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CAPS Opening

This is the introduction to the Capstone Activity Packet

Capstone Activity Packets

Modules of Instruction for the Capstone
Cooperative Education Programs in Pennsylvania


Please click here for a .pdf version of this file.

The Capstone Activity Packets (CAPS) were designed to be used by Cooperative Education students during their in-school class period. These modules were first developed in 1989 by Cooperative Education teachers in Pennsylvania and follow the 37 key competencies required of Cooperative Education programs by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The modules were revised in 1994, and now again in 2003, with input from Cooperative Education teachers in Pennsylvania. The 1994 and 2003 editions were revised and edited by Dr. Mary J. Kisner. The 2003 edition had additional major editing assistance from Lois Richards from the Clearfield County Career and Technology Center, Clearfield, Pennsylvania. Both editions were published by the Professional Personnel Development Center in the program of Workforce Education and Development at Penn State University.

This 2003 revision has added a few new features:

  • The modules are now available on the Internet as pdf files, making it possible for students and teachers to access them at school or home. They may be downloaded or printed directly from the Internet.
  • The student activities have been enhanced so the modules could be aligned with the Pennsylvania Academic Standards of Career Education and Work; the Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking standards; and the Department of Labor’s Employability Standards (SCANS).
  • An answer key has been written. This document can be accessed by using the link at the bottom of the Table of Contents.

To obtain more information about Cooperative Education in Pennsylvania, please contact Lee Burket at the Pennsylvania Department of Education (717-783-6950). For questions or comments about the CAPS Modules, contact The Professional Personnel Development Center at Penn State, (814) 863-2596.

The Pennsylvania State University is committed to the policy that all persons shall have equal access to programs, facilities, admission, and employment, without regard to personal characteristics not related to ability, performance, or qualifications as determined by University policy or by state or federal authorities. It is the policy of the University to maintain an academic and work environment free of discrimination. The Pennsylvania State University does not discriminate against any person because of age, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, national origin, race, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status. Discrimination or harassment against faculty, staff, or students will not be tolerated at The Pennsylvania State University. Direct all inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policy to the Affirmative Action Director, The Pennsylvania State University, 201 Willard Building, University Park, PA 16802-0471; TDD 814-865-3175.

Table of Contents


1. Identify co-op program goals, policies and procedures.
2. Describe work ethics.
3. Discuss the transition from the classroom to the actual job situation.

Human Relations:

4. List and evaluate your personality traits to indicate self-understanding.
5. List characteristics of a responsible employee.
6. Develop and describe positive working relationships with others on the job.
7. Demonstrate ways to resolve conflict.

Health and Safety:

8. Identify appropriate occupational safety practices and procedures.
9. Describe the role of government agencies in providing for a safe workplace.

Employment Retention:

10. List ways you can show interest and enthusiasm on the job.
11. List ways to show initiative and assertiveness on the job.
12. List techniques for maintaining self-control.
13. Explain the importance of attendance and punctuality on the job.
14. Prioritize your activities as they relate to your job.
15. Diagram the organizational structure of your company.
16. Interpret the purpose and use of a performance evaluation and complete a self-evaluation.
17. Identify the source of employee information regarding company policies and procedures.
18. Identify proper procedures for job termination.
19. List the occupational and leadership requirements to maintain and improve employment at the job.


20. Distinguish between positive and negative feedback; define and give examples of constructive criticism.
21. Demonstrate basic skills for both verbal and nonverbal communication.
22. Define the elements of communicating with a supervisor.
23. Define the elements of communicating with co-workers, emphasizing appropriate group behavior on the job.
24. Demonstrate appropriate skills in communicating with the public.

Consumer Skills:

25. Understand and prepare a sample budget.
26. List and describe fringe benefits provided by the employer.
27. Describe how to open a checking account, balance a checkbook, and apply for a loan.
28. Demonstrate the ability to file Federal, state, and local tax forms.

Legal Awareness:

29. List the steps in obtaining an employment certificate.
30. Describe labor regulations that affect wages, hours, and conditions of employment.
31. Describe the withholding laws and the benefits provided by Social Security, workers' compensation and unemployment compensation.

Future Planning:

32. Develop a resume.
33. Practice skills needed to be successful in a job interview.
34. Discuss the importance to adapt to change.
35. Establish short-term goals.
36. Establish long-term goals.
37. Complete a job application.

Answer Keys

Through the CAPS curriculum, students have opportunities to work on the following standards:

Pennsylvania’s Academic Standards for Career Education and Work


13.1.11. Career Awareness and Planning

A. Analyze career options based on student interests, abilities, aptitudes and accomplishments.

13.2.11. Career Acquisition (Getting a Job)

A. Know and demonstrate industry acceptable job interviewing techniques.

D. Identify sources of health, safety and regulatory practices and their effect on the work environment.

  • Child Labor Laws
  • Employee Right to Know
  • Fair Labor Standards Act
  • Hazardous occupations
  • Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) information
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations
  • Student work permits

E. Evaluate prepared career acquisition documents based upon industry acceptable practices.

  • Accuracy
  • Completeness
  • Neatness
  • Qualifications

13.3.11. Career Retention (Keeping a Job)

A. Analyze work habits needed to advance within a career.

B. Evaluate conflict resolution skills:

  • Constructive criticism
  • Group dynamics
  • Managing
  • Mediation
  • Negotiation
  • Problem solving

C. Evaluate team member roles to describe and illustrate active listening techniques:

  • Clarifying
  • Encouraging
  • Restating
  • Reflecting
  • Summarizing

D. Compare and contrast gross and net pay.
from 13.3.8 & Analyze personal budgets.

  • Expenses
  • Income
  • Investing
  • Needs
  • Savings
  • Taxes
  • Wants

E. Evaluate strategies used to manage time and their application in different work situations.

F. Analyze the impact of change on the evolving world economy and the individual’s work.


Pennsylvania’s Academic Standards for Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening (RWSL)

1.1.11. Learning to Read Independently

E. Establish a reading vocabulary by identifying and correctly using new words acquired through the study of their relationships to other words. Use a dictionary or related reference.

