The Metropolitan Community College system is the oldest system or institution of higher education in Kansas City, Missouri. The system consists of Longview, Maple Woods, Penn Valley, and Blue River community colleges, as well as the Business and Technology Center. These colleges, 30 minutes or less from each other, employ approximately 900 full-time faculty, staff, and administrators, and nearly 600 part-time faculty. The system traces its origin to 1915, when the Kansas City Polytechnic Institute was founded at 11th and Locust Street, by the municipal board of education. The institution became the Junior College of Kansas City, in 1919, and was the first two-year college in the United States to award the associate's degree. In 1964, Belton, Center, Grandview, Hickman Mills, Lee's Summit, North Kansas City, and Raytown joined with the Kansas City School District to form the Metropolitan Community Colleges District. The Business and Technology College, one of the schools in the Metropolitan Community Colleges system, imparts non-credit technical skills program business service and contract training. It plays an important role in economic development for the area and as Kansas City's most important business / industry trainer. MCC's newest addition, Blue River Community College, was founded in August 1997. At present, more than 43,000 students a year attend MCC, which now spreadsacross four counties in the Kansas City metropolitan area: Cass, Clay, Jackson, and Platte. As a comprehensive system, the colleges provide quality, low-cost education and over 70 career or transfer degree programs.