CEC Colorado Springs students have officially earned 2500 certifications since 2019 and a total of 150 certifications already this school year. Certifications available at CECCS include Microsoft Office Specialist certifications in Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and more, plus graphic design, computer science, and business certifications.
Christina Davis, CECCS technology teacher, leads the industry certification lab. “As a teacher, my main goal is to help students accomplish their dreams,” Davis said. “For many of our students the idea of earning a college degree was a dream before they started attending CECCS. Once students find out that they can work towards earning a college degree using certifications, they are even more driven and motivated. Sometimes having the ability to actually get to a college class is not possible. But students can learn the material that they would have in that college class and then pass a certification test to prove their skills. Having a certificate as proof also allows them to beef up their resumes which can improve their job prospects.”
Last school year, 1116 certificates were earned, which equates to a possible 2136 college credit hours through Prior Learning Agreements with Pikes Peak State College.
Christina Davis continued: “I had a student last year that ran his own lawn care business. He needed an achievement to graduate, but instead he was just going to drop out. I was able to show him how learning how to use Word would help him to create signage to better advertise his business. He was also able to learn Excel so that he could keep track of his customers, schedule, and billing. Through all of this, he was able to earn certifications which counted as his required achievement and get his diploma. I also have many students who are already running small businesses online through things like Etsy or Marketplace. By completing the Entrepreneurship certification, they can learn about a variety of things that help to make their business more successful. Students with businesses selling crocheted products or custom jewelry can learn how the cost of materials impact the overall cost of the final product and because of that they were able to make more overall profit.
“Students who earn certificates can use those achievements on their resumes,” Davis said. “Several of my Computer Science students have been able to get paid internships because of the fact that they have interest in a specific field and the certification to back up their skills. This past summer, Shawnae Johnson, Nikolas Polanco, and Marta Taylor all had internships in the Computer Science / Engineering field. They may not have been eligible for those opportunities without the certifications.”
Students who graduate from CEC graduate with college degrees and/or industry certifications. Enrollment for the 2024-25 school year opens November 1, so learn more about CECCS here.