Tania Southern

Insight Into Our 2022 Training Cohorts

Another year of growth is on the horizon for Per Scholas!  November 29 marks the day applications open up for our upcoming training tracks with plenty of new additions and a larger reach for our cost-free training.  In 2022, expect to see expanded offerings of our most popular courses on more campuses.

Per Scholas Location card

In 2022, Per Scholas will offer our AWS re/Start, Cybersecurity, and Software Engineering curriculum in more locations than ever before as we enroll more technologists in our cost-free training and continue to diversify the tech industry.  In our Dallas market, the new year will bring in more learners as we expand to train learners in Collin and Tarrant counties.  Our Per Scholas Charlotte campus is extending out to become Per Scholas North Carolina with a partnership with Wilkes Community College.  We will train 1,000 New Yorkers through 2022 throughout the five boroughs since we launched our satellite model in Staten Island and Queens.  Additionally, you can expect to see a cohort launched in our National Capital Region (NCR) campus that is designed to support women learners.  This cohort will feature 15 spots for female technologists to pursue a career in technology and launch in February 2022. Our Per Scholas NCR Managing Director Diane Duff spoke with Michaela Althouse at Technical.ly DC to discuss the cohort and how Per Scholas will advance women in technology with this training.  “A thriving wage is critical to being able to participate in the workforce,” Duff said. “I mean, particularly for women, if you are not making enough money to support your household, what are we talking about?” 


Stay tuned to learn more about the launch dates and locations of all of our cohorts and our admissions process by visiting our website.  Reach out to [email protected] with any questions on our upcoming training as we train more learners than ever before in 2022!

Tom Whiteside

Jason Cancino

Per Scholas in the News – September 2021

September was a busy month for Per Scholas!  We were featured in various media outlets that showcased our President and CEO Plinio Ayala and the impact of a few of our seventeen locations.  Did you read the OpEd Plinio Ayala wrote for New York Daily News on the job market and how creating a more inclusive labor market for employers and employees is beneficial for the country or see that Per Scholas was named a top tech program preparing youth to build the future in Baltimore?  Per Scholas Newark also made waves in September in the headlines striving for job equity while one of our Dallas graduates was featured in Parade Magazine.


Plinio Ayala penned an opinion piece for New York Daily News on creating a more inclusive labor market for employers and employees. “By prioritizing funding for evidence-based programs, we can do a better job of ensuring that federal legislation is actually supporting economic mobility rather than just funding nonprofits,” he mentions.  In this essay, titled ‘The Missing Link in Biden’s Jobs Plan,’ Ayala reflects on how tech training programs such as Per Scholas are able to bridge the gap between the abundance of open jobs and individuals with the skills necessary to fill them. “As the president and CEO of Per Scholas, a nonprofit that provides tuition-free training for careers in the technology sector, I’ve seen firsthand the impact programs like these can have on transforming workers’ careers, advancing economic mobility, and positively impacting local economies.”


Per Scholas Newark was featured in New Jersey Business Magazine in an article focused on Newark’s commitment to equitable access to bridge the digital divide.  Per Scholas Newark’s Managing Director LaToya Ball noted, “Per Scholas Collaborates with industry-leading employers to build more diverse talent pools, directly connecting our graduates to new career opportunities in fields such as IT support, cybersecurity, AWS re/Start, and software engineering.”  Days before that publication, the Arman Roy Foundation hosted their 3rd Annual Run for Hope 5k in partnership with Per Scholas Newark.  The 5k was in-person and had a virtual run option as well and raised over $30k towards their mission of bridging the digital divide and creating equity and opportunity for disadvantaged young adults.  

Tara Jacobs, a Per Scholas Dallas 2020 graduate, was featured in Parade Magazine for their annual ‘What People Earn’ issue.  Tara was showcased on the cover of the publication and noted that because of Per Scholas, she has been able to launch her career in tech.  “I serve as the first line of contact within the Service Desk to resolve issues for our customers: troubleshooting, technical support, system set-up, and all things related to customer service. It’s a career I could have never envisioned for myself if not for the tuition-free tech training I received from Per Scholas,” she noted.


Additionally, Per Scholas was named a top tech program preparing youth to build the future in Baltimore by Technical.ly.  This is a great recognition noting the impact of Per Scholas in the Baltimore community that we are so proud to have read about.  We are excited to continue our efforts to connect individuals underrepresented in the tech industry with thriving tech careers. 


With so much great representation in the news in September, we are thrilled to see our impact as we head into the last quarter of the year.  Stay tuned to see how we close the book in 2021! 

Expanding Tech Training in Texas

According to CompTIA’s most recent Tech Jobs Report, Dallas-Fort Worth is among the top metropolitan areas in the nation for the largest number of technology positions. Per Scholas Dallas has long been training and placing diverse Dallas County talent in a variety of these roles, but demand for tech talent continues to grow, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of a recent, generous investment from the JPMorgan Chase & Co., our Per Scholas Dallas campus is now expanding recruitment and enrollment efforts to include learners from neighboring Collin and Tarrant Counties to increase tech training in Texas.

Sixty diverse learners from Collin and Tarrant Counties will have the opportunity to enroll into remote IT Support, Software Engineering, and Cybersecurity training cohorts to begin this November. The grant will also enable Per Scholas Dallas to grow staff capacity and strengthen relationships with employer partners, ensuring that upon graduation, learners have the opportunity to pursue high-growth careers in tech in the region.

“JPMorgan Chase believes it is imperative that our leading corporations work closely with nonprofits and government agencies to help learners of all ages realize their full potential in school — and in life,” said Michelle Thomas, Dallas-based Vice President of Global Philanthropy for JPMorgan Chase. 

