On the Air: CAPS Network to expand profession-based learning into several rural Kansas school districts



OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — The CAPS Network will extend its profession-based learning into seven rural Kansas school districts starting in the 2024-2025 school year.

The United States Department of Education awarded CAPS Network a $951,000 grant to focus on rural education.

The school districts are:

  1. USD 430 South Brown County Schools in Horton, KS
  2. USD 407 Russell, KS
  3. USD 432 Victoria, KS
  4. USD 379 Clay County in Clay Center, KS
  5. USD 443 / Rural Education Workforce Alliance in Dodge City, KS
  6. USD 428 Great Bend, KS
  7. USD 392 Osborne, KS

“We believe that every student regardless of what zip code they live in, has the right, should have the ability to go through a self-discovery journey while they’re in high school in a safe environment, but also the ability to work on an authentic project in an area that they have interest,” said Corey Mohn, CAPS Network president and executive director.

CAPS Network said it selected the communities above on their area’s “entrepreneurial spirit.”

Rural school districts won’t have their own state-of-the-art facility like the CAPS building in the Blue Valley School District. However, teachers will come and visit before the year starts to see what CAPS said could be possible through community partnerships with professionals.

“We’re obviously going to leverage technology to connect students with a greater world. We have the internet. Nowadays we have AI even to help us out. So we’ll be leveraging all sorts of tools and technology to help them get those really important career explorations. But we’ll also be helping the instructors and the local chambers and whatnot, build networks of professionals because they’re still small businesses,” said Allison Koelzer Nelson, the K-12 Liaison.

CAPS Network said it will connect rural Kansas teachers to innovative educators nationwide. Teachers will also have access to its resource platform, called CAPS Colab, to integrate profession-based learning along with training.

Mohn and Koelzer Nelson say their goal is to give students tools and skills to pour back into their communities, in hopes that they will plant roots for a stronger rural America.

CAPS Network said it will expand to more schools in 2025. An application will open in the spring of 2025.

If professionals in the above areas want to partner with CAPS and the school districts, they can reach out to CAPS Network.

View the full TV interview and live spot on KSHB 41 News here.