Mid-Missouri schools launching ‘Innovation Campus’

With help from a $1 million state grant, Linn State Technical College and Lincoln University are working with three area high schools to improve information technology training.

Their work is part of the “Central Missouri Innovation Campus,” or CMIC — part of a total of $9 million in grants that Gov. Jay Nixon announced last year.

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, Nixon said when he announced the Mid-Missouri grant last Aug. 1.

Jefferson City, Helias Catholic and Fatima high schools are involved in the program which, sponsors said, is designed to direct high school students toward courses and programs specifically designed to prepare them for careers in information technology, and to reduce the time needed to earn their degrees.

The program gives those students increased opportunities for dual-credit courses at either Lincoln or Linn Tech, letting the high school students earn college credit hours.

They also will receive additional, intensive advising from guidance counselors, college academic advisers, and mentors from the partner corporations.

The Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce helped write the grant request and is an active partner in its implementation.

The grant announcement came shortly before Carolyn Mahoney retired as LU president.

At the time, she said: “We are delighted with the partnership we have formed in central Missouri to support the activities of this important economic development initiative.

“The involvement of the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce, several local high schools, Linn State, and 14 area businesses is as significant as it is necessary.”

For their part, Lincoln University and Linn State Technical College collaborated and revised curriculum to allow students with a two-year computer programming degree from Linn Tech to transfer, seamlessly, to finish a four-year college degree at Lincoln University, under terms of a signed agreement between the schools.

“This articulation agreement helps graduates who enter the workforce with the skills set and technical degree (that) local business partners and the economy need,” said Scott Peters, Linn State’s executive director of Development.

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