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Jennifer Wesselhoff: Paying it forward

Jennifer Wesselhoff
Park City Pulse

Helping young people find fulfilling careers is rewarding and valuable. It’s also a lot of fun.

“Our two students were passionate and leaned into the academic challenge,” Sarah Provan of Collective Medical in Salt Lake told us. “They were eager, responsive to feedback, and excited to share what they were learning.”

Jennifer Wesselhoff, president and CEO of the Park City Chamber/Bureau.
Park Record file photo

She’s talking about PCCAPS, the Park City Centers for Advanced Professional Studies Program, where 11th- and 12th-graders contribute real-world business projects to local companies. For Collective Medical, students researched customer motivation and created targeted marketing messages. “We look forward to continuing our partnership,” Provan added.



PCCAPS projects have benefited Park City Hospital, Nordic Center, Method Studio Architects, Kutcher Clinic for Sports Neurology, Ballet West Academy and University of Utah Health, to name a few. Others include Progressive Leasing, Recycle Park City, Residential Hydroelectric Turbine, and the Park City Chamber/Bureau. For us, PCCAPS students designed a visitor survey.

“Businesses get talented students to take over to-do list projects at no cost,” said PCCAPS Director Adrienne Woolley. “They give back through mentoring.”



Projects fall within engineering, coding, business solutions, health sciences, digital design and primary education. The students work from the PCCAPS center at Park City High School, guided by the principles of project-based learning, “engaging in real-world projects that are personally meaningful,” Adrienne said. Businesses have the option of arranging site visits.

Business participants are sold on the ability of PCCAPS students to contribute. “Their professionalism, creativity and talent are at private-sector levels and beyond,” said Debbie Drain of The Chicks Company, for whom students handled branding and digital production.

Students are equally impressed. “I loved working with professionals, and the creative freedom and problem solving that goes along with it,” said one, adding, “Being independently responsible for getting work done for adults was very valuable.”

The CAPS program is nationally recognized, with over 19,000 alums. The Park City School District is one of six Utah districts offering it.

So, what is on your to-do list? To get eager, motivated young people working on your project, fill out a request form at ParkCityCaps.com. During your semester-long involvement, you’ll offer coaching and project guidance. You may also do some guest speaking, participate in final project judging, and, in the health sciences area, do a little method acting during medical bootcamp (“Seinfeld” episode!).

The beauty of working with young people is while we think we’re inspiring them, they wind up inspiring us. “PCCAPS produces amazing groups of young businesspeople,” said Victor Gill, CEO of STRT and adjunct professor at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business. “Seeing their work and how they adapt to the changing business environment is just fantastic.”

I love this program and the incredible people making it happen. Who doesn’t want to inspire, be inspired, pay it forward to tomorrow’s leaders and benefit your business, too? Adrienne is lining up participants for the fall semester now, so don’t miss out! Get all the info you need at ParkCityCaps.com.

Jennifer Wesselhoff is president and CEO of the Park City Chamber/Bureau. She served for 13 years as president/CEO of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau, where she led development of Arizona’s first sustainable tourism plan. She is a certified destination management executive and a sustainability consultant, and loves skiing and hiking with new friends.


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