JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri officials announced Wednesday that nearly $9 million worth of grants will help develop so-called "Innovation Campuses" to help students complete their degrees sooner and land jobs in high-need fields.
The projects involve partnerships between colleges and universities, businesses and, frequently, area school districts to help students earn college credits and get work experience. Among the programs that won grant funding is an innovation campus in central Missouri that involves local high schools, Linn State Technical College, Lincoln University and several businesses.
Nixon, who announced that campus' $1 million grant during a news conference at Lincoln University near the state Capitol, said the central Missouri program will focus on information technology. It calls for directing high school students into classes that allow them to earn dual credit at Lincoln University or Linn State Technical College and for providing advisement from guidance counselors, college academic officials and mentors from businesses.
"We will prepare students for the careers of tomorrow, cut the time it takes to earn a degree and reduce the burden of student debt," Nixon said. "That's a win-win for our colleges and universities, a win for Missouri businesses and most importantly, a win for Missouri students."
The first Innovation Campus was developed by the University of Central Missouri and set up in Lee's Summit. After that, Nixon's administration sought applications to offer more innovation programs that will be funded through community development block grants.
In all, Nixon announced grants for nine different projects and traveled to Springfield and St. Joseph to promote the program. Innovation campuses in Greene County, St. Louis, St. Charles County, St. Joseph, Joplin and Cape Girardeau also are getting $1 million grants. A project in Johnson County will receive $996,975 and a campus in Rolla will get $945,000.
Programs will be geared to different fields, including health care, biotechnology and financial services.