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 Philadelphia Awarded $500,000 Workforce Solutions Grant from the Philadelphia Department of Commerce

Per Scholas Philadelphia is grateful to be one of four recipients of the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Commerce Workforce Solutions Grant. The $500,000 investment will help Per Scholas Philadelphia provide free technical and professional skills training and job placement services to learners. The grant awarded organizations that strive to elevate evidence-informed approaches to address specific challenges Black, brown, and other historically disadvantaged Philadelphia residents face when preparing for and entering the workforce.

“Our city is seeing growth in tech roles across industries, especially in education and healthcare,” said Per Scholas Philadelphia Managing Director Nikki Pumphrey. “To meet the demand and ensure that more Philadelphians have access to the social and economic mobility that this industry offers, organizations including Per Scholas are critical in building on-ramps for those new to the field.”

To learn more about this grant, read the full press release.

Per Scholas Philadelphia Establishes Advisory Board

Per Scholas Philadelphia Establishes Advisory Board 

Leaders from Fortune 100s, Technology, Non-Profit, Finance Contribute to Transform America’s Tech Workforce


PHILADELPHIA (November 3, 2022) – Per Scholas Philadelphia today announces the establishment of its inaugural Advisory Board. Leaders from Fortune 100 companies, technology, finance, media, and the nonprofit sector will contribute their time and talent to supporting Per Scholas Philadelphia and its mission to transform America’s technology workforce through rigorous tech skills training.

Inaugural Per Scholas Philadelphia Advisory Board Members include:

  • Carrie Bucci, Vice President of Product, Technically Media
  • Brian Harvey, AVP Talent Management, Global Technology, Chubb 
  • Danita Jones, Director of Human Resources and Engagement, Family Practice & Counseling Network; Chapter President, NAAAHR Philadelphia
  • Claude Lawrence, Vice President Strategy, Consumer & Wealth Management, Goldman Sachs
  • Joanne Sibony, Vice President, Technology Lab Environments, Comcast

“We are thrilled to launch this next phase of impact for the growing Per Scholas community in our city. These incredible leaders will help further our mission to increase access to thriving wage careers in tech for all Philadelphians,” said Nikki Pumphrey, Senior Managing Director, Per Scholas Philadelphia.

Since opening in 2019, more than 250 learners have graduated from Per Scholas Philadelphia and have gone on to employment in tech roles at a variety of companies across the city – from large healthcare providers to small startups. 

Per Scholas Philadelphia is grateful for Founder’s Circle partners TEKsystems and Comcast, as well as generous support from The Lenfest Foundation, Connelly Foundation, and William Penn Foundation. 

Currently, Per Scholas Philadelphia offers courses in Cybersecurity and IT Support. To learn more about Per Scholas Philadelphia, please visit

About Per Scholas

Per Scholas is a national organization that has been advancing economic mobility for more than 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 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.

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Kenisha Pinckney

Per Scholas Philadelphia Awarded Grant from The Lenfest Foundation

Per Scholas Philadelphia is thrilled to announce that we are a proud awardee of The Lenfest Foundation final grants! We are grateful to receive a $450k grant over the next three years from this highly respected foundation rooted in Philly. Since 2000, the foundation has sought to positively influence the education, youth development, and workforce development fields and communities by embedding new practices and strengthening organizations that provide these services, before sunsetting this summer.

Per Scholas Philadelphia Managing Director at event podium

The Lenfest Foundation grant will support our efforts over the next three years to successfully prepare participants for thriving wage careers and family-sustaining income over the course of their working lifetimes by fueling Per Scholas Philadelphia’s tuition-free tech training. 

“The Lenfest Foundation leaves a legacy of unwavering commitment to economic equity.  We are proud to be included as one of its final grantees and committed to increasing access to thriving wage careers in tech for all Philadelphians,” reflected Per Scholas Managing Director Nikki Pumphrey.

Per Scholas Philadelphia is honored to be one of the final grant awardees as the Foundation distributes all its assets. This grant opens the door for more funding organizations to recognize the work Per Scholas has done in the community. Since opening its doors in 2019, Per Scholas Philly has graduated more than 200 learners with an impressive 91% graduation rate, where over two-thirds of learners have launched full-time tech careers within twelve months of graduation. Additionally, these graduates earn an average salary four times their pre-training wage at about $55k per year, or more than $25 per hour. We are proud of our footprint in the Philadelphia community, where we can continue to advance workforce equity through supporters like The Lenfest Foundation.

