CEDAR FALLS — Finding new talent is important to companies as they plan for future workforce needs. But even as Kevin Watje was hiring one such prospect this summer, the chief executive officer of Curbtender worried that he might have found someone too new.

Nathan Hoffman’s task was to design a lifting device for the garbage trucks Curbtender manufactures. The recent graduate of Cedar Falls High School only had a brief window in which to work, though. He was heading to college this fall.

Hoffman had been referred to Watje by Cedar Falls Community Schools’ Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) after going through its engineering program. He came with high recommendations on his abilities to do computer-aided design work.

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