This blog post is by Matt Sugita, a Business Technology and Web Design Instructor at King Career Center in Anchorage, Alaska. Sugita recounts his experience implementing the Microsoft Office Specialist certifications in his classroom and how the experience has affected the school and especially the future of his students.
Business Technology and Web Design Instructor, King Career Center
King Career Center is a career and technical school that draws from 8 high schools in the city of Anchorage. Our story begins years ago when third party assessments were emphasized to validate our programs in the Career Technology Education realm. Our program’s selection was very easy: Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Certification. Working with CCI Learning has strengthened not only our program, but our student’s lives and resumes’.
One positive aspect with the way our system is organized is that we can teach students from all over the city from all different backgrounds. Cultural and language barriers are not present when our students learn about Microsoft Office applications. Technology in the classroom, such as computers, has erased all of the struggles for some of these students. As a result, King Career Center gets students that are taking our program, not because they have to, but because they want to.
The key to certifying students is to show them how much industry certifications can positively impact their future. Not too long ago I was on a flight sitting next to a gentleman who owned his own insurance company. He asked what I did for a living and I told him I train students in Microsoft Office and Web Design. He nearly jumped out of his seat and explained how he uses the MOS certifications as a screening tool for job applicants. This business owner basically said he gives those with MOS certifications a leg up in the application process because, in the long run, he knows MOS certifications holders are industry ready. He encouraged me to tell my students his story and take full advantage of the opportunity that is given to them.
In the past year, King Career Center has accounted for 79 certifications with several students earning multiple certifications (an amazing accomplishment!) and the numbers continue to grow. However, the real measure of success is what students are saying and how they feel about becoming certified. If you have any doubt about the benefits of Microsoft Office certifications, listen to what my students have to say:
“The Microsoft Office Specialist certifications will be useful in life. You never know the obstacles that come your way, so you need as many tools as you can get and Mr. Sugita’s class has given me those tools.” – Megahn Reese
“I’m getting as many Microsoft Office Specialist certifications as I can so that my computer skills are proven and I can use them at school and on the job in the future.” – Luis Barajas
“As a senior, my high school career was ending soon, but I found Mr. Sugita’s class and it has helped me immensely. I have earned 4 Microsoft Office Specialist certifications and they will all help me in college. After I earned the certifications, I purchased Microsoft Office because I now know how to use the program to my benefit!” – Ashleigh Mora
Update: Diane Maples, Director of Career Technical Education & Counselling for the Anchorage School District, says she is “very proud of the success the Microsoft Office Specialist program has had, not only at King Career Center, but across the entire Anchorage School District. This program has already been offered at Gruening Middle School and next year, we will begin the implementation of this program into more Anchorage middle schools and continue to do so in an effort to grow the program and achieve high levels of success. With CCI Learning’s support, our students will have all the resources needed to achieve global industry recognized certifications. This will ensure their college and career readiness.”
Are you interested in learning more about the benefits of Microsoft Office Specialist certifications or how you can implement Microsoft Office Specialist certifications in your school? Contact CCI Learning and be sure to ask about Microsoft IT Academy.