce and area businesses. As their in-kind donation to the initiative, the partnering businesses will provide substantial and targeted on-site training and mentoring for participants.

Through the Innovation Campus, high school students will be directed toward courses and programs specifically designed to prepare them for careers in science and technology and to reduce the time needed to earn their degrees.

Through increased opportunities for dual-credit courses at Missouri Western or Metropolitan Community College, and through other programs such as Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate, Innovation Campus students will have the opportunity to earn 30 college credit hours or more while still in high school. 

Employees recommended by area businesses will also participate in the program, obtaining scholarships to begin or complete a baccalaureate degree, while receiving on-site training and mentoring beyond what would otherwise occur within the company. Participants may receive college credit for these applied learning experiences.

"The Innovation Campus project reflects Missouri Western's commitment to increasing the number of college graduates in the region and to providing students with real-world applied learning opportunities," said Dr. Robert Vartabedian, Missouri Western's president. "We will work closely with our partners to help participants obtain college degrees in disciplines that align with job openings and career opportunities in high-demand fields, including the human health and animal health industries."

To participate in the program, the corporate partners commit to creating or retraining a specified number of jobs.  Innovation Campus students would be highly trained candidates for these new positions once they have completed their degrees and the apprenticeship training.

Additional Innovation Campuses announced today by Gov. Nixon include:

Greene County - $1 million

Innovation Campus - Health Professions Academy is a cooperative partnership between Greene County, Ozarks Technical Community College, Missouri State University, Springfield Public Schools, CoxHealth, and Mercy Health Systems. High-achieving students seeking a career in healthcare will be able to begin college coursework in an early start program as high school juniors and seniors. They will have the potential to earn a bachelor's degree in a variety of healthcare fields within three to five years after high school graduation. Once students have earned a bachelor's degree, they will be eligible for priority hiring at Mercy and CoxHealth.

Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce

The Central Missouri Innovation Campus (CMIC) program is designed to respond to critical information technology needs in central Missouri. The CMIC has developed a collaboration between area high schools, Linn State Technical College, Lincoln University and local business partners. The program is designed to accelerate degree completion, reduce the cost of education, provide applied learning experiences, graduate students with reduced or no student loan debt and increase employment opportunities. 

Innovate St. Louis - $1 million

The St. Louis Innovation Campus at the University of Missouri-St. Louis will design curricula in partnership with businesses in areas of great demand, such as information technology, biotech, health and financial services. Through an extensive one-on-one advising system, programs will be devised for individuals based on their interests in conjunction with industry needs. Classroom education will be supplemented with internships and apprenticeships offered through business partners. The program will take one year less than the ordinary track, saving time and money while improving the prospects of getting jobs upon graduation.

Economic Development Council of St. Charles County - $1 million

This project is a partnership between the Economic Development Council of St. Charles County, the Sinclair School of Nursing at the University of Missouri, St. Charles Community College and healthcare industry partners in and around St. Charles County. This initiative will provide healthcare industry partners with a skilled workforce to address current and future BSN-educated employment demands. It will also leverage eligible credit for prior learning and on-line teaching and learning methods to allow participants flexibility when completing program requirements within three years or less. 

Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation - $1 million

A public and private collaboration of Joplin-area businesses and industries, the Joplin School District and its Franklin Technology Center, Crowder College, Missouri Southern State University and the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce will develop opportunities for students to select a career path in high school. College level courses will be identified in each of the high school career paths for students to take as dual credit or advanced placement, CLEP tests and credit by examination given during their junior and senior years. The career paths include business/information technology, technical sciences, human services, arts and communication and health sciences. The program also will be open to unemployed and incumbent Missouri workers seeking new opportunities to re-enter the workforce or seek a higher-skilled, higher paying job.

Johnson County Economic Development Corporation - $996,975

Through high school and community college partnerships, the University of Central Missouri Innovation Campus will enable motivated high school participants to graduate early and achieve a bachelor's degree in three years or less. Future program expansion will allow for current workforce professionals to re-train in emerging technologies, and ongoing collaboration with employers with jobs in high-skill, high-demand businesses and industries will facilitate better alignment of workforce needs and employee expertise.

Cape Girardeau Development Foundation - $1 million

The Foundation, in collaboration with the Cape Girardeau Career and Technology Center and Southeast Missouri State University, will provide education and technical skills training through the Innovative Academy. The Innovative Academy will offer career pathways for student trainees to earn college credit and certifications in technical training programs that will prepare them for the region's workforce. The program will focus on healthcare, advanced manufacturing, and agribusiness. 

Missouri Enterprise (Rolla) - $945,000

Missouri University of Science and Technology's Innovation Campus proposal is designed to create a vibrant and skilled workforce in information technology, one of Missouri's targeted growth clusters. This program will focus on two tracks, one in information systems technology, and a second in computer science. Both programs are designed to compress the time to achieve a bachelor of science degree and provide experiential applied learning opportunities with potential employers, as well as lower the cost of degree completion. Other partners include Rolla Public Schools and the Rolla Technical Center.