Nearly $1 million in federal funds is expected to help CAPS Network expand its profession-based learning into rural school districts, focusing on the state of Kansas, Corey Mohn shared.
The $951,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education was announced earlier this week.
“We are really excited about the impact this funding will help us make,” said Mohn, president and executive director of the Blue Valley School District Center For Advanced Professional Studies, commonly known as CAPS. “We know from our experience that any school district can successfully provide students authentic, profession-based learning experiences, so long as they are committed to the work and reach out to the businesses in their region. We are delighted to be making a big move to launch CAPS programming close to home across the state of Kansas.”
CAPS — which launched in 2010 and is now in more than 170 school districts across 22 states and four countries — is working to bridge the gap between the classroom and the professional world through innovative programs and partnerships, according to the organization. This rural initiative is expected to span over the next three years, extending through 2025-2026.
“We are incredibly grateful to Blue Valley School District for consistent support as we scale this model,” Mohn said, “and to U.S. Sen Jerry Moran’s advocacy, which helped us secure this funding.”
The newly announced grant funding allows the education organization to offer membership to its CAPS Network to deserving school districts at a significantly reduced cost, Mohn noted.
“We recently hired a K-12 liaison with experience supporting students and educators across Kansas City to deploy out and onboard districts that affiliate with our model,” he continued. “In addition, our staff will provide custom professional learning opportunities to these districts.”
CAPS aims to create 12 to 15 new school district affiliations in 2024, the organization said.
“Our goal is to launch as many of these CAPS programs in rural Kansas,” Mohn explained. “Ultimately, we will evaluate the demand we see for the program, alongside the level of community capacity present to make a local CAPS program successful. I am optimistic we will find a number of Kansas communities that fit and are ready to move.”
Mohn said CAPS leaders also are adding national business and industry connections across multiple sectors to their members, further enhancing how students explore career possibilities.
“The world is changing rapidly,” he explained. “We know the power of profession-based learning to drive up student engagement through relevant, real-time experiences. I am most excited to bring a successful model to communities that may not have seen this path for their students. It will be exciting to connect innovative and entrepreneurial rural educators to our global network of stakeholders and see what new creations result.”