Michael Herndon

BAC / Rockledge, FL


Michael Herndon never imagined he would find himself helping customers solve their problems one-on-one. He had excellent computer skills but talking to people was not something that came naturally. Now he relishes his role working with customers at the BAC Call Center, as well as assisting his co-workers with computer questions. His success is due in part to his training at LaunchIT, a partnership between Brevard Achievement Center (BAC) in Rockledge, FL, and Codecraft Works. The program combines Codecraft Work’s STEM-based learning approach with BAC’s wrap-around services for people with disabilities, including trainings on social interactions, workplace etiquette and how to position yourself through your resume and at a job interview. BAC President & CEO Amar Patel says, “Our ultimate goal is to provide a pipeline of highly qualified entry-level employees who are ready and willing to fill IT support roles, with both the technical and soft skills employers tell us they are looking for in team members with or without disabilities.”

With a degree in graphics technology, Michael still had trouble finding work, so he applied to the LaunchIT program, where he excelled at the computer skills and served as a mentor for other trainees. As he expanded his social and communications skills through the program, Michael pushed himself out of his comfort zone to become a customer service representative at the BAC Call Center. He points out how important his supervisors and co-workers have been to his success. He explains: “As long as you have a good support system, that’s also very important, especially for people on the spectrum who need that. It’s helped me more times than I can count.”

The LaunchIT training is a virtual six-month program geared towards veterans and adults with disabilities who have an interest in IT careers. The program offers two technical certification tracks led by the Codecraft Works team: Accessible Web Design and Development Specialist Track and IT Support Professional Track. The program is open to all SourceAmerica nonprofit agencies, veterans, and people with disabilities beyond BAC. Sue Bassett, the BAC LaunchIT Administrator, highlights one reason the program works: “Everyone who enters the LaunchIT program, they want to be there, and they want to be independent. They want to succeed.”