Grundfos is collaborating with the University of Central Missouri, Metropolitan Community College and a number of leading Kansas City area businesses to provide high school students in Lee’s Summit, Mo., with accelerated training for high-demand jobs in technology.
Known as the Missouri Innovation Campus, the four-year program gives students the opportunity to earn their bachelor’s degrees just two years after graduating high school.
They begin taking advanced, career-oriented courses as juniors, which allows them to complete an associate’s degree from Metropolitan Community College the semester after they graduate from high school.
Within two years of high school graduation, the students in the program are able to earn a bachelor’s degree in engineering technology or design and drafting from the University of Central Missouri. Throughout the program, participants get on-the-job education through paid internships with business partners like Grundfos.
“The students benefit by gaining real-world experience through internships that build knowledge and critical skills,” said Steve Pierson, business development manager. “The companies benefit from the opportunity to assess the student for permanent employment.
Dr. Stan Elliot, director of the program, said industry participation was absolutely critical to students’ success.
“It is the collaboration between our educational and business partners that makes our program so seamless,” Elliot said. “Together, we are able to produce a highly trained workforce already versed in the key competencies demanded by industry.”
In addition to providing students with a rigorous, career-oriented curriculum, the Missouri Innovation Campus greatly reduces both the time and the money associated with higher education, allowing participants to graduate virtually debt-free.
Providing students with an affordable way to prepare themselves for high-demand careers could play an important role in boosting the U.S. economy, which has lately been a pressing concern for the American public.
Indeed, the economy was the main topic of a speech by President Barack Obama on July 24 that took place at the University of Central Missouri and was attended by students in the Missouri Innovation Campus program.
The president praised the program, saying it was “exactly the kind of innovation we need when it comes to college costs.”
“I want the entire country to notice it, and I want other colleges to take a look at what’s being done here,” said Obama, who also touched upon emphasizing math, science and technology for high school students.
Dennis Wierzbicki, president of Grundfos USA, had the opportunity to attend the president’s speech.
“I wholeheartedly agree that education – especially in math, science and technology –is absolutely critical to producing the innovative talent our nation was once known for,” Wierzbicki said. “I am proud that Grundfos will be an integral part of the Missouri Innovation Campus.”