Cape Girardeau's Career and Technology Center recently received one of nine grants that aims to allow high school students to receive college credit and gain work experience, ideally preparing students even faster for college and the workforce.
The "Innovation Campus" (not to be confused with the Innovation Center at Southeast Missouri State University) grant was for $1 million, paid for by the Missouri Department of Economic Development. Locally, the Cape Girardeau Business Development Foundation, a separate entity with its own board that the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce works with, is administering the grant by collaborating with the CTC, Southeast, Mineral Area College and Three Rivers College.
The first Innovation Campus was developed by the University of Central Missouri. After that, Nixon's administration sought applications to offer more innovation programs that will be funded through community development block grants.
This year, $9 million was paid out to nine institutions, all of which had to apply for the grant.
The grant money will be used to pay the tuition of up to 280 students when new programs roll out, likely in the fall of 2013. The program will allow students to complete most, if not all, general requirements for an associate of applied science degree before they graduate high school; students may be able to attain a licensed practical nurse degree.
If the grant plays out like intended, this program will help motivated students achieve success; this type of education will be a huge academic challenge for teenagers. It will get these achieving students into and out of college faster so they are able to contribute to the workforce in a shorter amount of time, while also not carrying as much student debt.
Government grants and programs are better served when they help those who are motivated by knowledge and success. Here's hoping the Innovation Campus in Cape Girardeau does just that.