the Northland Education & Business Alliance: quality education in the Northland of Greater Kansas City

Northland CAPS Program Looks Forward to Growth in 2018-19

Some of the 20 recent graduates of the Northland CAPS programs received $1,000 scholarships during a 2017-18 year-end ceremony.

As it plans for a sixth year, the Northland Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) continues to expand a dramatic range of career opportunities for area high school students.

Founded with support from the EDC and several business members, Northland CAPS provides students from 15 high schools in eight Northland school districts. The key is a professional, innovative and entrepreneurial education through full immersion in high-demand/high-skill careers. Students spend first semester working on projects for business partners and then second semester in related internships with more than 230 area companies.

The program provides students with authentic learning experiences that better prepares them for exciting and rewarding jobs of today and tomorrow. The areas offered – called “strands” – include Digital Media and Design, Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing, Global Business and Entrepreneurship, Global Logistics, Technology Solutions and Medicine and Healthcare.

Company Support

A critical foundation of Northland CAPS involves over 400 companies that take part in the program as corporate leaders, mentors, guest speakers and internship providers. These organizations include major corporations such as Cerner and Ford, as well as businesses ranging from law firms to art studios, medical offices and non-profits. Sandy Henshaw, Executive Director of Northland CAPS says, “Our business partner support is what makes Northland CAPS so effective. Students are able to see, from real businesses, what it takes to be successful in the world of work.”

Northland CAPS recently celebrated with a year-end ceremony at the KCI Expo Center. At the event, CAPS announced its first annual Northland CAPS Scholarship/Grant to graduating seniors. Twenty, one-time, non-renewable scholarships for $1,000 were given to 20 graduating seniors sponsored by two Northland CAPS business partners, Ford Motor Company and Cerner Corporation, who donated $10,000 each. The scholarship/grant can be used to help pay for tuition, books, room and board at any college or university. The funds may also be used for supplies or tools within an apprentice program or for patent application fees or other business startup needs.


Within each strand, all students learn fundamental skills that provide them with a foundation to work within any professional setting, in addition to the professional skills. Below is an overview of each individual strand:

The Digital Media and Design strand works with those creative and artistic students interested in exploring careers in digital media. This strand is divided into four sub strands: graphic design, digital photography, video production and audio production. Students learn the concepts and professional skills that coincide with different professions in this field. They will deliver real products to their clients, as well as create a professional portfolio that illustrates their creative talent.

The Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing strand is designed for students interested in the fundamentals of engineering with the hands-on experiences of advanced manufacturing. In the program, these students produce products, develop solutions, learn 2D and 3D software programs and gain professional skills. Applying lean manufacturing processes that create value for customers and drive out the waste in production is a skill that can be taken across any industry.

The Global Business and Entrepreneurship strand offers opportunities for students to partner with local, regional, national and international businesses to produce marketing and advertising plans. Students connect with leaders and mentors from various companies and organizations or work to create the next great product of service. The business world depends heavily on networking, and the students meet and connect with industry leaders throughout Greater Kansas City and beyond.

The Northland CAPS Global Logistics strand works with students who are detail-oriented and enjoy problem solving. Students work with businesses that organize, plan and manage people, facilities and supplies. Utilizing the expertise of diverse guest instructors, mentors and business partners on how things get done, students learn what is needed and who will make it happen in successful logistics.

The Technology Solutions strand is for students who are interested in exploring and developing multiple areas of technology, such as software engineering, website development, coding, app development and database management. Strong emphasis is placed on software engineering skills, such as programming methodology and problem solving using multiple technical languages. Students learn professional skills while working on teams through multiple projects using a vast array of technical skills.

The Medicine and Healthcare strand provides students the opportunity to explore various careers in the healthcare industry. They learn from in-depth case studies of body systems and practice physical assessment skills. Projects connect them to mentors and help develop real, relevant and team skills while providing a service to the community or business partner. Students have the opportunity to perform patient care and life-saving procedures within a simulation lab. They learn about cardiopulmonary resuscitation and automated external defibrillator and they observe medical professionals in all areas of the hospital. Guest speakers share their expertise to help students advance their understanding of these professions. Shadowing these professionals is also an important part of learning in the medical field.

Among the largest such programs in the United States, Northland CAPS is open to students from eight school districts in Clay, Clinton and Platte counties. Businesses not only gain opportunities for interns, but also long-term possibilities for fulltime employees who bring experience and understanding of the company. For additional information, visit the Northland CAPS website,

Clay County Economic Development Council
7001 N Locust ST, Gladstone MO 64118
816-468-4989 |

Platte County Economic Development Council
11724 Northwest Plaza Circle
Kansas City, MO 64153
816-270-2119 |

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