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STEP students earn professional IT certifications

Students in the Secondary Technical Education Program (STEP) explore pathways to real-world jobs. As more students enroll in computer science courses at STEP, instructor Bob Orrick strives to offer experiences that will follow his students into their professional careers. Several students at STEP added to their computer science resumes recently when they earned certifications through Cisco Networking Academy.

“If they choose a career path in IT, that certification stays with them,” said Orrick, who is seeing enrollment increase among all students, including more female participants. 

More than a dozen students achieved a Cisco certification in IT essentials at the end of trimester one, which was a first for STEP. A new course on cybersecurity will be offered for the first time this spring. Orrick said it creates interest among students and keeps up with the times.

“Computer science changes all the time,” he said, “it is really about getting these certifications that are current and relevant in the industry.”

STEP offers students opportunities to explore career pathways in a hands-on setting. Students spend more time in fewer classes throughout the school day, which allows for in-depth training in their chosen subject matter. Orrick helps his computer science students see the variety of career options that are open to them after establishing a foundation at STEP. 

“These certifications can lead to whole career pathways for students after they leave.”