“The testing center makes a difference.”
So says Michael Hendricks, CEO of a local technology company, who singles out for praise the Testing Center at MCC’s Business & Technology campus.
Hendricks is a big believer in lifelong learning and employees expanding their knowledge base and skills. Serious wall space at his company, SureHosting Internet Solutions in Independence, is devoted to the idea: Framed certifications hang underneath pictures of each employee, including himself.
Current count: More than 200 certifications earned by the company’s 15 employees.
Hendricks wrote an article on LinkedIn about his experience implementing a certification program. “At one of our quarterly meetings,” he writes, “I opened my mouth and said I wanted everyone in the company to get a certification in 90 days. The look on everyone’s face was classic.”
Hendricks didn’t exempt himself, either. One thing he learned: Even seasoned employees can benefit from entry-level training. “I was surprised as I went through some of the entry Cisco and Microsoft training how many little things I picked up that were new concepts.”
And that gets us back to the importance of the testing center. Hendricks writes that one facility in Kansas City, which he doesn’t name, has a high-stress, institutional vibe. If you’re five minutes late, they’ll threaten to not let you take the test, he says.
That’s not the Testing Center at MCC-Business & Technology, however.
One day, running behind due to an issue with his 2-year-old, “I almost didn’t bother showing up,” Hendricks writes. “The lady that runs the testing (at Business & Technology) . . . said, ‘Hey, I raised kids, I get it, kick back a bit, relax, get ready, then we’ll pass this thing.’ ”
Hendricks added that MCC is “no less serious about adhering to rules of testing” but realizes that “life happens.”
In an email to Testing Center coordinator Dixie Burns, Hendricks said student services specialist Peggy Gann “has been amazing to work with” and “a fantastic face” for MCC.
Gann says that just automatically telling someone no is “not our style.”
“If we can accommodate a tester and we’re going to be open long enough for them to finish their test, we’re going to let them,” she says. “These are people that have real jobs in the real world. How they do in that job as far as advancement may depend on these certifications.”
“I was very proud of her,” Burns says of the email about Gann. “That’s just the philosophy we try to keep — we work with the tester as long as our schedule permits.”
Gann says the Business & Technology Testing Center started giving Pearson Vue tests to accommodate MCC students. MCC’s Cisco networking program, for instance, requires students to pass Cisco exams developed by Pearson Vue, a testing company that administers a variety of professional licensing and certification tests. MCC, as well as other testing sites around town, contracts with Pearson to proctor the exams. (Currently, Business & Technology is the only MCC campus that gives Pearson Vue exams.)
Many of the professionals who take IT certification tests, for instance, know the material because it’s what they do at work every day, Gann says.
Still, certification exams are typically difficult and may cost hundreds of dollars to take. “It can be a very stressful experience,” Gann says.
For better or worse, most testers leave a testing center with at least a preliminary score in hand.
The Business & Technology site also proctors a lot of teacher and insurance industry certification exams, as well as HiSET high school equivalency tests. (In Missouri, HiSET replaced the GED test in 2014.)
The Business & Technology Testing Center, with 20 computers, is also open beyond normal business hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 8 to 4 on Fridays. Earlier this year the center added Saturday hours, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. by appointment.
The MCC-Business & Technology Testing Center is in Campus Center 176. The campus is at 1775 Universal Ave. Kansas City, MO 64120. For more, call 816.604.5434 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.