Washington HS trains students for IT careers- without college

Not every high school student goes to college. Yet that doesn't mean that those students don't have a chance to succeed in the working world. What it does mean, however, is that schools must think about more than just a strictly academic curriculum to prepare their students for life after high school.

One school that works to prepare all its students is Walla Walla High School in Walla Walla, Washington, which is among a growing number of traditional high schools providing vocational training for their students.

"Nearly 73 percent of our students may never complete college," said IT instructor Dennis DeBroeck."We needed to provide these students with a vocational program so they could gain employable skills and find a starting point for careers when they graduated."

DeBroeck, who launched his program nearly 16 years ago, has been using online lab simulations from TestOut to help his students prepare for careers in information technology/networking.

While maintaining an in-house computer lab was important, it was also very costly and time consuming. Trying to keep up to date with all of the myriad technologies students need to learn was especially difficult. With as many as 120 students each term, DeBroeck also struggled to measure how each student was doing - especially when students missed class and fell behind.

DeBroeck began using TestOut's online lab simulation software to gave his students the practical experience they needed. The LabSim lab simulations provide the hands-on learning, while the videos, practice exams and other instructional content supplement DeBroeck’s teachings in courses related to certifications such as A+, Network+, Security+, CCNA and MCSA.

DeBroeck reports that his students are coming out of the program ready to go right to work - they're getting jobs at companies such as Intel, Microsoft, and Chevron USA, with the vast majority getting those jobs right out of high school.