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 State University, which is a partner in a $1 million Innovation Campus Grant to help prepare students for careers in the growing health care industry.
"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."
Beginning this fall, high school students who want a career in the health care industry will enroll through Ozarks Technical Community College's Middle College program in the Innovation Campus - Health Professions Academy. The Academy is a cooperative partnership between Missouri State University, Greene County, Ozarks Technical Community College, Springfield Public Schools, CoxHealth and Mercy Health Systems.
Participating students 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 health care 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.
"We are excited about the Health Professions Academy and its potential," said Missouri State Interim President Clif Smart. "We very much appreciate Gov. Nixon initiating the Innovation Campus Grant Program and we are pleased that this proposal was funded. We are confident it will help the Springfield hospitals and medical community to meet the growing demand and, therefore, prove beneficial for the entire region. Most of all, we believe this collaborative partnership program will be of great value to the students interested in pursuing health professions."
"This collaborative effort is yet another example of area organizations working together to improve our community," said Ozarks Technical Community College President Hal Higdon. "The funding from this grant will make it possible for more young people to get an education and begin a career. The students will benefit from the opportunity, and the community will benefit from having more qualified health care professionals in the workforce."
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:
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.
St. Joseph Metro Chamber of Commerce - $1 million
Using high-impact apprenticeships and mentoring programs, regional high-demand business and industries will train employees and potential employees with the goal of enhancing their ability to contribute to the businesses and the economy. Participants will include adults and high school students in relevant educational tracks. Financial aid of up to $7,500 will be provided to selected participants, with some participants pursuing relevant associate's degrees, and the majority completing bachelor's degrees. In addition to the Chamber, partners include Missouri Western State University, the St. Joseph School District, and Metropolitan Community College.
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.