The Apex Program helps visually impaired people work in cybersecurity

Tapping into an underutilized talent pool to fill critical jobs in cybersecurity

The unemployment and underemployment rates are high for people with visual disabilities. This program is working to change those statistics.
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The unemployment rate is over 70% for people who are blind or visually impaired. To address this, and the equally high rate of underemployment in the population, a Wichita-based company has created a training and certification program in high-demand careers, including cybersecurity.

Our latest WorkingNation film – Empowering the Visually Impaired in Cybersecurity – takes a look at the Apex Program created by Paul Andersen, CEO of Novacoast, a cybersecurity company specializing in IT services and software development, and David Mayne, the director of the program.

Anderson and Mayne tell us that they designed the program to address the untapped potential in this talent pool with the goal of 100% job placement for everyone who goes through Apex.

In just 10 weeks, students obtain certifications in Network Plus and Security Plus programs, key skills for all cybersecurity professionals, roles with more than 600,000 openings nationwide.

The film shares Mayne’s own personal journey, as well as that of Curtis Jackson.

Mayne lost the vision in one eye after an auto accident. The father of four was unable to continue his previous job as a mortgage broker, so he went back to school and reinvented himself as a cybersecurity analyst.

Jackson, who has been blind since birth due to congenital glaucoma, found himself being labeled and placed in special education classes due to his blindness. Trapped in a low-wage telemarketing job, he was struggling to provide for his family. Through the program, he was able to secure a job as a cybersecurity position, becoming Novacoast’s first direct hire through the Apex Program.

The program is open to people who are blind, visually impaired, or have another disability, as well as to veterans.

This short documentary showcases triumph over adversity, highlighting the positive impact of embracing change and creating opportunities for the visually impaired in the cybersecurity field.

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Empowering the Visually Impaired in Cybersecurity was produced through the support of Google.org.

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