Students at the Boys and Girls High School in Brooklyn, NY recently completed the Web Design for Business and Marketing course and Remote Working Professional course and certifications through a brand-new program offered by the Web Professionals Organization and CTeLearning. The students are the first in NYC to complete the courses, earning integrated industry-recognized certifications and association membership. The students were led by their teacher, Tanya Wardally, who sought out the curriculum and delivered these valuable opportunities for her students. She will be proudly presenting her students their new industry credentials just in time as they leave for a well-deserved summer break.
Tanya worked with the Web Professionals Organization and CTeLearning to bring in this courseware to offer to her career and technical education students. She enabled her students to future-proof their professional paths, equipping themselves with the skills needed to succeed in the professional world—no matter how it continues to change. Having technical training skills combined with industry-recognized certifications sets these students up with the hard and soft skills to excel in whatever career path they pursue.
It is fitting that the Boys and Girls High School, the oldest public high school in Brooklyn, is the first in the nation to offer a new way for students to learn and earn career-building industry credentials. Under this new grant program, students earned their certifications as they completed the project-based courses. The certifications were fully integrated into the courses to reduce test anxiety and equip students with the skills needed to succeed, and the certifications were offered at no charge to the school or students.
Through the two courses, students learned coding, design, industry concepts and soft skills as they completed real-world projects and built up their college- and career-ready portfolios. The short-form Remote Working Professional course is mobile-friendly, just four hours long, and features interviews with 30 remote working professionals in a variety of industries who teach students how to be effective workers in the new world of remote work. Having these skills and credentials prepares them well for their futures, no matter what path each of them takes.
Teachers and Students Praise the Courses
Tanya spoke about how important it is to prepare students for their futures: “Today, more than ever, we educators must prepare our students for a dramatically different world of work than when we were in high school. Let’s face it: technology and the pandemic have forever changed the world of work. We have to future-proof them and make them resilient so that they can succeed in any environment. I appreciate how these courses taught both hard skills and transferable soft skills. My students loved being able to progress through the courses from any internet-connected device, including their smartphones. I would recommend these courses to any teachers and students who are looking for curriculum that will prepare students to thrive in their post-secondary and professional careers. I am so proud that they are earning not one but two international industry-recognized certifications this year—even in the midst of a pandemic.”
Alexander W., who completed the Web Designer and Remote Working Professional courses and earned the course certifications, discussed what he learned: “The Remote Working Professional course made me realize that I should definitely find my own space to have more room. I really like having a desk and everything. So I want to make sure I have that setup as well as a glass of water or whatever else I need to be successful when working on schoolwork or learning virtually at home. It also taught me the importance of maintaining a schedule, waking up at a certain time for class and making sure I get my work done. The school should definitely try to get this for all the future students. It most definitely helps prepare you.”
Another student, Christina C., talked about what she learned in the Remote Working Professional course: “The course taught me what it’s like to be in the workforce, such as how to be reliable, trustworthy and work well with other people. I think it is important to be cooperative with other people because in school we have to work in groups when learning online. And with remote working, you have to work with people.”
The Remote Working Professional Course includes an interview preparation module that teaches students how to answer the trickiest questions in job interviews and impress hiring managers. Cheyenne, another student, said one part of the module was especially helpful: “The part that stood out to me the most was learning how to answer the question, ‘Can you tell me about yourself?’ When I tried to answer this in a previous interview, I just shut down. I got the job, but it was a bad part of the interview. I now know how I would answer that question in the future.”
Stephen Hudson, Work-Based Learning Coordinator and Career and Technical Education Teacher for Brooklyn Boys and Girls High School, had this to say about the program: “I‘m not surprised that we are the originators and not the imitators. That is something that we’re very proud of, and I’m proud of Ms. Wardally for spearheading this activity to teach our students in-demand skills. We recognize that while employers are looking for technical skills, there are also soft skills and abilities that our students need to demonstrate. I like to refer to our students as diamonds in the rough. These courses and certifications take them through a process to refine them and prepare them for what they will need in a real-world situation. I’m ecstatic that we’re involved in this certification grant program. In fact, we’re going to have Ms. Wardally talk about this in our upcoming meeting with career and technical education central staff. We are so excited to announce that we are the first school in all of New York City to offer this course and certification program.”
Following the success of the students, the career and technical education team at the Boys and Girls High School met with Mark DuBois, Executive Director of the Web Professionals Organization, and Steve Waddell, lead developer of CTeLearning, to discuss the trends in web design and remote work that the students will now be able to take advantage of. Mark also took a moment to congratulate Tanya and her team for being the first in the country to take part in an innovative program of integrated certifications that can be built on each other.
The mission of the Web Professionals Organization is to support the whole professional. By teaching students valuable skills and not boxing them into a single career pathway, the association prepares professionals to change and adapt as industries and opportunities ebb and flow. The Web Professionals Organization and CTeLearning have been working together since 2013 on innovative courseware aligned to state and national standards that incorporates industry training that is crucial to create the next generation of professionals.