PCCAPS is an elective course for juniors and seniors in which they acquire professional skills while working on real-world projects for companies and organizations. The acronym PCCAPS stands for Park City Center for Advanced Professional Studies. The CAPS network includes 78 affiliates across three countries that share their innovative, learner-centered and future-focused ideas across the network. Each CAPS program incorporates learner strands that match needs or aspirations of their local communities. Projects fall within six strands of the program, architecture and engineering, app and technology solutions, business solutions, health and medicine, digital design, and teaching as a profession. Students work with clients and have the option of onsite visits with their client. The experience is guided by the principles of Project Based Learning (PBL), so that students actively engage in meaningful projects that align them to their passions.
In combination with fundamental knowledge, project-based learning structures like PCCAPS facilitate growth in collaboration, problem-solving, self-management, effective communication, perseverance, and professionalism.
PCCAPS provides a supportive environment where students self-discover their purpose while also facing some of the exacting realities that exist within the world of work. Adult mentors from various backgrounds lend their expertise and skill set to support projects, as well as offer feedback throughout the semester. These mentors volunteer and give back to our local community through their donation of time, talent, and commitment to the “faces of our future.”
Benefits of PCCAPS:
When students embark on a PCCAPS project, chances are they will be facing unknown territory. Their clients may task them with unfamiliar concepts, and students may need to clamber their way to producing deliverables, given work habit frameworks (like Scrum) and professional skills offered by the program. That can be scary and the fear of failure is common among many students.
The idea of choosing to do something that may result in loss or failure can be a foreign concept. Failure is often associated with negativity.
In athletics and other competitive events, the expectation for possible failure is automatic. At times, there is a 50/50 chance your team will not win. So why continue to play if the rate of failure is so high? The fun factor, willful participation happens for the sake of facing a challenge and the emotional benefits of camaraderie. If you perceive what you are working on as fun, you are more likely to enjoy what you’re doing, and view failure as a possible outcome rather than a lingering monster. The ultimate goal for students is to find a career path where the “work” feels like “play.”
Without the generous support of the Park City Education Foundation (PCEF), we would not be able to provide this unique and innovative experience for our students. The personalized experience helps many students pivot from exploring potential professions to preparing for a path that connects them to their calling.