When Marcus Romer was born with cerebral palsy, a brain disorder affecting the muscles, doctors told his mother and grandmother he might only live to 18.
At age 31, Romer was not only alive but working in his West Virginia town. He was a self-checkout host at the local Walmart, and his ambitions didn’t stop there.
From coworkers, Romer heard about the University of Denver’s University College Frontline Manager Leadership Program (FMLP), available to Walmart employees via the Guild Career Opportunity Platform™.
University College created the FMLP to address a widespread need for leadership development of frontline managers across industries like retail, hospitality, healthcare, and fast casual restaurants. The 12-week program is taught online, with a weekly live Zoom session. Students get individualized leadership coaching during the course and after it ends.
Coaching that makes the difference
Romer seized on the chance to improve himself through the FMLP and quickly enrolled. His advisor, Scott Wilbur, remembers how eager Romer was.
“He started the program and immediately reached out,” Wilbur says. “Marcus clearly wanted to do well, so, we worked together on a plan to help him be successful.”
Because of his cerebral palsy, Romer had trouble typing, so he took advantage of the opportunity to submit voice and video responses instead of written responses. Wilbur also worked one-on-one with him weekly to master certain concepts.
“He usually submitted his work early and was always looking for opportunities to improve,” Wilbur says. “There were challenges,” Romer agrees, “but with Scott helping me, I got the hang of it.”
This type of care and support is typical of the FMLP and programs across University College. Students enroll with diverse life and school experiences – not all of them positive—and the program meets them where they are, builds on their strengths, and clears the barriers from their path to success.
“I’m really thankful for what I got through the program,” Romer says. “It really opened my eyes and gave me a ton of good skills and information. It helped me find my voice.”
Romer isn’t stopping now. He’s bringing his new confidence to an online leadership program at Rio Salada College and ultimately wants to become a manager at his Walmart store.
To his FMLP team, he wrote a note that they now treasure: “You guys are amazing people. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for supporting me on this journey.”
It’s an illustration of the commitment the FMLP makes to empower each student to become the best leader manager they can be.