University of Central Missouri: To Help Interns Succeed, Missouri Innovation Campus Program Provides Comprehensive Preparation

The Missouri Innovation Campus program, a partnership of the University of Central Missouri (UCM), Metropolitan Community College (MCC), the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District and businesses, is recognized nationally for its focus on student outcomes and workforce needs. A major component of the program’s unique success story is its three-year paid internships where students apply what they are learning in the classroom while working at industry-leading employers.

Students enter the four-year MIC program at the start of their junior year of high school, taking classes at Lee’s Summit R-7’s Summit Technology Academy as well as at MCC and UCM. Through the MIC program, students earn a UCM bachelor’s degree in a high-demand field just two years after high-school graduation with little or no student debt.

The internships, which begin during the summer after the students’ junior year of high school, are designed with an emphasis on creating a real-life job experience for each student.

To help students prepare for these internships, the MIC program offers a number of activities including a resume writing workshop, interviewing skills workshop, parent informational meeting, mock interview sessions and a job readiness/soft skills workshop.

“For the students, the prep gives them a look inside what our business partners are looking for in the various skill sets that they will evaluate their talent pool candidates on during the hiring process,” said Stan Elliott, MIC program director.

Gentry Scavuzzo, UCM’s MIC internship coordinator, works closely with the students as they prepare for their interviews and placements as well as throughout their internships. Clarinda Dir, UCM workforce program manager, leads workshops and reviews each student’s first-draft resume, providing valuable feedback and recommendations.

The interview process is also an important component for the business partners.

“They get an early view of the professionalism of the intern candidate as well as their technical skill set,” Elliott added. “It helps our partners to cut their training time once they onboard a MIC program intern and the rigorous prep that our interns go through thanks to Gentry and Clarinda keeps our intern talent pool at industry standard for employment.”

The internship workshops begin in November with job placements announced during April. By the time the students step into the interview room with the business partners during late February and March, they have spent several months preparing for this important moment. This spring, 23 students are participating in the interviews with internships beginning in June, Scavuzzo said.

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