Local News: GO CAPS Programs Fill Skills Gap in Local Workforce (4/23/22)

Rebecca Merriman spoke to the Monett Kiwanis Club about the Monett GO CAPS (Greater Ozarks Centers for Advanced Professional Studies) program, available as an alternative educational path for students to “test” their future careers. Melonie Roberts/reporter@monett-times.com

Students work alongside professionals to solve real problems

Reading, writing and arithmetic, long-standing education industry standards, are associated with the “daily work” of students attending the school.

However, there is a program offered at the local high school that seeks to inspire students in a different way.

Now in its seventh year, GO CAPS (Grater Ozarks Centers for Advanced Professional Studies) offers students the opportunity to work alongside business professionals to help solve some real-world problems while “testing” their future careers.

Rebecca Merriman, GO CAPS Monett Program Coordinator, spoke to Monett Kiwanis Club members about the programs local students are exploring, including agribusiness and food systems, medicine and health, global trade and entrepreneurship , teacher education and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

The program pairs students with mentors in their chosen career field, where they fully immerse themselves in a professional culture and help solve real-world problems through the use of industry-standard tools. So while students aren’t sitting in a classroom, fiddling with pencils and staring at a whiteboard, they’re still getting in-depth instruction on the “three Rs” of education.

“Students have the opportunity to test their future careers,” Merriman said. “Those who work in agribusiness and food systems actually work at the University of Missouri Southwest Research Farm at Mt. Vernon. They participated in nut research, received an elderberry grant, and met a visiting professor from Africa who was researching ways to alleviate the food shortage. These are all things they were able to participate in that would never have happened in a traditional classroom.

Another example she gave was a high school football player interested in becoming a middle school teacher. After interacting with middle schoolers as part of the Teacher Training component, he opted for the much younger crown of elementary school instead.

Students enrolled in the Global Business and Entrepreneurship stream visited a member of senior management during a visit to the Springfield Cardinals event center, who presented information about a certain section of bleacher seating that was difficult to get to. fill due to direct sunlight exposure. The students accepted the challenge and came up with three proposals to solve the problem, one of which was to remove the seating from this section and install table tops and concessions, creating an open environment for small group socializing. while enjoying the game. The students even provided a breakdown of the estimated cost of the renovations and projected revenue.

Merriman said students participating in the STEM stream would have the opportunity to easily qualify for employment.

“There are a lot of unfilled jobs in this field,” she said. “Students use 3D modeling to present an industry leader’s renovation options, demonstrating workflow and solving space issues.

“The trust our partners place in our students is phenomenal,” Merriman said. “They had an ongoing dialogue throughout the project.”

Monett isn’t the only neighborhood to have the unique program.

“Go CAPS is not fully offered to students heading to college,” she said.

We don’t look at weighted averages. We want the student to be on time, present and dressed in casual attire every day. You dress for the job you want to have. In the classroom, many of these students are not engaged in the learning process. In GO CAPS, they are engaged and happy to be there.

For more information about GO CAPS Monett, visit www.gocapsmonett.yourcapsnetwork.org or call Merriman at 417-489-5233.