Roger Burns

Per Scholas Awarded Grant and Named 2021 Neighborhood Builders® by Bank of America

Per Scholas has been named as one of the 2021 Bank of America Neighborhood Builders® awardees for their work in the Columbus community addressing these issues. As a Neighborhood Builder, each organization receives a $200,000 grant over two years; comprehensive leadership training for the executive director and an emerging leader on topics ranging from increasing financial sustainability, human capital management, and strategic storytelling; joins a network of peer organizations across the U.S.; and gets the opportunity to access capital to expand their impact. The program continues to be the nation’s largest investment in nonprofit leadership development. 

 

“As communities continue to recover and navigate a changing landscape, nonprofits are still experiencing significant demands and are in need of resources to help meet critical local needs like economic mobility and workforce development,” said Kelly D’Ambrosia, President, Bank of America Columbus. “Per Scholas and National Church Residences Foundation are helping bridge important gaps for individuals and families to help them chart a path toward economic opportunity and stability. Programs like Bank of America’s Neighborhood Builders help these organizations grow sustainably and strategically for greater positive impact in the community.”

Check for Grant Award with Per Scholas Managing Director Noah Mitchell holding the check.

Per Scholas believes that a thriving workforce starts with equitable access to education. With this mission in mind, Per Scholas offers training for adult job seekers who have a passion and drive to enter the technology workforce. “With this grant, Per Scholas will form and operate the Tech Women of Color Alliance to increase the number of women of color who are trained and prepared to enter the tech industry,” said Noah Mitchell, Managing Director, Columbus. “Per Scholas is well-positioned to deliver skills women need to return to the workforce after COVID, in not just living wage jobs, but in thriving wage career pathways.”  Noah was recently featured in a story on WBNS with a focus on Per Scholas Columbus and what this award will do for the Columbus community.   

 

Since 2004, 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. Here in Columbus, seven nonprofits have been selected as a Neighborhood Builder, with the bank investing $1.4 million dollars into these local organizations through the program since 2018. 

 

The invitation-only program is highly competitive, and leading members of the community participated in a collaborative selection process to identify this year’s awardees. 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.

De’Juan L. Stevens

Per Scholas Learners Thrive with Learner Support Team & The Anthem Foundation

When our learners graduate from Per Scholas and launch their careers in tech, we are confident in their ability to succeed in their IT roles as they are well-rounded with technical skills, career development, and life skills brought on by our Learner Support Team.  Per Scholas created a national Learner Support Team at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, to ensure every learner across every campus could access these supports. A recent multi-year grant from the Anthem Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Anthem, Inc., will help us expand our national Learner Support Team and our ability to provide virtual wellness workshops, COVID-19 health education, and one-on-one mental health sessions, all to manage stress and anxiety during the pandemic and beyond.  As a result of this investment, Per Scholas aims to provide more than 5,250 learners across five states and six cities including in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, and New York with robust wellness, stress management, and benefit navigation services.

We’ve seen the impact of the Learner Support Team on learners including Franchelis Encarnacion and Travis McCullough, who both took advantage of this support.  

Since her childhood in the Dominican Republic, Franchelis was always intrigued by technology and working with computers. Her exposure to technology all began when her mother put her into a computer basics program at the age of ten that piqued her interest throughout her life. In 2021, Franchelis applied for the IT Support course at Per Scholas New York after obtaining her GED at The Door with her passion for technology in mind.  When she first started her training at Per Scholas, Franchelis was concerned that she couldn’t complete her training because everyone else had more experience, but her mentor from the Learner Support Team, Amanda, encouraged her to keep going and was a great point of reference for motivation. “As an ESL learner with Spanish as my first language, it was difficult for me to understand the tech verbiage, but I learned a lot of vocabulary through Per Scholas’ training,” she reflected.  

Franchelis took advantage of the Learner Support Team, a program supported through funding from the Anthem Foundation, multiple times throughout her IT Support cohort. Her interactions with Amanda were centered around course-related stress, test preparation, and confidence-building – all aspects which gave her the capabilities to graduate and now have a job in technology. Since graduation, Franchelis received her Google IT certification and is now working for BNY Mellon on the Returning Home project to help set up computers for those who need assistance. With mentorship and career guidance from the Learner Support Team, Franchelis was confident and skilled enough to move forward in her technology career. 

Another learner that took advantage of our Learner Support Team is Travis McCullough, a recent Per Scholas graduate from our IT Fundamentals cohort after months of remote training.  Previously a paralegal, Travis decided to change career paths and dive further into technology, something he always had an interest in. He would listen to tech podcasts and watch videos to take apart his personal computers but did not have the time, affinity, or money to obtain a four-year degree.  On his decision to apply to Per Scholas, Travis recalled, “I saw online with Per Scholas that everything was straightforward and approachable with no fine print. Per Scholas was here to help me learn at no cost. There were no surprises.”  

