The criteria includes a 2.0 grade-point average, 95 percent attendance, competency in reading and writing on the SAT 9 test, and extra curricular and volunteer work.
Students are selected based on their high school transcripts and SAT scores.
Students are also required to put together a portfolio and conduct a practice interview with a business member.
"It measures a well-rounded graduating senior," said Rick Johnson, school-to-career steering committee chairman.
He added, "We don't issue that to everyone."
Said Schoors: "It prepares them to go into the business world."
Imperial High School recipient Heather Jackson, 17, spoke about the steps required of the students to earn the certificate during the ceremony.
She said a benefit to the certificate is the portfolio she had to put together of her experience, resume and reference letters.
"I can take this portfolio wherever I go, and it can be easily revised and improved," said Heather.
Keynote speaker Martin Madden, chief executive officer of U.S. Data Source, urged the students to set goals, know their strengths and weaknesses and to have positive attitudes.
He encouraged students to be adaptable to change and to find a mentor to help guide them.
"Opportunity is no limitations," said Madden.
"If you abide by the law, this world is yours. There's nothing to stop you except yourself," he said.
Madden said his company is expanding to the Imperial Valley and he has been impressed by the employees he's hired so far.
"What I see in your community is something I haven't seen in over 30 years," he said.
Central High School recipient, Peter Barthelme, 17, said having earned the certificate "takes me to another level."
Peter said he has already used the certificate in his search for a summer job.
His advice to freshmen seeking the certificate is to "be prepared. Be ready for anything."
Melissa Rebik, 17, from Brawley Union High School, said, "It sums up all the things we've had to achieve and go through in high school."
Other Brawley seniors agreed.
Leleiana Moore, 18, said the certificate is "very significant because I know I can go out there and be prepared. I know what the employers are looking for."
Robert Fernandez, 17, added, "It means a lot, especially for people going out of the Valley. It shows how the community can come together to do something good for the high-schoolers."
The 172 students honored each received a lapel pin and certificate at the ceremony.
Staff Writer Laura MacKenzie can be reached at 337-3442.