Caroline Cournoyer is GOVERNING's deputy web editor.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Virginia and Washington state high schools have just added something to their curriculums to help students' resumes standout in a tough job market: IT industry certifications. This fall, both states are offering computer technology training from Microsoft to public high school students so they can get certified in practical, marketable skills. The training can be integrated into new or existing curricula, and students can choose to learn basic computer skills or master more challenging matter like computer programming. Virginia has started the program in just 30 high schools and nine career centers but is hoping to expand it to all schools by the end of the year -- at an approximate cost of $1,300 per school. North Carolina was the first state to offer such a program last fall and has had more than 8,000 students become Microsoft-certified, according to Curt Miller, a career and technical education consultant for the state Department of Public Instruction.