Per Scholas Celebrates $20 Million Investment from Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott
Per Scholas Celebrates $20 Million Investment from Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott
Transformational Investment Propels and Positions Tech Skills Nonprofit for National Future Impact
BRONX, New York (September 28, 2023) – Per Scholas, a national nonprofit committed to advancing economic mobility and unlocking potential through technology career training, today announced a $20 million investment from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.
Receiving this transformational investment from MacKenzie Scott, one of the most dynamic philanthropists in modern times, is a testament to Per Scholas' impact over our nearly 30 year history. As we've evolved from a computer recycler in the South Bronx to a technical skills trainer in 22 cities and counting across America, we are so grateful for this $20 million gift – the largest, unrestricted funding our organization has ever received. This investment will propel Per Scholas for even greater national impact well into the future, centered on growth and innovation and ensuring our alumni achieve a thriving wage through our Career Accelerator.— Plinio Ayala, President & CEO, Per Scholas
To date, Per Scholas has prepared more than 20,000 individuals across the U.S. for high-growth careers in technology by offering tuition-free, rigorous, 12- to 15-week training in the nation’s most in-demand tech skills. The evidence-based Per Scholas model has been proven in multiple gold-standard research studies, and on average, Per Scholas-trained technologists go on to earn three times their pre-training wage in their first job following graduation. All told, Per Scholas graduates have earned more than $2.4 billion in their post-Per Scholas careers, powering economic advancement in communities across the nation.
Per Scholas connects graduates to high growth careers through our network of 850+ employer partners, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to innovative startups, and supports alumni through the organization’s latest innovation, the Career Accelerator, which provides Per Scholas alumni short-term upskilling opportunities, in turn propelling careers. As a result, every dollar invested in Per Scholas results in at least $8 in net economic return.
I'd like to express my most heartfelt gratitude to Per Scholas staff, funders, employer partners, and supporters, who have believed in our mission to advance economic equity and increase opportunity through America's hottest sector - technology. While the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted life in ways previously unimagined, it presented the opportunity for Per Scholas to innovate a new delivery model, which proved so successful that we were able to scale our impact four-fold. I echo Plinio's gratitude to Ms. Scott - this $20 million investment will certainly position Per Scholas well into our next decade of unlocking potential.— Lewis Miller, Per Scholas Co-Founder and National Board Chair
Today, Per Scholas operates in 20+ U.S. markets including Atlanta, Baltimore, Greater Boston, Chicago, Greater Cincinnati, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Newark, New York, North Carolina, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, Seattle, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C. This investment will enable Per Scholas to continue to expand its training and talent solutions to additional communities across the United States, with the goal of training 10,000 learners per year by 2026.
About Per Scholas
For more than 25 years, Per Scholas has been advancing equity and increasing opportunity across America. Per Scholas unlocks potential for individuals, communities, and employers through rigorous training for careers in tech. Partnering with dynamic employer partners, from Fortune 500 companies to innovative startups, we are building sustainable and diverse talent pipelines, together changing the face of tech. With national remote training and campuses in 20+ cities and growing, Per Scholas offers tuition-free training in the most in-demand tech skills, including Cloud, Cybersecurity, Data Engineering, IT Support, Software Engineering, and more.
To date, more than 20,000 individuals have gained the skills to launch high-growth tech careers, earning three times their pre-training wage. Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging is in our DNA: 85 percent of Per Scholas learners are people of color, two in five are women, and more than half have a high school diploma as their highest education credential. Visit PerScholas.org and follow us on LinkedIn, X/Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
Meet Esther, Per Scholas Dallas Graduate & Technologist
Esther is just one of Per Scholas’ 20,000+ alumni. She’s a proud Per Scholas Dallas IT Support graduate and successful career switcher, living her dream of working in tech. Click below to hear her story and how she’s benefitting from the Career Accelerator – earning more stackable credentials to propel her tech career!
Per Scholas Baltimore’s Training and Development Featured in Technical.ly
Per Scholas Baltimore, led by Managing Director Jessica Diaz Council, was featured in Technical.ly Baltimore, highlighting their skills training and professional development aspects. The Baltimore campus holds mock interviews and headshot lounge sessions in addition to our tuition-free tech training.
The article also noted Per Scholas Baltimore’s efforts to close the diversity gap in tech and recent Bank of America Neighborhood Builders award and featured alumna LaLonnie Moseley’s story.
