On Tuesday, Aug. 25, the inaugural cohort of students in the Affton Advanced Professional Studies (A@ps) program attended the first annual Bootcamp. Housed in STLVentureWorks, a business incubator run by the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership in Lemay, A@ps is a new program that aims to fast forward Affton High School juniors and seniors into high-skill, high-demand workplace environments for a profession-based learning experience that emphasizes innovation and entrepreneurship while cultivating deep application of job-specific knowledge and professional skills.
Click here to view a photo album from A@ps Bootcamp.
A@ps is part of the Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) network. CAPS is an example of how business, community and education can partner to produce personalized learning experiences that educate the workforce of tomorrow, especially in high skill, high demand jobs. Students in Affton’s program can specialize in one of five learning strands: Global Business & Entrepreneurship, Bioscience, Medicine and Healthcare, Engineering & Advanced Manufacturing, and Technology Solutions.
During the daylong Bootcamp, A@ps students were greeted by Dr. Steve Brotherton, superintendent, learned more about the A@ps program and the CAPS network from Dr. Travis Bracht, assistant superintendent, heard from guest speakers that work in businesses related to their specific career strand, and collaborated on teams to create and pitch an innovative product made from duct tape, $5 worth of products found in the St. Louis Teachers’ Recycle Center, and whatever they had in their cars.
“In addition to Bootcamp serving as a symbolic kick-off to the A@ps program, it provided students the opportunity to experience key differentiators of the program that will constantly surface for deeper investigation and mastery,” said Bracht. “The program differentiators include professional skill development, business and community partnerships, and authentic, real-world projects and internships. The A@ps students and teachers are laying the foundation for a multi-high school partnership next year that may include a true collaboration between public, private, and charter organizations.”
In preparation for Bootcamp, A@ps instructors Justin Hildebrand, Tim Knox and Josh Luebbehusen provided students with specific training on professional dress and appearance as well as hand shakes and conversation starters. During the create challenge and pitch competition, students were able to gain valuable experience with important employability skills such as effective communication, team work, problem solving, creativity, and time management.
There are a variety of ways that area businesses are able to partner with the A@ps program, including providing mentors, internships, speakers, real world projects, guest instructors, curriculum input, financial investment, college credit, endorsements, and/or investing in the program. Learn more on our A@ps page.