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The students who participate in the Greater Ozarks Centers for Advanced Professional Studies (GO CAPS) program spend an entire school year immersed in real-life, hands-on job experiences. learning about potential career opportunities and college pathways to reach those careers after their high school years are over.
On April 23 and 24, the students participating in the 2017-2018 program got a chance to show off what they’ve learned and developed – and in the process, they showed the potential benefits of the program for both students and businesses alike.
The annual GO CAPS Capstone Showcase events, held April 23 in Branson for the GO CAPS Branson medical strand and April 24 in Springfield for all the program’s Springfield strands, gave more than 135 high school juniors and seniors from 14 area school districts the chance to present projects and display information about items of interest that they’ve worked on throughout the school year.
The events were split into two sections. First, students had the chance to show off their project displays in an open house format, which was followed by formal presentations from the top projects in each strand.
The sheer numbers are astonishing: more than 100 projects and internships completed, with tens of thousands of hours of contact between students and experienced industry professionals.
The event also showed the breadth and variety of students’ creative brainstorming abilities:
And these are not just experimental exercises for the students; businesses have tasked them with real-world projects that provide professional skills that prepare them for potential college or career opportunities … and often the solutions they create are being put to use in those very same businesses.
“These students have really jumped at the chance to participate in this unique learning experience,” said Lindsay Haymes, GO CAPS executive director and vice president of workforce development for the Chamber. “Their Capstone projects are just one demonstration of how much they’ve embraced the challenge – and how much this program can benefit both the students and the businesses they’re working with.”