Central Technology Center Implements HP Architect-level Certification to Prepare Network Security & Administration Students for Workforce
The Central Technology Center (www.centraltech.edu) serves more than 27,000 students and provides customized business and industry training to more than 500 area businesses in Oklahoma. Central Tech uses a combination of online and hands-on lab curriculum to serve both secondary and adult students. The Network Security & Administration (NSA) class prepares students for careers in computer networking, administration and cyber security.
Central Tech aims to teach students the technology and applications skills they need to enter the workforce and to keep up with the latest industry advances. They train students with no prior experience in the field, so instructors are starting from scratch in helping students gain current network skills.
"The biggest gap we see in our program is students can learn theory or study a textbook, but they cannot actually apply those skills in real-world situations,"T says Phil Waul, Superintendent of Central Tech. "TWe needed a way to help them apply the new technologies they are learning in real-world situations to prepare them for the workforce."T
One of Central Tech's main goals is job placement. They wanted to fill the IT gap with real-world application and improve job placement opportunities for students.
Budget is another concern. "TAs an education institution we are constrained by our budget, and we can’t just go out and buy enterprise-level equipment to train our students on,"T said Clint Webb, NSA Instructor.
Central Tech wanted to offer their students an industry-leading technology certification that boosts their resumes and validates their IT competencies. In addition, they wanted to provide skills that keep up with the fast pace of technology.
Central Tech piloted the HP Institute program to see if it would fill the gaps in their IT curricula. They found that the architect-level certification provides a good fit for their students. They also discovered that the certification program fits into their budget plan.
"The beauty of the HP program is it allows our students to access enterprise equipment and software in a remote environment, which makes this technology available to them when before there was no feasible way to get that kind of training," said Webb.
Another NSA Instructor at Central Tech, Nick Gaunt, explains why they chose the HP Institute program: "One of the things I love about the HP certification is that it is very relevant to today’s industry. I have offered a lot of different certifications, and many of them cover outdated technology that is not relevant in today's society. HP Institute covers topics like tablets and smart phones and things that are very real to IT today."
Central Tech became a Certiport Testing Center, so their students can certify in a comfortable environment at their own school and without driving long distances due to their rural location.
With the complete learning pathway of course materials, practice exams and certification exams, Central Tech cut their development time in half.
During the pilot phase, Central Tech had 70 students earn the HP ATA certification. "Once a few students took the exam, they all wanted to have it and it grew like wildfire," said Gaunt. "It has really changed the outlook of the classroom as more people want to feel that success and they can see themselves going into IT and succeeding in this field."
Kaleb Powell, a Central Tech student who took an HP ATA exam, said, "I honestly feel honored taking the HP ATA since it is a brand new program. I feel like I have the edge because other students are taking old tests and I have a new, up-to-date test. Now I am confident in my skills and can apply for a job because I have one step over other candidates."
Gaunt indicates how much the HP ATA certifications prepare his students for entering the workforce: "Nationally recognized certifications like the HP ATA help students get that first job when their resume is lacking work experience. This is my 12th year teaching in the IT field and helping students get out into the market and I’ve found that being able to get the students an industry-recognized certification is always a benefit."
Webb adds, "What I like about the program is it combines both the business concerns of IT and the hands-on skill required by industry."
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