This post is written by Certiport, a Platinum Level sponsor of the 2019 Advance CTE Spring Meeting.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, STEM occupations grew twice as fast as others between 2009 and 2014. STEM jobs are also expected to grow faster than any other job category through 2024 with a projected growth rate of 28.2 percent, compared with the average projected growth for all occupations of just 6.5 percent.
In order to meet this need in the future, former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recently pointed out the need for U.S. education institutions to “create opportunities for people to develop 21st-century skills and level the playing field for all demographics.”
Duncan continues, “If we expect to compete in a global economy that demands increasingly higher skills, we need to concentrate on closing the digital divide. The reversal must begin in K-12, where currently only one in four schools teach computer programming.”
High school graduates will typically need a lot of additional training to fill the high-tech jobs of the future, but starting in K12 sets students on a path for continued learning – it opens the door and helps them to realize an interest in and an aptitude for a career in computer science.
Certifications Validate those Entry Level Technology Skills
Industry-recognized certifications are one way to get K12 students started on a path to a career in technology. CTE programs around the country are adopting certification programs to set students on a path to professional development, and one fantastic example is Sun Valley High School in Monroe, North Carolina.
When teacher Eddie Mull arrived at Sun Valley High School three years ago with a 35-year background in the drafting industry, he aimed to rejuvenate the drafting program to make sure students learned work-ready skills. Over his career, he earned several Autodesk Certified Professional certifications and has seen their value in the workforce.
“I knew I wanted to get Autodesk certifications going at Sun Valley,” said Mull. “The professional-level certifications are valuable in the workforce and if I could get my students earning the user-level certifications they would be on the path for career success.”
As a result of Mull’s efforts and the support of the CTE department, Sun Valley students quickly caught the fire of earning Autodesk Certified User certifications. Each semester approximately 40 to 50 students take Drafting 1 and most earn Autodesk Certified User AutoCAD certification, and another 15 or so take Drafting 2 and most of them earn the Autodesk Certified User Revit certification.
“They want that bullet point on their resume, they want the certificate,” said Mull. “They want to get good at something so they can get a head start and differentiate themselves in a career.”
A new statewide initiative directs Drafting 3 students to earn a professional level certification – which is very difficult.
“It is hard but doable, I have had two students earn the Autodesk Certified Professional certification so far with about a dozen more preparing,” said Mull. “The program will be formally implemented next year.” Mull works with students to make sure their Autodesk Certified User level and Autodesk Certified Professional level certifications stand out on their resumes and even provides a resume template.
Some of his recent graduates with Autodesk certifications have interviewed at as many as five places and have been offered jobs by all five. Whether his students plan to go to college or enter the workforce, Autodesk certification helps with admissions and job interviews.
“The certification indicates that students have the skills and are able to perform the tasks necessary to utilize the Autodesk applications,” said Robert Filter, Union County Public Schools Director of Career Readiness. “It provides the students an opportunity to spotlight their skills and knowledge over other potential candidates when applying for a job.
Recent Sun Valley graduate Gabriel Blount said earning an Autodesk Certified User certification has already helped him as he builds a career in drafting.
“Adding Autodesk certification to my resume has been extremely beneficial since it shows my ability to learn and be flexible in a professional setting. Autodesk certification has helped in my future career – the principles I learned are now a part of my new job and I would have never guessed how helpful it would be when I was taking the drafting courses.”
We invite you to learn more about how to implement certification in your CTE program to prepare students for college and career. Certiport offers learning curriculum, practice tests, and performance-based IT certification exams to open up academic and career opportunities for learners. Our offerings include:
- Microsoft Office Specialist
- Microsoft Technology Associate
- Adobe Certified Associate
- App Development with Swift Certification
- Autodesk Certified User
- EC-Council Associate
- QuickBooks Certified User
- IC3 Digital Literacy Certification
- Entrepreneurship and Small Business
Please join us the evening of Tuesday, April 9th from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at our Hospitality Suite at the Advance CTE Spring Meeting to learn more.