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Challenger Teamwear and the Blue Valley CAPS Program: A Partnership

by | Jun 7, 2022 | Challenger Chatter

Lillian Slimp from Challenger HQ relays our experience of the great work being done by the CAPS program

Hear from Challenger Teamwear HR Director, Lillian Slimp, on our recent involvement helping the young minds of the future…

If you haven’t had the chance to visit the Blue Valley Center for Advanced Professional Studies in Overland Park, Kansas, it’s understandable. It may not be on your radar. But should that opportunity arise…take it. You’ll find yourself walking into a facility that allows the young minds of the future, who are undoubtedly going to change multiple facets of the business world, experience education in an environment that is nothing less than nurturing and innovative. It’s an environment where students gain real-world experience and develop professional skills. Think of it as a blend of college campus meets tech company. To put it in perspective, when I walked into the lobby for the first time, a group of engineering students, high school students, were working on building a full-sized plane.

Challenger Teamwear’s collaboration with the BV CAPS program was first presented to CEO, Paul Lawrence, through a friend who had first-hand knowledge of the program and was nothing less than amazed and impressed by what these students were capable of. He described the program first, for what it was. The BV CAPS is open to juniors and seniors living within the Blue Valley School District attendance boundaries with 6 strands that are aligned to high growth, high demand careers in Johnson County, KS. The strands are Business, Technology & Media, Engineering, Medicine & Healthcare, Human Services, Bioscience, and Accelerator. That’s the cut-and-dry version. 

Beyond the basic structure of the program, you delve deeper into what these students are accomplishing. Some examples include; preventing traumatic brain injuries in older patients by addressing fall risk, relocating a car dealership into the metaverse providing real 3D lidar scans of car dealership lots translated to be viewed with a mobile or VR device, the creation of the app “Credo” in order to educate the community on both cryptocurrencies and cryptography, to name a few. The program’s success has led to the creation of the CAPS Network, in order to link multiple other school districts that have replicated the program. There are now 80 CAPS programs around the country and overseas, and BV CAPS was the original one.

Most people who walk through the main doors of the Challenger headquarters don’t realize that inside the building we house our offices, art department, production facility and warehouse. This allows Challenger to be able to offer a unique internship experience to students through the ability to encapsulate the full cycle of the sporting apparel industry from the marketing of the product, the design process, the sale of the product, the entry of the order, the picking of the order, the billing process, the production cycle, the shipment, and any follow-up or customer service needs. Students can help formulate a specific experience that is tailored to their areas of interest.

Challenger Teamwear was able to provide two CAPS students, Drew Dombrosky and Gabe McGee, internships that gave them insight into the finance and accounting side of the business and the inventory and operations aspect of Challenger. They faced the burdens of global challenges, for example, navigating the current unreliability of the supply chain due to COVID outbreaks in other areas of the world and how that affects Challenger’s inventory and order placement process. As their internship experience drew to a close, Drew and Gabe were tasked with a final project to provide t-shirts for their fellow classmates. Through the knowledge and full-circle experience they gained, as well as the relationships they built, they were able to take the reins and work their way through the company to determine a design their target audience would desire, place the order, pick their order in the warehouse, and hand-print and heat press their design. 

Happy customers all around!

Learn more about Challenger’s Foundational work here.