College is often considered the best place for students to explore career options. And while this may be true, this exploration period can often end up becoming a rather lengthy endeavor – not to mention an expensive one.
In 2013, the National Center for Education Statistics discovered that on average, students decide to switch majors at least three times during their college years. Most likely, the students’ lack of career understanding and direct experience accounted for this indecision.
But what if high school students could fully immerse themselves into a career path prior to entering college?
The Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce now offers the Greater Ozarks Centers for Advanced Professional Studies (GO CAPS) program, which gives high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to experience what it’s like to work in a specific professional field. Students can pick from four interest areas including:
- Engineering and Manufacturing
- Medicine and Healthcare
- Technology Solutions
After selecting an area of study, students work at a business partners’ site for 2.5 hours every school day for a year. In exchange, the student receives both high school credit as well as college credit through Ozarks Technical Community College and Missouri State University.
According to the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, students that choose the Medicine and Healthcare route receive classroom instruction at CoxHealth, a five-hospital, 860 bed facility. Here they’ll gain tremendous insight into medical and healthcare professions by:
- Closely examining case studies of body systems
- Mastering basic medical terminology
- Designing potential treatment plans
- Performing physical assessment techniques
During the program, students earn high school and college credit based on their project work, various assessments, and learned professional skills. And since GO CAPS is funded by Springfield Public Schools, tuition is already covered. What could be a better way to prepare our future healthcare workers?