Northwest Iowa Best #NWIBEST

Today’s Exploration, Tomorrow’s Innovation.


Northwest Iowa Best is a collaboration between multiple entities (schools, businesses, Northwest AEA, higher education, etc) in Northwest Iowa to help create real-world authentic learning opportunities connected to business and industry. Documents from each school will be shared to help other schools see and understand how different learning opportunities were created or being done.

  • Providing relevant experiences that foster college and career readiness for students
  • Cultivating meaningful, authentic teaching and learning
  • Fostering mutually beneficial relationships between business and education that contribute to economic development
  • Stimulating student interest in innovative career opportunities in the region and beyond

Student Experience

When do students attend the Northwest Iowa BEST program?

Students meet at the business partners’ sites for up to 4 hours per day, five days a week per semester.

What type of credit is offered for the class?

Students will earn both high school (typically Practical Arts or Elective) and optional college credit.

How is student performance evaluated (grades)?

Student performance is evaluated based on the overall effort and growth students exhibit during grading periods based on agreed competencies.  This can include dress code compliance, demonstration of professionalism, project work, and business partner communication.  This is similar to an employee review to evaluate job performance.

What is a capstone?

A capstone is a personalized passion project. Students enrolled in the Northwest Iowa BEST program will be given a semester to explore, research, and analyze areas of their interest through their career exploration with different businesses while they are doing their internship.

Apprenticeship Opportunities

Apprenticeship Opportunities

  • Welding

Students in a Registered Apprenticeship program will not only get technical on-the-job training, but also a paycheck for their work. A Registered Apprenticeship program will also keep the students involved in learning because they will graduate with a High School diploma and a portable credential from the program. Additionally, students may earn college credits through their Registered Apprenticeship if they wish to continue their training. Those who complete a Registered Apprenticeship will also earn a nationally recognized certificate.

School districts can partner with local businesses to create a Registered Apprenticeship program in many fields such as healthcare, IT, advanced manufacturing, finance, hospitality, construction, energy, and more. As educators, you hold a vital role in preparing students to be the workforce of our future. Registered Apprenticeship Programs will help students get credentials in high-demand jobs while bringing us closer to the Future Ready Iowa goal to have 70 percent of Iowans with education or training beyond high school by 2025. The U.S. Department of Labor/Office of Apprenticeship is the first step to registering a RA program and can assist with getting a program started. To create a program, you may contact Director Greer Sisson at 515-283-4690 or

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Siouxland CAPS

Siouxland CAPS is a collaboration of schools working to Prepare Students for Their Purpose.

What is CAPS?

Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) programs are nationally recognized, innovative high school programs. Students fast forward into their future and are fully immersed in a professional culture, solving real world problems, using industry standard tools and are mentored by actual employers, all while receiving high school and college credit. CAPS is an example of how business, community and public education can partner to produce personalized learning experiences that educate the workforce of tomorrow, especially in high skill, high demand jobs.

Below are five core values; that unite, define, and guide the caps network experience:

Profession-based Learning

Instructors develop real-world, project-based learning strategies through collaborations with business and community partners. These interactions enhance the learning experience, preparing students for college and career.


CAPS supports high-skill, high-demand careers through ongoing innovation in curriculum development, programs and services based on local business and community needs.

Self-Discovery and Exploration

Students realize their strengths and passions by exploring and experiencing potential professions. This allows them to make informed decisions about their future, while learning to exhibit leadership.

Professional Skills Development

Unique experiences allow students to cultivate transformative professional skills such as understanding expectations, time management and other essential business values. These skills are critical to providing students a competitive advantage in their post-secondary education and professional careers.

Entrepreneurial Mindset

Instructors create an environment where creative thinking and problem solving is encouraged. An innovative culture is key to fostering entrepreneurial learning and design thinking.

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