The Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) is a national model for collaboration between local school districts, higher education and industry. Missouri Southern’s CAPS program is set to serve its first students in August 2022, with Joplin, Webb City and Carl Junction school districts participating.
MOSO CAPS will be the 75th program in the nation, and the first housed on a college campus. Typically located at high schools, MOSO CAPS will offer the advantage of allowing students to sample life on campus while working toward a professional goal in local industry through community partnerships.
The initial launch will include juniors and seniors from the Joplin, Webb City and Carl Junction school districts. MOSO CAPS students will be mentored by industry professionals and MSSU faculty, while immersed in a professional culture, solving real-world problems and using the tools of the industry. Students will participate in morning or afternoon blocks and receive high school and college credit for their work.
Dr. Suzanne Hull has been appointed Director of MOSO CAPS. Dr. Hull is retired from K-12 public education, where she taught for 11 years before serving as assistant superintendent. She has also served as Coordinator of Education Preparation for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, as well as holding a faculty position at MSSU in Teacher Education for the last two years. “My understanding and experience in the K-12 public education world married with my collegiate experience should enable us to not only launch this program successfully, but grow it exponentially,” said Hull “I’m super excited to work with the school districts and industry and bring them together to enhance the work force.”
Course themes, or strands, will evolve based on industry need and can be adjusted as those needs change. Health Science will be included due to area healthcare professions struggling to find secure quality workforce. Other potential strands include but are not limited to Human Services, Bioscience and Computer Science.
“Community partnership is the ‘why’ behind this program. It is creating opportunities for students to explore what they think they want to do for a career. And it‘s an opportunity for industries to grow their own workforce and be very selective,” said Hull. “Sometimes our industry experts develop tunnel vision. They welcome the fresh ideas and perspective our students offer.”