- Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission
Media Contact for MRC Launches Cybersecurity Training for People With Disabilities In Massachusetts
Colleen G. Casey, Director of Communication
BOSTON (September 22, 2020) - This month, the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) launched its Fall 2020 Technology Academy Program at Roxbury Community College. The first of its kind in the state, the program was piloted in February 2020 at Holyoke Community College, and following the success of the students in the pilot, MRC is replicating the model at Roxbury Community College in partnership with The Spaulding Rehabilitation Network.
Individuals who are eligible to receive services through MRC have the opportunity to participate in the program and get trained in cybersecurity, an in-demand skillset for today’s workforce. The Technology Academy also works to secure students an internship with an employer, supporting them on their path for full-time employment. Upon completion of the program, participants earn a certificate in Cisco Cybersecurity.
“Together we are re-envisioning employment and people's lives,” said MRC Commissioner Toni Wolf. “In the wake of COVID-19, our perspective on what is possible for remote work is expanding on a daily basis, particularly how resilient and adaptive people with disabilities are and the transformative thinking on the future of work. These students have the opportunity to obtain college credit and their Cisco certification, nationally recognized and highly sought-after workplace credential by individuals and area employers. This will give these students the needed leverage to enter a high paying industry.”
Despite the semester taking place during the COVID-19 pandemic, students who participated in the pilot at Holyoke Community College persevered and have been successfully training remotely.
“Holyoke Community College (HCC) and the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) have long worked together to help individuals pursue their educational and career goals,” said Jeff Hayden, Holyoke Community College vice president for business and community services. “The partnership to deliver the Technology Academy program to MRC clients is aimed at giving individuals the skills they need to enter a career field that pays well and offers numerous opportunities for growth and advancement. HCC believes in access and equity for all, but most importantly, success for all."
“Roxbury Community College is thrilled to partner with the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission to offer the Cisco Certified Network Associate Training Program,” said Dr. Valerie Roberson, president of Roxbury Community College. “Students who complete the program will gain both the technical competencies needed for a successful career in cyber security and network administration and the soft skills that are paramount to long-term professional success. We look forward to launching this fully-online program in September.”
“While the current environment brings many challenges, we have consistently been adaptive to finding ways to overcome barriers both real and perceived to enable the community with disabilities to have opportunities for skill and workforce development that can lead to placements such as our the innovative JobLab collaboration,” said Oz Mondejar, senior vice president of mission and advocacy, Spaulding Rehabilitation Network and Partners HealthCare at Home. “This partnership with like-minded organizations, is exactly the types of public-private partnerships that will see us through this time and beyond to enable people to continue to seek new career opportunities.”
The Technology Academy program was made possible through the collaboration of public and private partnerships. Frances West, founder of FrancesWestCo worked with the MRC to create a technology-based employment strategy and enlisted Patrick Romzek of Three Talent, a business executive who has deep experience in creating technology academies for people with disabilities. There are plans to execute additional programs across the Commonwealth and replicate the model to other organizations.
Massachusetts continues to be a global leader in the field of placing people with disabilities into jobs and careers and MRC plays a pivotal role. This year marks the 100th anniversary of Vocational Rehabilitation and the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, major milestones which the Commonwealth has commemorated.
To learn more about the MRC and the services the agency offers, please visit www.mass.gov/mrc.