Beacon Academy Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the Academy program.

If your question is not answered below or you would like more information, please contact Steve Muller at smuller@beaconcollege.edu or call 352-801-0064.

  • What is Beacon Academy?
    Beacon Academy is a registered Cisco Networking Academy. Beacon Academy is a program developed in partnership between Beacon College and Three Talents. Three Talents has helped architect similar successful programs around the world. This program uses the Cisco Networking Academy curriculum and program. Our goal is to train adults with disabilities on skills that are in high demand by local companies. Beacon Academy is offering IT training to local individuals with disabilities that will result in a globally recognized technology certification (CCNA – Cisco Certified Network Associate) with a focus on cybersecurity.
  • Does the program focus on one primary disability?
    No, we do not focus on only one disability. We welcome students with all disabilities into our programs, and provide the necessary accommodations based on their disability.
  • How long is the training program?
    The program will have about 40 weeks of hybrid-model classroom-based and virtual instructor-guided training, followed by a 3-month internship with a local company. Courses are instructor-led and include lab time and self-study.
  • Does it include soft skills training?
    Yes, Beacon Academy includes both technical training, lab work, some work experience, and ready for work training. The ready for work training includes the development of soft skills to enable our candidates to succeed in the workplace.
  • What are the qualification requirements?
    Interested candidates must have a documented disability, have a HS diploma or GED by May 2021 in order to apply and compete for a seat in the training program. Individuals should have demonstrable interest in technology and a minimum 10th grade math and reading comprehension. They must be able to commit to an intensive 40-week, full-time training program, and be legally authorized to work in the USA.
  • What is the cost of attendance?
    For most students, tuition will be paid by a combination of public and private funding. Students will be responsible for certain fees, and their living and travel expenses.
  • Are the students trained to work on Cisco equipment only or primarily?
    No, Beacon Academy trains students in digital literacy, general IT, networking, and cybersecurity. Our training is independent of the technology platform and adaptable to technology from multiple vendors.
  • What jobs are the students prepared for?
    The students who complete the full program receive certification as a Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), with a training credential in cybersecurity. They are qualified for network security analyst, or information security analyst, or cybersecurity analyst roles. The job title varies by employer but all of these roles are similar.

    Some students may not complete the full program, and those who exit early will be certified with a lower level certification that will enable them for IT technician jobs.

  • How long is the recommended internship at the end of the program?
    Most internships last three months. Some employers prefer apprenticeships, rather than internships. The difference between an apprenticeship and internship oftentimes is duration (internships typically run three months, apprenticeships typically one to two years), and pay (internships typically provide full pay, apprenticeships typically partial pay).
  • Are the internships paid? If so, by whom?
    Yes, most internships are paid at near full pay for three to four months. Employers pay these salaries.
  • What role do the partners play?
    Partners play a critical role throughout the program. We seek to engage employment partners from the start of the training so they can participate in, and enrich the training throughout. We ask partners to participate as “guest lecturers”, host site visits to their facility for the students, and participate as interested in our advisory or steering committee. The goal of this program is full employment. Employment partners are critical to our success.
  • What kind of results has this program achieved?
    Beacon Academy has partnered Three Talents and is leveraging its very successful Bridge to Opportunity program. Other organizations in the US, Europe and Africa that have set up very similar programs with multiple cohorts. These previous programs have included nearly 200 student graduates with employment rates over 80%.
  • What support systems do Employer Partners need to have in place for hiring managers, the employee with a disability, and their peers?
    We recommend employers have an inclusive hiring strategy, employee training, and employee support for employees with disabilities. We also encourage a disability-focused employee resource group to help build the inclusive culture and employee support. We want every one of our Employer Partners to have the most supportive and conducive work environment to ensure our candidates succeed. Most Employer Partners have inclusive hiring policies and support systems in place. However, if they do not, we can recommend organizations that can help build these practices. We can also advise which practices to have in place, and the partners that can help, but we do not directly provide inclusive employment consulting services directly.

More Information

Florida Abilities and Inclusion Network
Cisco Networking Academy
Bridge to Opportunity
3 Talents Advising, LLC
Tri Partners, Inc.