When Robert S. Wallace suffered a knee injury that forced him to give
up his job as a physical education assistant, it could have spelled
disaster. But Wallace, 36, got a job as a salesman for a West Hills
office furniture company, which pays a better salary than his former
While recovering, Wallace learned of the Ross Business Institute,
a Burbank school that specializes in training people who are changing
professions or starting their own businesses.
Within six months, Wallace graduated from the institute with a
diploma in customer service and sales.
“The most important thing I learned was the confidence to go out
in the business world and find a job,” Wallace said.
Cathi Mauro, 43, was a successful licensed real-estate agent and
mortgage broker, but the work consumed her life. Mauro enrolled at
Ross and graduated with a diploma in sales management and marketing.
Today, she works a 9-to-5 job as an executive secretary for a
senior vice president of business affairs at Disney’s Buena Vista
Motion Picture Group.
Mauro said she is not making as much as she did in real estate,
but the trade-off is she gets to spend more time with her family,
which she said is worth more to her than money.
Like Wallace, the training and input from instructors at Ross gave
her a lot of confidence, Mauro said.
The institute, which opened its doors seven years ago and has
about 90 full-time students enrolled, offers short-term business
courses. President Susan Ross said her school, at 229 E. Palm Ave.,
is equivalent to two years of college. Students learn life skills as
well as technical skills, she said.
“We’re under the same strict accreditation as colleges and
universities,” Ross said. “Private colleges are mandated to place
their students. That’s how our accreditation is judged.”
Ross began her career in education when she taught preschool and
kindergarten in the private sector. She moved on to marketing and
admissions in private and vocational schools.
“After 15 years of that, I decided to open my own school,” Ross