1.4.11. Types of Writing

C. Write persuasive pieces.

  • Include a clearly stated position or opinion.
  • Include convincing, elaborated and properly cited evidence.
  • Develop reader interest.
  • Anticipate and counter reader concerns and arguments.
  • Include a variety of methods to advance the argument or position.

D. Maintain a written record of activities, course work, experience, honors and interests.

E. Write a personal resume.

1.5.11. Quality of Writing

A. Write with a sharp, distinct focus.

  • Identify topic, task and audience.
  • Establish and maintain a single point of view.

B. Write using well-developed content appropriate for the topic.

  • Gather, determine validity and reliability of, analyze and organize information.
  • Employ the most effective format for purpose and audience.
  • Write fully developed paragraphs that have details and information specific to the topic and relevant to the focus.

F. Edit writing using the conventions of language.

  • Spell all words correctly.
  • Use capital letters correctly.
  • Punctuate correctly (periods, exclamation points, question marks, commas, quotation marks, apostrophes, colons, semicolons, parentheses, hyphens, brackets, ellipses).
  • Use nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, prepositions and interjections properly.
  • Use complete sentences (simple, compound, complex, declarative, interrogative, exclamatory and imperative).

1.6.11 Speaking and Listening

A. Listen to others.

  • Ask clarifying questions.
  • Synthesize information, ideas and opinions to determine relevancy.
  • Take notes.

C. Speak using skills appropriate to formal speech situations.

  • Use a variety of sentence structures to add interest to a presentation.
  • Pace the presentation according to audience and purpose.
  • Adjust stress, volume and inflection to provide emphasis to ideas or to influence the audience.

D. Contribute to discussions.

  • Ask relevant, clarifying questions.
  • Respond with relevant information or opinions to questions asked.
  • Listen to and acknowledge the contributions of others.
  • Adjust tone and involvement to encourage equitable participation.
  • Facilitate total group participation.
  • Introduce relevant, facilitating information, ideas and opinions to enrich the discussion.
  • Paraphrase and summarize as needed.

E. Participate in small and large group discussions and presentations.

  • Initiate everyday conversation.
  • Participate in a formal interview (e.g., for a job, college)

Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS)


Decision Making Skills: Specifies goals and constraints, generates alternatives, considers risks, and evaluates and chooses best alternatives.

Problem Solving Skills: Recognizes that a problem exists, identifies possible reasons for the discrepancy and devises and implements a plan of action to resolve it. Evaluates and monitors progress and revises plan as indicated by findings.


Responsibility: Exerts a high level of effort and perseverance toward goal attainment. Works hard to become excellent at doing tasks. Displays high standards of attendance, punctuality, enthusiasm, vitality, and optimism.

Self-Esteem: Believes in own self-worth and maintains a positive view.

Sociability: Demonstrates understanding, friendliness, adaptability, empathy, and politeness in new and ongoing group settings.

Self-Management: Assesses own knowledge, skills, and abilities accurately; sets well-defined and realistic personal goals; self-starter.

Integrity/Honesty: Can be trusted.


Resources: Identifies, organizes, plans, and allocates resources, including time and personal money.

Interpersonal: Works well with others, including being skilled team members and negotiating with others to solve problems or reach decisions.

Information: Acquires and uses information orally and in writing, as the need arises.



Original Author(s) are listed after Module number: 1 Al Cook & Joe DeFranco, 2 Tim Rankin, 3 Robin Verbeck & Cheryl Speakman, 4 Gilbert Darlak, 5 Al Cook & Joe DeFranco, 6 Robin Verbeck & Cheryl Speakman, 7 Louis DiPrinzio, 8 Frank Klasic, 9 Louis DiPrinzio, 10 Richard A. Farante, 11 Charles R. Leader, 12 Robin Verbeck & Cheryl Speakman, 13 Frank Klasic, 14 Mary J. Kisner, 15 Robin Verbeck & Cheryl Speakman, 16 Connie Hunsicker-Muschko, 17 Mark Arnold, 18 Frank Klasic, 19 Larry Evans, 20 Linda S. Richert, 21 Brent P. Johnson, 22 George Klemencic, 23 Robin Verbeck & Cheryl Speakman, 24 Connie Hunsinger-Muschko, 25 Joan M. Evans, 26 Lawrence H. Graczyk, 27 Alice Berger, 28 Louis DiPrinzio, 29 Lawrence H. Graczyk, 30 Robin Verbeck & Cheryl Speakman, 31 Lawrence H. Graczyk, 32 Louis DiPrinzio, 33 Louis DiPrinzio, 34 Connie Hunsinger-Muschko, 35 Thomas McCaffrey, 36 Robert E. Sassaman, Jr., 37 Frank Klasic

© 2003. The Professional Personnel Development Center, Penn State