(Andover, Kansas) – NetWork Kansas, which provides resources for Kansans starting and growing businesses, participated in a summer huddle featuring the inaugural cohort of a federally-recognized rural profession-based learning initiative. The initiative, which is overseen by the CAPS Network, will work across rural America, focusing on Kansas, to provide high school students with real-world professional experience across a variety of fields of study. The US Department of Education awarded $951,000 in funding to support the initiative.

The inaugural cohort welcomed the following school districts to participate:

· USD 430 South Brown County Schools in Horton, KS

· USD 407 Russell, KS

· USD 432 Victoria, KS

· USD 379 Clay County in Clay Center, KS

· USD 443 / Rural Education Workforce Alliance in Dodge City, KS

· USD 428 Great Bend, KS

· USD 392 Osborne, KS

The summer huddle allowed NetWork Kansas coaches to see how CAPS works, to learn more about the initiatives and how NetWork Kansas can be a supportive resource in the endeavor.

“There is a good deal of overlap between the work NetWork Kansas is doing to empower entrepreneurs and CAPS,” said Janet Miller, Manager, Entrepreneurship, Southeast Region, NetWork Kansas. “One of CAPS’ five core values is Entrepreneurial Mindset… This is exactly the type of mindset we are trying to create through local YEC events, KEC, the Ice House Entrepreneurship Program, and other activities.”

Christy Preston, Manager, Entrepreneurship, Western Region for NetWork Kansas said she plans to share the CAPS Network opportunities with the school districts in northwest Kansas in hopes that more of them will apply to be a part of the program with the next rural cohort.

“There is a lot of value in profession-based learning and the impact it could have in communities,” Preston said. “There are a lot of resources available to help school districts engage with CAPS to create a program that works for them.”

In a news release, CAPS shared further details about the components of the initiative.

· Affiliate Expansion: CAPS Network aims to create 12-15 school district affiliations, introducing the CAPS framework and programming in 2024. This expansion will ensure rural communities have access to cutting-edge educational opportunities.

· K-12 Liaison: CAPS Network has hired Allison K. Nelson as the dedicated K-12 Liaison to provide onboarding, on-ground support, and coordination for all aspects of CAPS implementation. This critical role will help ensure the success of the program in rural areas.

· Resource Platform Access: Educators in rural Kansas will gain access to the CAPS resource platform, known as the CAPS Colab, to integrate profession-based learning into their curricula. Training opportunities on the CAPS teaching mindshift will also be made available.

· National Networking: CAPS Network will connect educators from rural Kansas with innovative educators nationwide fostering collaboration and innovation in education.

· Professional Learning Opportunities: Educators will have the opportunity to attend the CAPS Network professional learning conference, the Summer Huddle, with discounted and free passes provided by CAPS Network.

Understanding that there is flexibility within the initiative is also a bonus, according to Lea Ann Seiler, Manager, Entrepreneurship, Southwest Region, NetWork Kansas, who also attended the huddle.

“…CAPS isn’t one size fits all,” she said. “It is customizable; it’s flexible; and you aren’t alone — there is a whole team ready and willing to support you. I also think others should know that it is revolutionizing education and that, overall, we don’t give teens enough credit for what they are truly capable of….how much value there is in Project Based Learning and what a difference it could make in our communities.”

About NetWork Kansas:

NetWork Kansas was established as a component of the Kansas Economic Growth Act of 2004 to further entrepreneurship and small business growth as a priority for economic and community development in the State of Kansas. Backed by more than 500 partners statewide, the NetWork Kansas service promotes an entrepreneurial environment by connecting entrepreneurs and small business owners with the expertise, education and economic resources they need in order to succeed.

NetWork Kansas facilitates the development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem within participating communities through the E-Community Partnership. Contributing factors to successful development include availability of financial capital, support by local leadership and development of educational resources. All of these factors combine to increase entrepreneurial activity in participating towns, leading to increased startup activity, business expansion, job creation and more.

For more information about the Entrepreneurship (E-) Community Partnership, visit or call 877.521.8600.

About Caps Network:

CAPS Network is a pioneering organization dedicated to transforming high school education by bridging the gap between the classroom and the professional world. Through innovative programs and partnerships, CAPS Network empowers students with real-world experiences that prepare them for successful careers.

CAPS structurally empowers high school students — primarily juniors and seniors — to fast forward into their future with full immersion into the professional culture, solving real world problems, using industry standard tools and are mentored by actual employers. The model integrates high school, college and industry into a single community to provide a set of authentic experiences. Today over 170 school districts participate in the network across 22 states and four countries. Imagine if every student in America left high school confident of their professional skills, aware of career opportunities, owning their strengths and passions, and able to activate a professional network—it would be a different economy and country.

For more information on CAPS Network please visit:



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