A Blueprint for Success

**ST. MICHAEL’S LEARNING ACADEMY** [www.stmichaelslearningacademy.com] (http://www.stmichaelslearningacademy.com) St. Michael’s Learning Academy (SMLA), located in Houston, is a private, certificate-granting school that provides industry-specific training for veterans and dislocated workers. The training covers SAP enterprise application software and other business subjects, medical subjects, and computer networking. SMLA also provides other career services such as resume writing workshops and mock interviews. SMLA is identified as a Tier 1 school by the Department of Defense (DoD), and is approved by the DoD Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA) program to offer certification programs/training to military spouses. SMLA recently secured a memorandum of understanding with Fort Hood and is currently offering SAP classroom training to soldiers. SMLA is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI); and approved by the Texas Workforce Commission – Career Schools and Colleges; the Texas Veterans Commission; the Texas Private School Accreditation Commission (TEPSAC); Workforce Solutions; DARS (Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services); and SAP University Alliance. The school strives to recruit veterans as students due to their motivation, discipline, commitment to serving, leadership skills, and willingness to learn. ###A VETERAN SUCCESS | KATHY MACKIE Kathy Mackie retired as a sergeant first class after 22 years in the United States Army. She is now an employment and student services specialist at SMLA. “My main responsibilities as an Army station commander included all aspects of ensuring the smooth operation of my assigned Army recruiting station,” said Mackie. “I directly supervised the station’s assistant center commander, the future soldier leader, and members of the engagement team.” In her recruiting role at SMLA, Mackie does more than just get new soldiers in the door. She also makes sure they are set up for success in the Army. And she serves as a liaison between the school and employers by helping students with their job searches. Mackie joined SMLA in August 2014. Since then, she has helped set up and coordinate networking initiatives with partners such as Dress for Success, Career Gear, American GI Forum, Goodwill, the Lotus Project, the Military Spouse Corporate Career Network, and the Women’s Veteran Business Center. Mackie is quick to say that her Army experience has paid off in the civilian sector. “My experience and training in the Army prepared me to meet challenges skillfully and generate positive change,” she said. “I am a detail-oriented professional with in-depth experience in HR, recruiting, customer service, and work force development. I use my communication and management skills on a daily basis in providing students a strategic blueprint for their job search. I firmly believe in the concept of networking and effective communication within the community with other veteran-service organizations.” What would Mackie recommend to a servicemember who is getting ready to find a career outside the military? “I would advise the person doing what I did in the military,” she said. “First, start deprogramming from the military language terminology by becoming immersed into the civilian community and learning the language of your desired field of employment. Set goals, be prepared for setbacks, be self-aware, and thrive now. Become flexible and think out of the box. Know your weaknesses and strengths. Pay more attention to your strengths and build on them; make the necessary adjustments toward your career. Know your path and know your truth.” Her time in the military helped hone Mackie’s personal skills. “I have always had a strong work ethic,” she said. “The military nurtured that work ethic and brought balance, order, and a system of organization for daily usage.” Mackie enjoys working at SMLA because she can serve the military. “My experience at SMLA has been great – assisting in fact-finding missions, brainstorming, and blueprinting to bring the best SAP training for soldiers and family members to Fort Hood,” she said. “My personal mission lines up with SMLA’s in providing the soldiers and veterans the SAP training that will set them apart in the job market.”