St. Andrew Academy Program:
The St. Andrew Academy is an accessible IT and spiritual development training program designed and adapted for persons with disabilities. It’s goal is to enable meaningful employment and spiritual growth for our young Catholic candidates to help them achieve their life’s full potential in their career, and faith-life. The prototype program will be launched in Summer 2021 in the Archdiocese of Detroit and is built on successful secular pilot programs in the US and Europe. We intend to offer this program tuition-free to qualified candidates who should achieve globally recognized IT certification and meaningful jobs in less than a year. We are delivering this innovative program through the partnership and support of government groups, employers, community groups, Catholic Parishes and Schools, as well as service agencies.
We see this as an opportunity to transform lives, be beacon of hope, and demonstrate our faith in action.
We are bridging the vast potential of people with disabilities to in-demand job opportunities through an innovative IT academy. This program creates specific and certified skills to help meet the strong demand for cybersecurity and network technician roles.
This program prototype will be hosted in Livonia Michigan co-located with the Divine Mercy Academy on the St. Genevieve campus. We plan to recruit candidates from area Catholic Parishes and Schools. Our target candidates are students with disabilities who are unemployed, have 10th grade reading /math skills, interest in IT roles, and have IT aptitude.
We expect to complete technical training, achieve certification and secure an employment internship in less than a year. The program is expected to be provided at no cost to the students (funded through government, partner, and employer sponsorships), and is focused on entry-level IT skills leveraging the Cisco networking Academy. Target jobs are high paying network security analyst, and network technician roles.
The program will be delivered free of charge to eligible and qualified students through the generous support from Michigan Rehabilitation Services, the Knights of Columbus, Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church, community groups, area Catholic Parishes, Catholic and public schools, and area employers.
Our goal is to prepare and enable our candidates for a lifetime of success by providing valuable skills, work experiences, and spiritual growth to secure meaningful jobs and enable them for a lifetime of success. We are aligning partners who share our vision and mission for this program. All contribute to program success and all benefit from it.
Planned Curriculum and Certification:
We are leveraging the Cisco networking Academy curriculum and an innovative ecosystem to offer this "train to hire” IT inclusive Academy program specifically targeting people with disabilities.This innovative program is develops the employable skills for in-demand entry IT roles in less than a year.
We are also providing ready-for-work training Integrated with the technical training program for our candidates to succeed int the work environment. The ready-for-work program is being led by job coaches and guest speakers to enable our candidates to present their best self to their employers and in their workplace.
We are also offering our candidates a spiritual development program to progress in their relationship with their faith and the Lord. The spiritual development program is led by experienced Catechetical leaders, is built to include faith development best practices from the Catholic Church in the US and the Archdiocese of Detroit.
How it Will Be Delivered:
We are creating an ecosystem of capable, mission aligned organizations to deliver this program.
- Andrew Center Staff will lead and deliver the program.
- Cisco Systems will provide the curriculum, certification and testing process, and program advice.
- Michigan Rehabilitation Services will participate in the program to enrich the learning experience and support the program with State and Federal resources to enable us to deliver the program tuition free to accepted candidates.
- Area Employers will be engaged to be involved throughout to enrich the learning, provide support and hire candidates upon program completion, typically in an internship.
- Area Catholic Schools and Parishes will participate to support the spiritual growth, provide candidate referrals, and help arrange employer partnerships.
Following a Successful Model:
We are building the St. Andrew Academy based on a model and best practices from successful prototypes in several locations in the US and Europe. Additional details on this “Bridge Academy” model can be found at the website:
- Chronic unemployment a major challenge for people with disabilities.
- There is high demand for entry level ICT talent, and a lack of qualified candidates for many ICT jobs.
- The St. Andrew Academy is built on a successful model of bridging potential to opportunity.
- This program is impactful, scalable, replicable, and financially sustainable.
- Everyone benefits: governments, employers, service agencies, advocacy groups, and most importantly people with disabilities.
- Together we will transform the lives of people with disabilities and enable them for a lifetime of success in their job, career, and faith life.
For more information:
To request more information as a student candidate: Click Here
To apply for the program: Click Here
To request information on program sponsorship: Click Here
To request information on employer partnerships: Click Here:
The Problem we are Solving:
Employment rates for people with disabilities (PWD) remains chronically low while the overall employment rate (labor participation rate) is at historic high levels. Employers struggle to find talent, while many millions of people all over the world with disabilities are unemployed. Most people with disabilities want to work and are capable of significant roles but often lack the education, skills or experiences for meaningful jobs. As a result, the employment challenges for individuals continue and the overall labor participation rates for people with disabilities is not progressing.
To solve this skills gap, and to enable employment opportunties which can in turn transform their lives, we are building training academies that provide people with disabilities with certifed skills that lead to high paying jobs. Our initial prototypes leverage the Cisco Networking Academy program to develop employable skills and globally recognized certification that leads to a high paying job careers in information technology and security. The certification the students receive is portable to every major employment center globally.
Prototypes have been completed in several locations with transformative results. To date, over 160 people with disabilities have completed the programs in the prototypes in the US and Europe with average graduation and employment rates over 90%. This program unlocks the great potential of people with disabilities and creates a bridge to the significant opportunities in the IT industry. The program is delivered through an innovative community partnership ecosystem of governments, employers, service agencies and advocacy groups. Together we are transforming employment and people's lives.
Planning is underway for additional programs in additional employment centers in the US, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more information on how you can participate visit our website www.bridgetoopportunity.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Mission is to transform lives for people of all abilities.
We envision a world where all people are valued for their contribution and character and fully embraced in work, church, and society.
Our success is attributable to our fundamental principles:
- All are welcome: We empower people of all abilities. We believe it is equally wrong to neglect people with certain disabilities as to exclude people with any disabilities.
- Our Tent is Big: We seek the collaboration and partnership of all organizations that have a commitment to our mission over their personal or financial gain.
- Public participation and support: We welcome government groups to support, sponsor and participate throughout the program to allow us to deliver it tuition-free to candidates.
- Lifetime of Success: We seek to develop the whole person to be the best using their God given talents. We seek to develop the employment and spiritual potential of our candidates and enable them for a lifetime of riches.
- Employment Assured: We see the value in our own lives of having meaningful work and seek to assure employment for all our candidates by developing skills and work experience for in-demand roles. We believe certification is key to our success and develop a certified skill set which demonstrates potential and provides assurance to employers.
- All Benefit: We seek to ensure all our stakeholders and partners beneifit their mission, brand and finances. We partner generously and collaborate selflessly with leading organizations all over the world to achieve our mission.
People with disabilities are excluded from work, the church and society at alarming rates. We seek to empower, enable and include them in all aspects of society, thereby enriching their lives.....and ours.Questions and Further Information:
If you have questions, or would like more information please contact:
Patrick Romzek, email@example.com