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The Center for Advanced Professional Studies, better known as CAPS.

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Forget about traditional classrooms, now is the time to join the movement of 21st-century education. CAPS programs are nationally recognized innovative high school programs. Students fast forward into their future and are fully immersed in a professional culture, solving real-world problems, using industry standard tools and mentored by actual employers, all while receiving high school and college credit. CAPS is an example of how business, community and public education can partner to produce personalized learning experiences that educate the workforce of tomorrow, especially in high skill, high demand jobs.

After more than a year of coordination between the five public school districts in St. Charles County, local superintendents and CAPS officials met with St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann to discuss this new initiative and how it will impact students and businesses.

Initial career tracks include Healthcare, Technology Solutions (IT and Creative Media) and Global Business/Entrepreneurship.

Nearly 150 high school students are enrolled in the new CAPS program.

“The public schools in St. Charles County are already among the best in Missouri,” Ehlmann said. “The new CAPS program is an excellent addition to the local curriculum that will help better prepare students for their future careers and help build new connections between our schools and growing businesses that are looking for their future workforce.”

Businesses currently participating in the CAPS Consortium include BJC HealthCare, Charter/Spectrum, EDC Business & Community Partners, SSM Health, Stauder Technologies and Vatterott College.

Ehlmann congratulated the superintendents and boards of Fort Zumwalt, Francis Howell, Orchard Farm, St. Charles and Wentzville school districts.

“As a former educator, I know the importance of getting students excited and engaged in what they are learning,” he said. “The efforts of everyone involved in establishing the new CAPS Consortium in St. Charles County are to be congratulated.”

Ehlmann and educators also talked about ways to provide mentorships, career shadowing and summer internships so even more students can gain “real world” business experience prior to high school graduation.

“It will benefit everyone if we can get more business leaders and employers to partner with our schools on initiatives like CAPS, STEM, career shadowing and internships,” Ehlmann said. “It is up to all of us working together in the community to help prepare the workforce of tomorrow that we need and want in St. Charles County.”

For more information about the new St. Charles County CAPS Consortium, contact CAPS director Nicole Whitesell at 636-443-4077 or visit scccaps.org.

For more information about the local economy, workforce and business growth assistance, contact the St. Charles County Dept. of Workforce & Business Development at 636-255-6060 or visit sccmo.org/workforce.

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