Program gives students head start on careers, open house March 6

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One Nebraska school district is giving their students the chance to get excited about their future with the NCAPS program.

NCAPS stands for Nebraska Center for Advanced Professional Studies.

Junior and senior students at the South Central Unified School District #5, which includes Sandy Creek and Lawrence Nelson, can take courses in the nine pathways offered including business, health, manufacturing, education and more.

"We knew we needed to provide to our rural students," said Stan Essink, district NCAPS coordinator.

The program helps students find an expert in the field to help guide them to see what career choice best fits them. It also helps to give a student a taste of what being in a college course is like from self-paced to instructor-paced classes, and lots of hands-on, real-life experiences.

Certified instructors teach them real world subjects they can take with them to get their degrees. This program is partly funded by grants but mostly paid for by the taxpayers. That means there's no cost to students.

Lawrence Nelson Principal Dana Epley said it is things they are interested in and finding out what they are not interested in.

Statistics from fall 2018 show 82 students were paired with mentors with 474 college credits completed during the semester.

There are more than 75 business partners from Kearney to Omaha participating with this program.

Sandy Creek Secondary Principal Jason Searle said businesses have really stepped up and work with their students to them experience in different career fields.

"It's a great way to involve the community with our school district," said Searle. He adds that when students can go to Mary Lanning to see the birth of a child or surgery procedures, it's taking learning to a whole new level.

On Wednesday, March 6, the district will hold an open house and ribbon cutting for their new facility. The building has been in the works for more than 2 years from concept to completion. Now, they are ready to show it off.

The open house is from 2 to 7 p.m. with the ribbon cutting ceremony with Governor Ricketts at 3 p.m.

The public is welcome to come out and learn more.