Missouri High School Students Connect with Career-Oriented Experiences

Wed 01/14/15 - 16:15

High school juniors and seniors earn class credit and gain first-hand experience working with real businesses through programs such as Pathways for Prosperity and Northland Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS). The State Board heard a report on the programs at its January meeting.

The Northland CAPS program is offered in six Missouri school districts in the Kansas City area. The students spend time assisting and learning in real businesses, gaining skills such as problem solving, time and project management skills, business ethics, and self discipline. Northland CAPS began with 28 students in the 2013-14 school year. Currently, nearly 200 students are participating.

“People ask how CAPS is different from school,” Dr. Bill Nicely, superintendent of Kearney School District, told the State Board. “These kids are solving fundamental, real-world problems, and from that they get value.”

Northland CAPS is designed to provide high school students with the skills needed for postsecondary success. The program was originally formed in partnership with Cerner, Ford, Holland 1916 and North Kansas City Hospital, and now has more than 200 business partners in engineering, technology, medical services and business.

“We are pleased that Kansas City-area businesses are working with schools to give students the experiences they’ll need for successful careers,” said Sharon Helwig, assistant commissioner for the Office of College and Career Readiness. “These sorts of partnerships are vital to our kids’ future and Missouri’s prosperity.”

Pathways to Prosperity is a national education initiative designed to build career pathways for high school students. Missouri is one of nine states chosen by the Harvard Graduate School of Education to participate in the Pathways to Prosperity Network. Pathways has programs in three Missouri areas: St. Louis, Kansas City and Mid-Missouri.

Ensuring that all Missouri students graduate ready for college and career is a primary goal of the state’s Top 10 by 20 initiative, which is aimed at improving Missouri’s student performance to rank among the top 10 states by 2020.