Per Scholas graduate, Travis, as someone who used the Learner Support Team.

Upon his first week of training, Travis was notified of the different resources Per Scholas provides for its learners – one of which he took advantage of as his training progressed.  Travis took advantage of Per Scholas’ Learner Support Team, and reached out to Devin, a Learner Support Manager, to review his financial plan and scholarship opportunities.  They met every two weeks to review different resources for financial planning, test anxiety, study tools, and IT engagement.  Travis recalled the impact his Learner Support Team had on his experience: “It was exactly what I needed; more than what I came to them for. The entire process was awesome.” Now, Travis has graduated, and a new career in IT is on the horizon.

Travis has already acquired his Google IT certification and graduated from Per Scholas at the end of July, tested for his CompTIA A+ certification, and will start his career in technology – where he already has multiple job offers to come his way.  Travis is excited for his future and credits taking advantage of the professional development aspect of his course and the Learner Support Team to reaching this point of his newfound career path – just like Franchelis.

Tuerei Williams

Per Scholas and Anthem Foundation Together Expand Learner Support Team

Funding will provide one-on-one support services for learners at six Per Scholas campuses across the country over next three years

 

New York, NY (August 3, 2021) – Today, national skills training nonprofit Per Scholas announced a multi-year grant from the Anthem Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Anthem, Inc., to expand its national Learner Support Team. Per Scholas, committed to increasing diversity within the tech sector, nationalized Learner Support at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. This grant will expand the tech training organization’s ability to provide virtual wellness workshops, COVID-19 health education, and one-on-one mental health sessions, all with the aim of managing stress and anxiety during the pandemic and beyond.

Through the three-years, with a $700,000 grant from Anthem Foundation, Per Scholas aims to provide more than 5,250 learners across five states and six cities including in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, and New York with robust wellness, stress management, and benefit navigation services.

“COVID-19 has exacerbated many of the physical and mental challenges that Black and brown individuals already face on a day-to-day basis, like career-related anxiety and stress around balancing their work and home life, as well as financial planning. At Per Scholas, we feel it’s our responsibility to support learners throughout their training journey, which is why we’re dedicated to offering robust wellness services as a way to help navigate these challenging times,” said Plinio Ayala, President and CEO of Per Scholas. “The Anthem Foundation’s commitment will provide vital support to thousands of Per Scholas learners over the next three years, ensuring they have access to not just the tech skills, but the life skills they need to secure a good-paying, middle-class career.”

Additionally, the grant will provide ongoing support to alumni who are two-years post-graduation. It is estimated 30 percent of learners will take advantage of the one-on-one individualized service, which will help to facilitate Per Scholas’ nationwide 80 percent placement rate, ultimately enabling learners and alumni from diverse backgrounds to secure quality careers in the tech field.

“Evidence suggests the lack of diversity in the tech industry, coupled with the pandemic’s economic consequences has impacted this disparity even more, which underscores the importance of addressing racial inequalities in the workforce,” said Felicia Norwood, EVP and President, Government Business Division, Anthem, Inc. “Through our collaboration with Per Scholas, we are working to create a more diverse workforce and build pathways to careers in technology for residents in our communities.”

Since the Learner Support Team began to offer its support nationally in March 2020, more than 600 learners have benefitted from quarterly expert panels featuring established speakers to explore the connection between wellness and professional success; weekly wellness and wealth building series to identify strategies, strengthen skills and build reflective personal practices; and opt-in one on one coaching. Coaching is learner-led and structured around goal setting and building plans to achieve them.

To learn more about Per Scholas and its nationally recognized tech training, now offered in 17 cities across the nation, please visit PerScholas.org.

About Per Scholas

Per Scholas is a national organization that has been advancing economic mobility for 25 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 17 major metropolitan areas, Per Scholas has trained more than 14,000 individuals in tech skills, building bridges to careers in technology. To learn more, visit perscholas.org.

About Anthem Foundation

The Anthem Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Anthem, Inc. and through charitable contributions and programs, the Foundation promotes the organization’s commitment to improving lives and communities. Through strategic partnerships and programs, the Foundation addresses the social drivers that will help create a healthier generation of Americans in communities that Anthem, Inc. and its affiliated health plans serve.  The Foundation focuses its funding on critical initiatives that make up its Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets: maternal health, diabetes prevention, cancer prevention, heart health and healthy, active lifestyles, behavioral health efforts and programs that benefit people with disabilities. The Foundation also coordinates the company’s year-round Dollars for Dollars program which provides a 100 percent match of associates’ donations, as well as its Volunteer Time Off and Dollars for Doers community service programs. To learn more about the Anthem Foundation, please visit http://www.anthem.foundation and its blog at https://medium.com/anthemfoundation.

