07:50 AM

Breaking the Cycle Overlooked Population has Free Opportunity to Start Own Business

The University of St. Thomas-Houston will soon offer those with physical, intellectual and development disadvantages (PIDD) access to a FREE workshop series to become entrepreneurs. The series, “Grace,” will accept applications this summer for a fall 2022 start. This program is open to adult learners.

What is PIDD?

“PIDD” refers to people with physical (P), intellectual (I), and developmental (D) disabilities (D). Examples include but are not limited to intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, and spina bifida.

Program Springs from International Partnership

The workshop series sprung from a recent partnership with the International Council of Universities in the Spirit of St. Thomas Aquinas (ICUSTA) sister school Universidad del Norte de Santo Tomas de Aquino in Argentina. UST in Houston and UNSTA are members. Because UNSTA has created similar programming for people with PIDDs, UST reached out for assistance building a program with some of UNSTA’s curriculum.

UST President Richard Ludwick said, “It is our mission, as part of God’s family, to help students find their gifts, especially those in society who are often overlooked. To offer this hallmark workshop at no cost makes it more special.”

Workshop Details

This Houston workshop, “Grace,” is taught by Dr. Patrick Woock, director of UST’s McNair Center for Entrepreneurism and Free Enterprise and Dr. Tera Torres, Program Chair of UST’s Associates of Applied Science in Pragmatic Studies. UST will conduct 10 three-hour modules over three months. Students will learn digital and video creation skills, storyboarding, interviewing, idea pitching, business finance and business modeling.

Benefits of Attending the Workshop

“This workshop to start your own business is not a degreed academic program,” Torres said. “Workshop attendees will learn valuable entrepreneurial skills while they earn a certificate of completion. Participation is open to people with PIDDs in the community at large.

“Having an opportunity to enroll and participate in this 10-hour workshop will inspire and empower these students who want a chance to be part of society and the community they live in,” Torres said. “This workshop offers one more layer of hope for many who just want a chance to grasp the brass ring.”

Apply to Attend the Workshop

Contact Dr. Patrick Woock at woockp@stthom.edu or Dr. Tera Jean Torres at torrest@stthom.edu.