Nikia Smith

Per Scholas Awarded $1 Million Grant from JPMorgan Chase to Scale Apprenticeship Program

Per Scholas is excited to announce that we received a $1 million grant from JPMorgan Chase to help expand apprenticeship opportunities for learners and scale programs for in-demand occupations.

We are one of four organizations to receive the philanthropic commitment totaling $3.5 million. This commitment will support Per Scholas in developing and piloting a new cybersecurity apprenticeship initiative, which addresses a critical labor shortage while testing a sustainable, innovative, earn-and-learn approach to achieving economic mobility.

“We are incredibly grateful for this generous investment, which will increase our impact and create economic mobility for thousands of individuals in communities across the country, including an anticipated $80M generated in first-year wages for new cyber technologists historically underrepresented in the cybersecurity space,” said Per Scholas President & CEO Plinio Ayala. “We are excited to partner with employers across the country to make this program a success and help close the cybersecurity skills gap.”

This support will also help us expand our existing suite of cybersecurity training programs to reach more learners annually, recruiting unemployed and underemployed talent from Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, Newark, St. Louis and Greater Washington region.

Read the full press release here.

Tom Vranas

Lupe Czerwinski

Per Scholas Chicago Selected as Finalist for Chicago Innovation Awards

We’re thrilled to announce that Per Scholas Chicago, led by Senior Managing Director Andi Drileck, has been selected as a finalist for the Chicago Innovation Awards

As a Top 100 Finalist, Per Scholas Chicago is also a candidate for the People’s Choice Award! Voting is open until October 17, 2023. The People’s Choice Award winner will be celebrated alongside the other 20 winners at the 22nd annual Chicago Innovation Awards on November 16th at the UIC Forum.

To select Per Scholas Chicago for the People’s Choice Award, click the link below and scroll to the 7th page of nominees. 

Click here to vote for Per Scholas Chicago!


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 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 Chicago Featured in Crain’s Chicago Business

Crain’s Chicago Business featured Per Scholas Chicago in a recent article, “Career readiness programs score wins for job seekers and employers,” highlighting Per Scholas as a program that is actively and successfully training learners to launch their careers in tech.

Per Scholas Chicago has been open since June 2020 and has graduated more than 250 diverse learners. “We’re trying to diversify the tech sector. Sometimes it feels like baby steps, quite frankly,” said Per Scholas Chicago Senior Managing Director Andi Drileck. “We’re making a big effort, but there is a really long way to go.”

Read the full article here.

Per Scholas Chicago Celebrates Graduates and Hosts Open House

In early October, we held an Open House at Per Scholas Chicago – the first since opening our doors in the Windy City in June 2020. At our celebratory event, we held a graduation ceremony for our recent End User Desktop Support+ graduates and tour of our facility. 

Per Scholas Chicago graduates

Since launching Per Scholas Chicago in partnership with TEKsystems, we have trained 230 learners for high-growth careers in tech. During our Open House event, we were honored to have Congressman Danny K. Davis, U.S Representative of the 7th District of Illinois in attendance and speak to our graduates. Additional speakers included CompTIA President and CEO Todd Thibodeaux as our keynote speaker, TEKsystems Director of Business Operations Roger Cantu, and Per Scholas Chief Development Officer Caitlyn Brazill. 

CompTIA President and CEO speaking

We were thrilled to hear from Per Scholas Chicago graduate and Advisory Board member Veronica Vergara on her experience and to have Per Scholas Senior Managing Director Andi Drileck acknowledge the hard work and dedication of our graduates. 

Following the graduation ceremonies and remarks, there was an Open House that included networking and checking out the Per Scholas Chicago campus. We look forward to advancing tech careers for more graduates in our Chicago community and connecting our learners to our partners like TEKsystems in the future.


Per Scholas Chicago Establishes Advisory Board

Per Scholas Chicago Establishes Advisory Board
Leaders from Fortune 100s, Technology, Nonprofit, Professional Services Contribute to Transform America’s Tech Workforce

Per Scholas Chicago Advisory BoardCHICAGO, IL (October 6, 2022) — Per Scholas Chicago today announced the creation of its inaugural Advisory Board. Leaders from Fortune 100 companies, technology, professional services and the nonprofit sector will contribute their time and talent to supporting Per Scholas and its mission to transform America’s technology workforce through rigorous tech skills training.

Inaugural Per Scholas Chicago Advisory Board Members include:

  • Charles Herman, Managing Director, Executive Search & IT Direct Hire Enterprise Delivery, The Judge Group
  • Sandee Kastrul, President and Co-Founder, i.c. stars
  • Gwendolyn McNutt, Regional External Affairs Manager, Comcast
  • Veronica Vergara, Application Development Associate, Accenture and Per Scholas Chicago Graduate
  • Anna Witler, Vice President, Sales Integration, CDW

Since launching in Chicago in June of 2020, Per Scholas Chicago has trained nearly 230 learners in in-demand skills including IT Support, End User Desktop Support, AWS re/Start, and Full Stack Java Developer.

“Per Scholas Chicago is delighted to launch our inaugural Advisory Board with visionary leadership from Charlie, Sandee, Gwendolyn, Veronica, and Anna. We’re committed to training best-in-class tech talent and being a contributing member of the powerful tech ecosystem here in Chicago,” said Andi Drileck, Per Scholas Chicago Senior Managing Director.

Aligned with Per Scholas’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, 4 in 5 Chicago learners are people of color and a third identify as women. In 2022, Per Scholas Chicago is on track to train 120 learners in a variety of skills for high-growth tech careers including IT Support, AWS re/Start, and End User Desktop Support.

Locally, Per Scholas Chicago is generously supported by Building Better Futures. To learn more about Per Scholas Chicago, please visit

The Per Scholas Chicago Advisory Board will participate in a celebration of the Chicago campus on October 14, 2022. To learn more and RSVP, click here.

 About Per Scholas: Per Scholas is a national organization that has been advancing economic mobility for 27 years. Through rigorous training, professional development, and robust employer connections, we prepare individuals traditionally underrepresented in technology for high-growth careers in the industry. We partner with leading employers to build more diverse talent pools, directly connecting our graduates to new career opportunities at businesses ranging from Fortune 500 companies to innovative startups. With campuses in 19 cities, Per Scholas has trained more than 17,000 individuals in tech skills, building bridges to careers in technology. To learn more, visit and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Charles Herman


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