The Return to Campus Begins

After nearly a year and a half of remote training, virtual camaraderie, and reminding people they’re on mute, Per Scholas campuses began opening their doors to welcome our learners back to in-person learning in July. Complete with social distancing and health and sanitizing protocols in place, Cincinnati, Columbus, and National Capital Region were the first of our seventeen campuses to host our cohorts in-person. This is the start of our beginning steps as we roll out an initiative to re-introduce our learners, national staff, and campus teams on-site. Don’t think we will forget what we’ve learned from the pandemic, though; Per Scholas mastered the art of remote training and will continue to use it to reach more individuals moving forward.  

Per Scholas learners on campus

The return to campus for our learners is an experience that won’t be taken for granted as we continue to monitor the health of those returning, wear masks, and provide sanitizer for all.  If there is one thing the pandemic and remote training taught us, it is that the resiliency of our learners and campus teams is unparalleled.  We know that our learners can take on anything—we’ve seen that from the many challenges learners overcome before even arriving at Per Scholas, throughout in-person training (pre-pandemic), and in the initiative and resilience everyone showed both when we went remote and now as we return to campus.

While it may have been great logging into Zoom from the comfort of home and wearing sweatpants as the bottoms of our professional attire, there is absolutely nothing that compares to the interaction and experience of in-person training at Per Scholas.  Per Scholas Cincinnati Managing Director Jay Dierig reflected that since returning, “Being back on-site has been a great experience for both our staff and learners. With tremendous effort and innovation, we made the pivot to deliver our courses in a remote environment, but there is nothing quite like the interaction, hands-on learning, and sense of community we can create with in-person experiences.”  Just as our learners will pave the way in the tech industry once they graduate, they will now pave the way for our organization as we transition back in-person for our national staff as well.  

Per Scholas learner in mask

The morale that in-person training has created is second to none after being virtual since March 2020. Jay Dierig has noticed that the learners and campus teams are thrilled to be back as they build career paths in technology and advance economic mobility.  “I’m delighted to be back in our beautiful building at Citylink and love to see the look of excitement on the faces of our learners each morning,” Jay mentioned.  “Providing a safe, inclusive, and inviting environment for our staff and learners will continue to be our top priority.” 

As we continue to welcome smiling faces back into our campuses across the country, we are eager to connect our diverse and skilled learners with leading businesses just as we have for the past 25 years. We’ll all miss reminding our colleagues they’re on mute at least once a day, but we think the trade off is worth it.  

Noah Mitchell Promoted to Managing Director, Per Scholas Columbus

Columbus, Ohio (July 28, 2021) – Noah Mitchell has been promoted to Managing Director of Per Scholas’s Columbus, Ohio campus, the national nonprofit announced today. 

Launched in 2012, Per Scholas Columbus has trained more than 800 individuals in a variety of technology courses, ranging from IT Support to Cybersecurity, Java Developer and beyond. More than 80 percent of Per Scholas Columbus graduates are currently working for Columbus-area businesses in technology roles at companies including TEKsystems, Nationwide, and Sage.  

“For me, it always comes down to our learners. I’m so proud of the way Per Scholas creates pathways that our learners can sprint through, creating opportunities to be the very best, and collaborating with our greater Columbus community to make an even bigger impact on the lives of individuals, their families, and our community,” said Noah Mitchell, Managing Director, Per Scholas Columbus. “Diversity, equity, and inclusion is very important to me, as well as to Per Scholas. Whenever we can eliminate barriers for people, it’s a worthwhile endeavor.” 

Noah has held a variety of positions with Per Scholas before this most recent promotion, including Site Director, Director of Strategic Partnerships & Learner Experience, and Manager of Career Advancement. He will lead a team of 12 Columbus-based staff and is currently hiring a Senior Manager of Recruitment and Admissions. 

With several IT Support courses underway, Per Scholas Columbus is actively recruiting learners for its next IT Support cohort, scheduled to start September 20. Applications are due September 9, and interested individuals can learn more here. Per Scholas’s Columbus campus is located downtown, at 112 Jefferson Avenue. 

To learn more about Per Scholas Columbus, visit www.PerScholas.org/Columbus.

About Per Scholas

Per Scholas is a national organization that has been advancing economic mobility for 25 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 17 cities, Per Scholas has trained more than 14,000 individuals in tech skills, building bridges to careers in technology. To learn more, visit PerScholas.org.

Tyler Rizzo

Amelia Garrison

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