To date, Per Scholas Dallas has enrolled 85 learners in a variety of tech courses this year, and, including support from this grant, is on track to train 170 learners in 2021. The majority of graduates have gone on to pursue careers in technology, with a handful of graduates hired into roles at JPMorgan Chase’s Dallas-Fort Worth Campus.

“We are incredibly grateful for the continued support from our friends at JPMorgan Chase. This latest investment will enable us to grow our offering to talented individuals who are excited about pursuing a career in technology, one of the highest-growth sectors in our region,” said Stephanie Valadez, Per Scholas Dallas Managing Director. “Since 2015, we’ve been humbled to train more than 1,000 incredible technologists, making a difference for individuals, their families, and their communities. I’m thrilled that we can now train even more learners from neighboring Collin and Tarrant counties as tech demand in our region continues to grow.”

To learn more about upcoming courses offered by Per Scholas Dallas or to hire Per Scholas graduates, please visit PerScholas.org/Dallas.

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.

Toyota Grant Powers Dallas Cybersecurity Cohort

This July, Per Scholas’s Dallas campus will be graduating its second cohort of a new cybersecurity course, made possible by a generous $350,000 grant from Toyota, a champion Per Scholas partner since 2020. 

The course was conceptualized before the start of the Covid pandemic and, in addition to a software engineering course, was one of two new courses introduced for Dallas learners during the pandemic.  

The course has played a tremendous role in increasing the number of women being trained at the Dallas campus, a long-time goal of Stephanie Valadez, the Per Scholas Dallas Managing Director. The initial cybersecurity cohort was composed of 61% women, bringing the Dallas campus to a current total of 40% women enrolled in 2020, a significant increase from previous years and, Valadez believes, a sign of tremendous success in recruiting women — a strong departure from the typically male-dominated tech field. 

Valadez was particularly instrumental in designing the course, and partnering with the instructional team to build the course’s rigorous curriculum, which includes 15-weeks of CompTIA CYSA+ training and certification, customer service and professional development training, and more. 

In order to ensure that the curriculum of the course met the needs of employers, a roundtable discussion was held with employers in February of 2020 at the Toyota North America Headquarters in Plano, TX. At this discussion, Per Scholas reviewed the curriculum with cybersecurity executives at 10 different companies, including Toyota, AT&T, Checkpoint, Pepsi Co., and Stack Path, and talked about what they hoped to achieve with course training. 

“We had the roundtable discussion with employers to make sure that we were putting forth a strong curriculum that was going to mirror what they needed within their businesses,” Valadez said. “[The curriculum] was truly employer-informed.”

The course grant was designed to fund two cohorts of a cybersecurity course, as well as the creation of an Education Security Operations Center (ESOC) housed at the Downtown Dallas campus, which would provide the equipment and environment to mirror what learners would experience in the workplace.

Due to the pandemic, the center has not yet been built, but there are plans to complete the buildout later this year. Fortunately, course instructors Wycliffe Ikobe and Kayla Mejire (both graduates of Per Scholas Dallas themselves) have been able to leverage digital tools to mimic a similar environment and provide learners with all necessary experience.

Frederick Tsa, a graduate of the cybersecurity course’s first cohort, has been working in the cyber intelligence department of JP Morgan Chase for a few months now. Before Per Scholas, Tsa had an extensive academic background and had worked in a variety of different roles, but had no real experience with cybersecurity. During the pandemic, the company he was working at was having difficulties, and Tsa felt it was time for a change. He was interested in learning something new and pursuing cybersecurity, and he came across the Per Scholas course.

“What Per Scholas gave me was that ambition,” Tsa said. “Getting that industry certification and that training to be able to understand the basics of cybersecurity operations was something that helped me secure my job. From Per Scholas I learned a lot to the point where I was able to articulate that during the interviews and be able to make concise arguments to the point where I was offered the position.”

Athipong Yimsiriwattana, another graduate from Dallas’s first cybersecurity cohort, was working as a fleet service clerk for American Airlines until he was laid off due to the pandemic. Struggling to make ends meet, Yimsiriwattana decided to pursue a lifelong interest in technology and take Per Scholas’s free cybersecurity training course. 

The salary for cybersecurity analysts is significantly higher than what Yimsiriwattana was making in his previous role, and he is currently interviewing for roles. “I will be doing something I love doing,” Yimsiriwattana told USA Today in an interview earlier this year about his incredible experience. With support from Toyota and the grant used for our Cybersecurity course, our graduates, like Yimsiriwattana, are able to take their careers to the next level and get the certifications needed to secure a job they are passionate about.

Our June News Recap

Here’s a recap of Per Scholas in the news for June!  This month, we were featured in the press with articles over Juneteenth, our impact in the New York job market, and featuring our learners and graduates.  To read all of our features, be sure to check out our links below!

  • One story in Crain’s New York featured our EVP, Kenneth Walker, with an opinion piece about diversity in the workforce in Corporate America.  He challenges businesses and organizations to use their resources to diversify their workforce and stated, “companies should be turning to DEI consulting firms to better understand how bias plays out in their workplace so that they can build in processes that eliminate hiring biases that may be preventing diverse talent from joining their teams.” 
  • Another article in Crains’ New York mentioned one of our learners as Per Scholas aims to lower New York’s unemployment rate through tech training.  
  • Our New York recent exposure didn’t stop there. We were featured in the New York Times, where it was discussed that the comprehensive training approach has been refined at successful nonprofits, such as Per Scholas, that have spent decades dedicated to lifting people into the middle class. 
  • Lastly, in Dallas, we were named as a finalist in D CEO’s Nonprofit and Citizenship Awards for Outstanding Innovation in Nonprofits! As we train individuals in technology, innovation is essential, so this nomination and announcement of us as finalists is monumental.  

Per Scholas Dallas Finalist in D CEO’s Outstanding Innovation for Nonprofits


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