The 2017 Cedar Valley Partner Award for promoting economic growth and employment goes to the Waterloo and Cedar Falls community school districts.
The Cedar Falls district initiated the Center for Advanced Professional Studies, based on similar programs studied in Blue Valley, Kan., and Waukee. The CAPS program “is a partnership with local businesses to put students in a skilled career environment.” Students study at host businesses for 2 1/2 hours daily with high school teachers and business mentors, earning high school and Hawkeye Community College credit.
The program “focuses on real-world experiences outside the classroom,” according to Dan Conrad, director of secondary education for the district.
The Waterloo district is being recognized for its Career Technical Education, or CTE, program, offering students hands-on technical skills training. The district began implementing individual components of the program after a bond referendum to fully fund it failed to win voter approval last year.