Andrew Rathod, graduate of the College of Staten Island’s Office of Workforce Development and Innovation Pharmacy Technician program, will be one of eight workforce students in New York State to receive the 2021 Vanguard Award, issued by the Nontraditional Employment & Training Program (NET), University at Albany, SUNY. Rathod will also be the first CSI program completer to receive the award.

The Vanguard Award is a prestigious honor bestowed upon students enrolled in Career and Technical Education programs that are not traditional for their gender. According to the NET Program, non-traditional professions are those in which one gender represents fewer than 25% of the individuals employed in that field.

Rathod was nominated by his Pharmacy Technician program instructor Carlos Linares, whose goal was not only to acknowledge Rathod as a nontraditional student by gender in CSI’s Pharm Tech program, but to also recognize him for excelling in a workforce development program and quickly attaining post-program employment by big pharmacy chain and pharm tech employer, CVS Pharmacy, all while pursuing his longer-term career aspirations in another nontraditional role for males, registered nursing. 

When asked about his pursuit of the non-traditional occupations, Rathod states: “The Pharmacy Technician Program was the first step towards pursing my long-term dream of a career in nursing. Nursing, like the role of a pharmacy technician, is a nontraditional role for a male, but I have confidently taken steps towards achieving my dream and not allowed anything to stop me.”

The Office of Workforce Development promotes all students’ successes, especially those in special populations, like nontraditional students by gender. To learn more about CSI’s Office of Workforce Development programs, visit its Website at

By Catherine McLaughlin and Lisa Spagnola