Media Highlights

Per Scholas Joins Opportunity Nation’s Coalition

by Jessicah White   •  

Per Scholas, a national nonprofit that leverages technology to promote the economic security of low-income, un- and underemployed Americans, believes that one of the most effective antidotes to poverty is access to good jobs. We fight poverty not just by putting people to work in any job, but by helping people embark upon well-paying IT career paths where they can realistically hope to join (or rejoin) the middle class. With a national unemployment rate hovering around 7%, and rates of joblessness in many communities three or four times that number, the U.S. needs many more options to promote the economic well-being of all its residents.

Per Scholas is based in New York City with additional offices in Columbus, Cincinnati, and Greater Washington DC opening in 2014. Founded in 1994, we offer free, high-quality technology education, job training, placement and career development opportunities to people in underserved communities. The Social Impact Exchange recently named us one of the top 100 nonprofits creating proven social impact in the U.S.

We believe that good jobs are key to social and economic mobility. We also believe in results. Eighty-five percent of Per Scholas’ 400+ annual enrollees graduate, 85% of those graduates earn an industry recognized certification (the CompTIA A+), and 80% of our graduates land jobs with average wages between $13-14/hr (approximately $28,000 annually). The wages of our graduates go up an average of 30% one year into employment. This is incredible, considering that individuals who enter Per Scholas have average annual earnings of less than $8,000 prior to attending classes. This equates into a minimum Rate Of Investment of $7.6 million in wages alone after all have been working for one year. If other positive changes are factored in – such as the affect a good job has on an individual and a family, the effects on local communities are huge.

To achieve these outcomes, we partner with businesses that rely on IT (information technology) and tailor the job training to fill the well-paying, skilled roles that exist in local economies. Our curriculum in Columbus and Cincinnati is not exactly the same as it is in New York City or how it will look in Washington DC. This approach means a win-win scenario for all involved — and one that illustrates how workforce development can work well. Our corporate partners include Barclays, JPMorgan Chase, Bloomberg, Capital One, Prudential, and many more. Our partners are unique in that they provide not just generous funding, but also advise our curriculum, make in-kind donations of technical equipment, volunteer, and hire our students.

Per Scholas is honored and excited to join the Opportunity Nation family. We’ve been impressed by and now rely on the Opportunity Index, a unique measure of a community’s economic, educational and civic health, as we conduct feasibility studies in new potential markets. With partnership and collaboration — with local employers, government, and other community-based organizations — as key factors in our success, we welcome future opportunities to join forces with other Opportunity Nation coalition members in expanding access to the American Dream. So if you’re in New York, Columbus, Cincinnati, Greater Washington, or interested in bringing Per Scholas’ IT-Ready training to your community, please reach out!

Jessicah White

Director of Development & Communications, Per Scholas

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