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Northland CAPS honored with grant, Innovation Campus designation

The Center for Advanced Professional Studies at six Northland Kansas City school districts was recently named a state Innovation Campus and was presented a grant for $450,000 by Governor Nixon.

The CAPS program links the school districts with Metropolitan Community College – Kansas City, Northwest Missouri State University and more than 100 area businesses. Students from Park Hill, Platte County, North Kansas City, Liberty, Smithville and Kearney high schools can leave school with an associate’s degree from Metropolitan Community College, which can then be applied toward a bachelor’s degree at Northwest Missouri State or another four-year college.

The Innovation Campus idea originated in 2012 at the University of Central Missouri at the school’s Summit Technology campus in Lee’s Summit. Similar efforts are being developed at ten other locations across the state.

Both CAPS and Innovation Campuses are designed to develop a skilled workforce for Missouri business, while awarding post-secondary credit to students who participate. As Laura Evans, a senior director in charge of human capital strategy and talent development at AIM Circle of Elite Organizations member Cerner Corp. told the Kansas City Star, the partnership and Innovation Campuses “take us a critical step closer to closing the loop between those who prepare our future workforce and those who hire them.”

During the last session of the state legislature, State Representatives T.J. Berry (R-Kearney) and Jeanie Lauer (R-Blue Springs) sponsored bills that established tax credits for individuals and businesses that donated money to Innovation Campuses around the state. Associated Industries of Missouri was the sole organization that came out strongly in favor of the tax credit legislation and AIM president Ray McCarty testified in favor of the bills during hearings at the State Capitol. Eventually, the legislation sponsored by Rep. Lauer (HB1459) made its way through the legislative process to become law.

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