Obama to highlight college program in Warrensburg - KCTV5

Obama to highlight college program in Warrensburg

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University of Central Missouri - the site of President Obama's speech. University of Central Missouri - the site of President Obama's speech.
Ticket holders for President Barack Obama's speech line up early for good seat.  (Betsy Webster/KCTV5) Ticket holders for President Barack Obama's speech line up early for good seat. (Betsy Webster/KCTV5)

President Barack Obama will make his way into Warrensburg on Wednesday. He's expected to talk about the economy and measures he said will step up the recovery.

Obama will deliver his speech at the University of Central Missouri.

The university stood out because of its Innovation Campus. It's a new program that connects students with opportunities that allow them to be more competitive once they enter the job force. For example, it gets them paid internships in high-tech fields at companies like Cerner and HoneyWell.

Educators say reshaping education could be the key to rebuilding the economy.

The University of Central Missouri is putting its best face forward while awaiting the president, showing it's capable of growth.

"There's a really specific reason why he's coming to the University of Central Missouri," said UCM President Dr. Chuck Ambrose.

The reason is Missouri Innovation Campus, or MIC. Obama will talk to a full crowd there about new ways to boost the economy, starting with education.

"It's a great platform for him to paint the picture of what the future can look like as we reshape education here in Missouri," Ambrose said.

MIC is a collaboration between UCM, the Lee's Summit School District, Metropolitan Community College and numerous business partners.

Students in the program graduate with a bachelor's degree in two years.

"It cuts the time in college in half," Ambrose said.

By the time students graduate, they are workplace-ready. The program gives students on-the-job experience through internships in high-tech and high-paying industries.

"And these are emerging fields. It's information technology, applied engineering, healthcare. It's the high-demand, high-skill types of jobs that obviously the president is going to come here and say are required to move the economy forward," Ambrose said.

The internships are paid, so the students graduate with less debt, which is one of the university's biggest goals.

"We don't have a choice, because college is an expensive investment. Parents and students are sacrificing a lot of energy and financial resources to pay for college. If that degree does not put you, as a college graduate, into a position of being competitive, the drain on the economy will be substantial," Ambrose said.

The hope is that by reshaping education, we will see a growth in the economy.

About 2,500 people will pack into the Student Recreation Center on campus. It's standing room only, and the tickets to see Obama speak in person have all been given out. But there will be two rooms in the Elliot Union live streaming the speech to anyone else who wants to watch.

KCTV5 will also livestream the president's arrival, speech and departure on KCTV5.com.

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