NEWS RELEASE ISSUED BY THE OFFICE OF MISSOURI GOVERNOR JAY NIXON
Joplin Innovation Campus moves forward with new agreement, Gov. Nixon announces
Agreement will give Joplin Innovation Campus students the opportunity to earn an associate degree while in high school
JOPLIN, Mo. – A groundbreaking program to put Missouri students on a fast-track to jobs in high-demand fields, without taking on debt, took a big step forward in Joplin today, Gov. Jay Nixon announced. The Governor joined representatives of the Joplin Innovation Campus, including Missouri Southern State University, Crowder College, Joplin Schools and the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, for the signing of a historic agreement to give students the opportunity to earn an associate degree while in high school.
“Since we launched the Innovation Campus initiative in 2012, it has become a national model for giving students the opportunity to earn more skills, in less time and at a lower cost,” Gov. Nixon said. “By reducing the time and cost needed to earn a degree, the Joplin Innovation Campus is putting students on a fast-track to success in fast-growing fields. This agreement to further strengthen an already robust partnership between Joplin higher education institutions, high schools and businesses will yield significant benefits for students and our economy for many years to come.”
In 2012, Gov. Nixon launched the Innovation Campus initiative and announced $9 million in Innovation Campus grants, including $1 million for the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation, to establish partnerships between local high schools, community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, and area businesses. The goal of the Innovation Campus program is to train students for career opportunities in high-demand fields while cutting the time it takes to earn a college degree and reducing student debt.
The associate degree option for students is the next step in an ongoing collaboration between the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, MSSU, Crowder College, and JHS/FTC. Through the program, the JACC, MSSU, and Crowder College partner with JHS/FTC to offer dual credit courses to students and to help qualifying students pay for these courses through grants. Dual credit courses enable students to earn college credit hours while in high school.
“A skilled and educated workforce is essential to the success of Joplin businesses and the growth of our economy,” said Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce President Rob O’Brien. “That is why we have been proud to partner with MSSU, Crowder College and Joplin Schools to offer students high-impact internships to prepare them to hit the ground running when they enter the workforce. Gov. Nixon’s Innovation Campus initiative is a big win for employers, for students and our economy.”
The associate degree agreements with MSSU and Crowder College will increase the number of dual credit courses offered at JHS/FTC beginning with the 2014/2015 school year. Dual credit courses will be offered in each of the five Career Paths -- Human Services, Business and Information Technology, Arts and Communication, Health Services, and Technical Sciences – giving students in each Career Path the opportunity to earn college credit.
Dozens of JHS/FTC students are already earning college credit hours through grants from the Innovation Campus program, which was implemented at JHS/FTC in the fall of 2013. During the fall semester, 29 students qualified for the program and enrolled in a total of 188 dual credit hours through MSSU.
“This program has already made an impact on students in our school,” said Dr. Kerry Sachetta, JHS principal. “The grants are giving students who have the capability to succeed at college-level work but who may have never considered taking a dual credit course due to the cost the option and inspiring them to view a college degree as achievable. The collaboration between the institutions involved has been outstanding and is helping the program and our students have early successes.”
“Being able to take dual credit in high school has made me more excited to further my education after I graduate,” said Maricela Santillan, JHS junior. “Also, it allows me to take my basic classes now, so I can start classes that pertain to my field of study once I start college.”
Originally developed at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, similar Innovation Campus programs are underway in St. Joseph, Springfield, St. Louis, Jefferson City, St. Charles, Cape Girardeau and Rolla. Gov. Nixon’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget proposal included an additional $1 million to continue supporting Innovation Campus programs throughout the state.
Senate Bill 381, signed into law last year by Gov. Nixon, officially defined in state statute an Innovation Campus as an educational partnership comprised of one or more Missouri public community colleges or Linn State Technical College; one or more Missouri public or private four-year institutions of higher education; one or more Missouri high schools or K-12 education districts; and at least one Missouri-based business.
# # #