Tom Trigg is the superintendent of Kansas’ Blue Valley school system—and an ambassador between two worlds.

The first world is his 22,000-student system, a high-performing district located in the suburbs southwest of Kansas City, Mo. The other is the surrounding business community, which Mr. Trigg and other district officials have courted and counted on to support the Center for Advanced Professional Studies, a program he helped found that introduces students to careers in the fields of law, bioscience, engineering, and many other areas—and is now being replicated in districts around the country.

The program allows students from the district’s five high schools to spend a portion of their days at the CAPS campus, taking classes that are designed and continually modified to reflect shifting industry standards.

Mr. Trigg, along with others in the district, helped shape the program and now promotes it among employers, as well as parents and others outside the district.

As they have built CAPS, Blue Valley officials have gone to companies with “a different pitch than I suppose what businesses are used to,” Mr. Trigg said. “We didn’t ask them for money. We said, ‘We’ve got this idea. Would you share with us your human capital? Would you be willing to provide your employees to help us put this program together?’”

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