New GO CAPS program offered to Laclede and Camden County students

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Laclede County, Mo. -- A new program is giving high school students a glimpse into the real work world.

More school districts are getting on board with the GO CAPS program.

"It's such a different program, it's something we've never had before," senior Korrie Brinton said.

A program new to Laclede and Camden counties is giving students advanced professional studies also known as GO CAPS (Greater Ozarks Centers for Advanced Professional Studies).

"We're in a more of a rural area, I think it helps you see more," Brinton said.

The new program gives junior and senior high school students a chance to job shadow professionals in medicine, healthcare, engineering and manufacturing.

"I would be a lonely senior in PE or ceramics and wasting my time and not being able to know what I wanted to do when I graduated," senior Shayna Lewis said.

Some area students like Lexi Haley who has been in the GO CAPS program for only a few months says it's made a huge impact on her education and future career goals.

"Before I felt like everyone else my age has it figured out except for me and that wasn't a very good feeling," senior Lexi Haley said. "So now that I have the feeling like 'now I know what I want to do...' it just feels really reassuring and really good for me."

It's an experience that's leaving students on a path to success.

"It has just been a great experience for me, I have two students Shayna and Sam and just even comparing them to four weeks ago to this week, [they're] different kids, I'm so proud of them," Sandy Johnson, Senior Business Development Specialist and Marketing

"If I wasn't able to job shadow her, I don't think I would have been able to realize that I like marketing and wanted to be in marketing," Lewis said. "I just would have thought it was nursing and that was it."

A lesson some professionals say they wish they had.

"Now being in my position and seeing some of the experiences I've had I wish I had a program like this because I think it would have...ultimately it's what I became interested in," mechanical engineer, Damir Kolasinac, said.

It's a head start for students preparing for competitive industries.

Now professionals in Laclede and Camden counties hope their hard work brings its future generations back to the community.

"I definitely want to give these students every opportunity... and hopefully they will return to their hometown," Sheri Atteberry, Human Resource Manager said.

If you're interested in the program you can contact Ann Hopper at the Lebanon Area Chamber of Commerce.