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True workforce development starts early. On graduation day, those students who have had the chance to explore career options as high school juniors and seniors are more likely to succeed as they embark on next steps.
Launched just this year, GO CAPS (Greater Ozarks Centers for Advanced Professional Studies) gives students the chance to develop real world professional skills as they are embedded in partner businesses for a yearlong experience. Twelve school districts, including Springfield Public Schools, are part of the program. The Chamber manages GO CAPS.
This school year, students could choose one of three areas: Engineering and Manufacturing, Entrepreneurship and Medicine and Health Care. A fourth strand, Technology Solutions, has been added for the 2016-17 school year. Students can earn dual credit through Missouri State University and Ozarks Technical Community College.
Participation from business is a critical component. Three partners stepped forward in a big way: CoxHealth, Springfield Remanufacturing Corporation and The e-Factory opened their work space to GO CAPS and help provide instruction. Students report to one of those sites for either a morning or afternoon session.
But many other business and professional organizations contribute to the program. Real world projects are key. For example, engineering students conducted a traffic assessment for Springfield-Branson National Airport. Health care students helped design new technologies to reduce hospital readmission rates. Entrepreneurship students rebranded a digital marketing company to simplify its selling message.
Businesses also have stepped up to offer job shadowing, workplace tours and guest speakers. Find out how your company can become involved. Visit the GO CAPS website.