Envision Partners with Novacoast to Pioneer Inclusive Employment Opportunities and Training | Envision Blog

Envision Partners with Novacoast to Pioneer Inclusive Employment Opportunities and Training

By Beth Walker • Mar 25, 2024
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In 2022, a groundbreaking partnership between Envision and Novacoast gave rise to the Apex Program, which aims to break down employment barriers for people who are blind or visually impaired. This initiative, spearheaded by Novacoast and supported by Envision's commitment to workforce innovation and inclusivity, focuses on providing accessible training programs and job placement tailored specifically for individuals with vision loss. The 10-week online training program gives students the opportunity to receive CompTIA Network+ and Security+ certificates. Four students have completed the program thus far, with 18 currently enrolled. 

As the primary partner in the Apex Program, Envision plays a pivotal role in its success.  Envision’s Director of Digital Accessibility, Mikah Pyykkala, and Envision’s Accessibility Analyst, Terese Goren, were instrumental in ensuring the program's software is accessible for people with vision loss. This included doing a full scan for accessibility and making sure that the program was compatible with screen reader software. Curtis Jackson, a prior employee of Envision who is blind, became the company’s first direct hire from the training program, now working at Novacoast as a Security Operations Center Tier-One Analyst. Jackson was given a scholarship by Envision to go through the program.  

Jackson recently shared his enthusiasm with the program, stating, “I want to learn everything I can. I want to keep advancing in the company, and I want to help other people get in and be able to do what I’m doing as well—whether they are blind or sighted. Hopefully, other companies will see this, and they will start doing the same thing, so that people can have opportunities all over—not even just the United States—but all over the world.” 

Anderson says he believes the connections brought to the organization by Envision will help expand the program’s reach and forecasts the program to grow throughout North America and Western Europe. “It’s a complete approach to technical training that reflects the standards we’ve set at Novacoast,” Anderson said of Apex. “We’ve discovered, when you fuel peoples’ potential with opportunities to learn and thrive, you fuel their future.”   

"By partnering with Novacoast and supporting initiatives like the Apex Program, we are actively dismantling stigmas and roadblocks that have long hindered employment opportunities for people who are blind or visually impaired,” shares Emily Hurst, Vice President of Foundation and Workforce Innovation at Envision. "Our commitment to inclusivity is critical to continuing our progress to provide more employment opportunities for people with vision loss. The results from this partnership will have lasting effects across the nation. We are grateful to Paul Anderson at Novacoast for being instrumental in partnering with us on this program.” 

Anyone who is interested in scholarship opportunities for the Apex Program can contact Mika Pyykkala at 316-440-1573 or mika.pyyhkala@envisionus.com. To learn more about the Apex Program, visit this link.