As the spring semester winds into gear, the Greater Ozarks Centers for Advanced Professional Studies, also known as GO CAPS, is offering open houses for prospective students for the 2016-17 school year. GO CAPS is a program run by the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce through its workforce development efforts.
The idea behind this program is for students to receive hands-on training for careers in the professional world. The open houses are just the first step. Once a student is enrolled in a class, it’s an entirely different experience than what they’re used to.
Karen Kunkel, an administrative assistant for the chamber, says “We’re not a traditional classroom driven by traditional curriculum. Our curriculum is actually devised by our business partners, and our teachers meet with them periodically to determine industry trends.”
There are twelve school districts affiliated with GO CAPS in order for juniors and seniors to receive college credit from Missouri State University or Ozarks Technical College. Kunkel says that as of last year, they had 105 students enrolled in the program, and they’re hoping with these open houses that the number is only going to increase. She has also found that while high school students may have entered the program thinking of one career path, this program helped them to see what they were truly passionate about.
“We’ve had a lot of student coming in thinking where they wanted to go with their future employment. This has been an opportunity to cement the direction they’re going in…in some cases, students have stepped back and said ‘You know what, this is not really the direction I want to go in, let me pursue something else,’ and this has given them the opportunity to do that.”
Students have the opportunity to explore certain career paths, specifically Medicine and Health Care, Engineering and Manufacturing and Technology Solutions, and Entrepreneurship. These open houses will provide a brief overview of the course, along with the chance for parents and students to chat with instructors, current students, and GO CAPS staff.
According to Kunkel, the GO CAPS program is beneficial for many high school students to prepare for the real world, mainly because this program focuses on “career exploration” and “professional skills.”
Not only will students have some experience in a field, but as Kunkel says they will learn “how to introduce themselves, explain their interests, give a little history about what they’re doing, what they want to do in the future, creating a resume, eye contact, do presentations, interact with adults, a lot of things that in a traditional high school setting they would not be able to do.”
The Medicine and Health Care open house will be January 25, 6 p.m., at Cox North Hospital in Room L141. The Engineering and Manufacturing and Technology Solutions open house will be January 26, 6 p.m. at Springfield Remanufacturing Corporation. Finally, the Entrepreneurship open house will be January 28, 6 p.m. at The eFactory in Room 1023.
Applications for the GO CAPS program can be found at www.springfielchamber.com/gocaps, and are due by February 29th.