Per Scholas Baltimore Awarded Grant and Named 2022 Neighborhood Builders® by Bank of America
Per Scholas Baltimore has been named as a 2022 Bank of America Neighborhood Builders® awardee for their work in Baltimore and Greater Maryland. As a Neighborhood Builder, each organization receives a $200,000 grant over two years. In addition to the grant, Per Scholas Baltimore will receive comprehensive leadership training for the executive director and an emerging leader on topics including increasing financial sustainability, human capital management, and strategic storytelling. The program also enables Per Scholas and Innovation Works, the other Neighborhood Builder honoree, to join a network of peer organizations across the U.S. Neighborhood Builders® continues to be the nation’s largest investment into nonprofit leadership development.
“Organizations like Per Scholas and Innovation Works are the backbone of our local community—they work closely with individuals, entrepreneurs and community members to understand obstacles and develop programs and services that help eliminate the barriers to economic mobility,” said Janet Currie, president, Bank of America Greater Maryland. “It’s important that we direct capital and the necessary resources and training to help position these non-profits for long-term success as they continue to make a positive impact.”
Per Scholas Baltimore provides free technology training to residents of Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County and Howard County. Conveniently accessible by CityLink bus lines, the Baltimore-based organization offers cybersecurity certifications, professional certification programs for IT support, AWS Cloud certifications, TEKsystems training, and more. Through its no-cost training, graduates are able to transform their lives, gaining jobs with competitive salaries in the tech industry. In 2023, Per Scholas Baltimore will train 150 future technologists.
“Being named a Neighborhood Builder grantee is incredibly humbling and will enable Per Scholas to continue to advance economic mobility right here in Charm City,” said Per Scholas Baltimore Managing Director Jessica Diaz Council. “Our graduates go on to earn three times their pre-training wage—increasing opportunity in the city we love.”
The invitation-only program is highly competitive, and organizations are selected by a committee comprised of community leaders and past Neighborhood Builders honorees.
Since 2004, through its Neighborhood Builders program, Bank of America has partnered with 31 nonprofits in Baltimore, investing $6.2 million to provide economic mobility opportunities within the Baltimore area. Through 2021, Bank of America has invested over $280 million in 50 communities through Neighborhood Builders, partnering with more than 1,400 nonprofits and helping more than 2,800 nonprofit leaders strengthen their leadership skills. Neighborhood Builders is just one example of how Bank of America deploys capital in communities, builds cross-sector partnerships, and promotes socioeconomic progress as part of its approach to responsible growth.
Per Scholas Baltimore Partners with Train Up
Alongside 16 other organizations, Per Scholas Baltimore recently received a groundbreaking grant from the Baltimore Mayor’s Office of Employment Development (OED) as part of the Train Up initiative. The initiative provides free job training for unemployed and underemployed Baltimore City residents impacted by COVID-19 and is funded through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). It is
Per Scholas Baltimore will enroll 45 Baltimore City residents participants annually in our cost-free tech training, ensure that at least 75 percent of our learners will complete training, and connect at least 80 percent of our graduates into family-sustaining careers paying a minimum of $15 per hour. All participants completing training will obtain at least one industry-recognized credential.
In regard to Train Up, Baltimore City Mayor Brandon M. Scott stated, “I look forward to working closely with the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development as we increase access to opportunity, promote local job growth, support low-income households, benefit historically underinvested neighborhoods and create wealth in Black and Brown communities.”
As Per Scholas Baltimore prepares Baltimore City residents for careers in technology, a high-growth industry, we will also provide our learners with career coaching and business and professional development. Upcoming courses offered at our campus in Little Italy can be found here.
“We are grateful for the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development’s investment in Per Scholas Baltimore, which will enable us to continue to serve Baltimore City residents with no-cost technical training,” stated Per Scholas Baltimore Managing Director Jessica Diaz Council. “We are actively trying to change the face of the tech workforce nationally, but also locally. If you are a company that serves the people of Baltimore, then you should be employing local talent. We’re committed to increasing access and creating opportunities for individuals who aspire to work in tech because we truly believe that the right career changes everything. The Train Up program will allow us to do just that.”
To learn more about the Train Up program from the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, click here.
Per Scholas Baltimore’s Growth Noted in Technical.ly
Per Scholas Baltimore‘s growth in 2022 was featured in Technical.ly. The feature mentioned our Nicholas Kristof Holiday Impact Prize and the impact the funding will have on our reach for tuition-free tech training.
With the additional funding, our cohort will double in size from 25 to 50 individuals. “Folks who have participated in our courses go back and tell others how we’ve changed the trajectory of their careers or opened up opportunities for them,” said Jessica Diaz Council, who recently joined Per Scholas as Baltimore’s Site Director.
To read the full article, click here.