A Bright Education and Future for Foster Care Youth

“The University of St Thomas is committed to cultivating and catalyzing opportunities to nourish substantive growth, particularly for those in most need,” Dr. beena george, UST’s Chief Innovation Officer, said. “We are very pleased to be partnering with at both local and global levels to bring the Cisco Networking Academy to Houston’s foster care community.”

Project lead for the Pilot Program, Dr. Brandon Greensaid, “Relationships are essential for teams, organizations, and individuals to succeed. The development process was a learning and networking experience. We had to research and educate ourselves on the Cisco Networking Academy and the foster care system. Once we pulled together all of our personal and professional resources, we were able to hit the ground running for the development of the Cisco Networking Academy Program at UST.”

One of the members of the cohort is 24-year-old ronald smith. He believes this is the opportunity that will give his life direction. Until now, Smith had only found employment at dead-end, low-paid jobs in the fast-food industry. He knew he wanted to work with computers from an early age.

“At home, before my mom passed away, she used to fix the computer. I would see her and follow her steps, and I realized I liked solving equations and problems,” said Smith.

Through its Networking Academy, Cisco is donating the curriculum that will allow students to develop a working knowledge of IP addressing schemes and foundational network security. The positions in this field include network administrator and network designer with a potential annual salary of up to $78,000.

According to Cisco, education should not be limited only to those who can pay for it.

“As community leaders it is our collective responsibility to power an inclusive future for all – where no one is left behind,” he said Guy Dierich, Cisco’s SVP & Global Innovation Officer. “We are proud to partner with UST and St. John Methodist Church to offer this opportunity for disadvantaged members of our community to receive training in high-quality digital skills that are desperately needed in today’s labor market.”

Rudy Rasmus, a pastor at one of the partners of this program, St. John Methodist Church leads three non-profit organizations that empower foster care youth. These organizations will connect these youngsters to be enrolled in the program.

“All these students want is an opportunity. They have been discouraged and disappointed so much in their lives. There is a lower expectation in terms of what life has to offer. We find that the moment an opportunity is presented, a step is taken by the students. They are really ready,” said Rasmus.

“UST is always looking for ways to advance the human potential,” UST President Richard Ludwick added, “Guided by an imperative to honor the dignity of each human person, we are eager to enter into this pilot. It combines teaching the latest technological skills to students with our impulse for Catholic social teaching. That’s a win for the student, society , and all involved.”

If you want to learn more about the program, visit: https://www.stthom.edu/Academics/Cisco

About University of St Thomas
University of St Thomas is a comprehensive university, grounded in the liberal arts. Committed to the unity of all knowledge, UST offers programs in the traditional liberal arts, professional, and skilled-based disciplines. Graduates of the University of St Thomas think critically, communicate effectively, succeed professionally, and lead ethically.

SOURCE University of St. Thomas-Houston

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