Missouri Innovation Campus
District State: Missouri
District Website: http://www.lsr7.org/
Administrators from Lee’s Summit R-7 School District in Missouri were concerned that many students were graduating from high school and college steeped in loan debt and without enough experience to secure a job.
The Missouri Innovation Campus program is a partnership between the district, the University of Central Missouri, Metropolitan Community College and local businesses that reshapes the way students experience high school and college education.
High school juniors and seniors in the program take advanced courses in high-growth areas such as network technology, cybersecurity, digital electronics, engineering and software development. The students are placed in internships at local businesses during the summer after their junior year.
Business partners pay placement fees for each intern to help with college costs. And after high school graduation, the students have earned their associate degree from the community college.
Since its launch in 2012-13, the Missouri Innovation Campus has added a cohort of about 30 students annually, with close to 90 enrolled in the program. The number of business partners employing students has risen from six in 2012 to 40 in 2016.
In May 2016, the first cohort of 11 students graduated with their bachelor’s degrees in systems engineering technology. The majority of these students have received job offers from the company they interned with, or another in the industry.