St. Louis Community College’s South County location is a host for the St. Louis Centers for Advanced Professional Studies, or STL CAPS, a multi-district partnership that provides high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to fast-forward into their future.
The program, which includes students from the Affton, Bayless, Rockwood and Mehlville school districts, allows participants to get hands-on, real-world experience in one of four high-demand careers in the St. Louis area: healthcare/bioscience, engineering/manufacturing, technology and business/entrepreneurship. Students also have the opportunity to complete internships and shadows jobs with business partners, all while earning high school and college credit.
Some of those credits are transferrable to St. Louis Community College, should students plan to attend when they graduate from school and the program. More than 90 percent of program graduates go on to pursue a college degree.
Travis Bracht, assistant superintendent of the Affton School District, is the lead administrator of the St. Louis program.
“Wouldn’t it be nice to know what people actually do in a particular profession? These students get the whole school year to learn that,” Bracht said. “You’ll be here every day and you’ll find your sweet spot, given your personality and skills.”
Bracht worked to bring the nationally-recognized program to St. Louis because he felt it would provide area students with an opportunity to explore job opportunities and themselves.
“Students are hungry for opportunities and colleges will feel CAPS students are a safe bet for their degree programs,” Bracht said.
The CAPS program is an example of how business, community and public education can partner to educate the workforce of tomorrow, especially in high-skill, high-demand jobs. Julie Joyet, manager of STLCC-South County, said it was an easy decision to host the program.
“This partnership has been very beneficial for both the participating school districts and our South County location,” Loyet said. “It fits in with the college’s strategic initiative of aligning with workforce needs. It has also helped us create and strengthen our relationships with area high school administrators and create more awareness of our facility.”
While this year’s program is coming to a close, students interested in future iterations of CAPS can click here for more information on the program and how to apply.