Students in the Minnesota Center for Advanced Professional Studies program at Prior Lake High School hosted its first-ever MNCAPS Trades Modular Showcase and Spring Give-Back on Friday, April 28, at the high school’s industrial technology wing.
The showcase highlighted the student’s projects they worked on during the year and included a tour of the workshop, as well as a silent auction with items the students made with proceeds going back to the MNCAPS Trades Program.
Glenna Stone, MNCAPS coordinator, said the showcase is an end-of-the-year event where trades pathway students get a chance to showcase what they learned over the year.
“The students designed and came up with the materials, and we helped them create different pieces that they could put together and showcase all the techniques they’ve learned,” Stone said.
According to the district, MNCAPS is a profession-based immersion program. The program began in 2016 and has built impactful relationships with companies and organizations willing to offer opportunities necessary to prepare tomorrow’s workforce.
Through the program, a student enrolled in a MNCAPS course that is designated as concurrent may earn college credit through College Now Concurrent Enrollment Program based on the concurrent partner’s eligibility requirements. If the MNCAPS course contains Minnesota Transfer Curriculum, it will transfer to any of the Minnesota State College & Universities, according to the district.
Stone, who has been coordinator of the program for a year, said she has worked with the district for a decade in different areas and capacities and has always enjoyed the MNCAPS program.
“I’ve always enjoyed MNCAPS from an outside perspective because I feel like it gives an outlet for students who really have a passion for students that enjoy hands on experimental learning,” Stone said. “I really enjoy seeing students be successful and I really think that MNCAPS highlights the middle learner that I often think gets lost in the bigger school like PLHS. I think that’s a huge part of why I wanted to oversee it.”
Stone said students in the trades pathway have an opportunity to take part in hands-on learning in the field of construction and other trades based skills.
“Most of the showcase is construction, but there is other trades like plumbing, welding, and any other of those types of things,” Stone said. “This focuses more on the intro to trades so they get a little bit of different areas like HVAC, electrical, etc. In construction, they learn everything from roofing, shingles, framing and so much more.”
Liam McVety, a senior at PLHS and MNCAPS student, said the program gives students opportunities that wouldn’t be available to them in a traditional classroom setting.
“It’s given us opportunities to practice certain skills that we see out in the field like framing, siding, roofing and all sorts of opportunities like that on a smaller scale,” McVety said. “Now we’re able to show it off to the community and all the sponsors that have been helping us. This showcase is just an opportunity to say thank you.”
Mason Adams, another senior at PLHS and MNCAPS student, said he plans to pursue a trades career after graduating from high school and said the MNCAPS program has really helped guide him.
“My plans is to go to Genz-Ryan and do HVAC,” Adams said. “I really want to get into HVAC because my family has done a lot of that so I think that will be a good future for me because I have a lot of people that will be helping me along the way.”
McVety said the MNCAPS program has also helped him focus more during school and looks forward to the trades course everyday.
“It’s pretty easy to go back to your classes and be on autopilot, but when you come here, it’s gives me something to do that’s exciting and it gives me something to work with my hands,” he said. “I actually enjoy doing it and I get college credit for it. It’s working towards my career and I get to see parts that I like doing and don’t like doing. The program gives me a taste of what the trades has to offer me.”
Stone added that if anyone is interested in being involved in the MNCAPS Program, whether it be a mentor or volunteer, to contact her for more information.
“We rely on community and we want community members to come in, whether it’s guest speakers or mentors coming in and just observing our events,” Stone said. “We’re always looking for mentors. For every student we have in MNCAPS, we need an adult in that area that they’re in.”