When a high school student receives certification in the TestOut computer technology program, the program guarantees the student possesses IT skills for the job — or the employer that hired him or her will receive $1,000.
Two Bradford Area High School students who recently received certification in the TestOut program believe their TestOut training not only has prepared them for secondary education, but also for the workforce.
Bradford High computer technology teacher Douglas Rose said two seniors in his class who received certification in the program are Kyle Carey and Greg Frederick. Carey earned PC Pro Certification and plans to attend the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford next fall to major in computer information systems and technology. Frederick earned Security Pro Certification and plans to attend St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, N.Y. next fall to major in cyber security.
Rose said the high school received a grant last year for TestOut and he tried the program out at the time.
“This year, I ended up doing (the program) for my seniors only,” Rose commented. “The reason for that was to help prepare them for the end of the year tests that they take for the state.”
Rose said the program “essentially is an online platform that can be self-paced so they can work through it as fast as they want, or they can work through it as a group or with a class.”
He said each exam taken by the students comes with a certification voucher that pays for the administration of the test to the student. If the student doesn’t pass the test, he or she can retake the exam for an additional $40, Rose added.
He said the guarantee to companies that students who receive the TestOut certification are qualified is quite significant.
“The Skills Guarantee is very important, I think, because it gives a list of objectives and they will pay the employer $1,000 if (for the new employee) if they are unable to perform those objectives,” Rose explained. “It’s a warranty, just like any other certification. If you earn the certification, they expect you to be able to do certain things.”
For example, he said “if any employer finds, after hiring and putting them to work for at least three weeks that they do not possess the IT skills that they have been certified for under the applicable Pro Certification, then TestOut will pay that company up to $1,000,” he reiterated.
Rose said the certification may also bolster the student’s resume for college, and may provide college credits for the student.
In commenting on the TestOut program, Frederick said he believes the program is “a very good experience for helping students prepare for secondary education and also the workforce.
“The class not only focuses on computer technology, but gives a little leeway for students to pick and choose what projects they want to do themselves,” Frederick said. “Overall the class is pretty straight-forward and students should not feel like they have any obligations or stressors as long as they do their work. This class creates many different opportunities as long as students seek to seize them.”
For his part, Carey said, “TestOut to me is a great program, very simple to use, and I could work through it at my own pace throughout the year.”