Brian Warren

Per Scholas Hosts Philly Tech Week Panel Discussion

On May 10th, Per Scholas partnered with LaunchCode, another tech education nonprofit, to hold a panel discussion about the future of building inclusive workplaces in Philadelphia. The event, “The Journey Ahead: Making Meaningful Change in the Diversity of Philadelphia Tech,” was held at the city’s University City Science Center, and was moderated by local DEIB strategist Alia Sutton-Bey.

Per Scholas Philadelphia Managing Director Nicole Pumphrey addresses the audience.

Before the panel, attendees were welcomed and addressed by Phil Brooks, Workforce Development Director at the University City Science Center, Keighan Gunther, Assistant Vice President at LaunchCode, and Nikki Pumphrey, Managing Director at Per Scholas Philadelphia.

“At Per Scholas, we know that access to opportunity is not equal,” Nikki told the audience. “From the steadily increasing racial wealth gap in our city, to the ways in which the pandemic has affected women of color, significant challenges stand in our way for us to see and achieve an equitable and inclusive workforce here in our city. It’s not enough to just increase access. The real work starts when organizations make commitments that go beyond hiring; when they start implementing practices like pay equity, advancement, and culture change. That is why Per Scholas is committed to partnerships that advance opportunities for our graduates, who are the future of Philadelphia’s diverse tech workforce.”

The panel convened a diverse group of industry leaders in tech, human resources, and social services, including Ashley Chance, a Board Member with Blacks in Tech Philly and former Senior Diversity Talent Sourcer; Danita Jones, Director of HR at Family Practice and Counseling Network and President of the National Association of African Americans in HR; Janine Galen, Program Manager of Strategic Workforce Planning at Vanguard; Marcus Smith, STEM and CTE Coordinator at Mastery Charter Schools; and Senzwa Ntshepe, Co-Founder of both Edclusion and Elivade. 

After the panel discussion, audience members were encouraged to ask questions.

Panelists discussed ways to promote opportunity for Philadelphia residents, create a more diverse and inclusive talent pipeline, support and promote Philadelphia’s economic development, and ultimately connect the community with companies to build inclusive workplaces, reimagine and transform business lines, and create a diverse workforce that addresses persistent intergenerational gaps in wealth and opportunity.


David Byard

Per Scholas Graduates Over 250 Learners in 2022

It has already been a busy year of graduations at Per Scholas, with multiple graduations from IT Support, AWS re/Start, Cybersecurity, and Software Engineering courses coming to a close and many more coming up. As we look to train 4,000 learners in 2022, we are well on our way with astonishing numbers from our skilled and qualified graduates. So far, Per Scholas has graduated more than 250 learners, with over 150 graduates acquiring tech certifications.  

“The tenacity and commitment of Per Scholas learners is inspiring, and I’m thrilled for our graduates as they embark on transformational tech careers,” said Jasmine Miller, who was recently promoted to Per Scholas’s Chief Training Officer. 

Notably, our remote training cohorts had learners from New York, Cincinnati, Denver, Greater Boston, and the National Capital Region successfully graduate from our AWS re/Start course. Chubb Executive Vice President and Digital Transformation Officer Julie Dillman joined as graduation speaker.  This graduating cohort hosted over 70 graduates with an average certification rate of over 94%!  

Per Scholas graduates in Zoom background grid

Additionally, we graduated our first two cohorts as part of our satellite partnership.  With over 30 graduates from our innovative satellite training program, we are well on our way to training  1,000 New Yorkers this year.  In this partnership, Per Scholas is teaming up with Commonpoint Queens and with the JCC of Staten Island as Satellite partners in order to offer these trainings in Queens and Staten Island respectively. Commonpoint Queens hosted the course at its Elmhurst Employment Hub and JCC of Staten Island at its Bernikow Headquarters.  

In another Remote Training graduation, with learners from our National Capital Region, Denver, New York, Boston, Cincinnati, and North Carolina campuses, over 100 graduates completed their IT Support training to launch their thriving tech careers. Eugene Jones, Director of ITS at Comcast, spoke as a keynote speaker, encouraging graduates to always keep learning – in tech and in life. 

With support from our funders, brilliant and empowering Instructors, and a strong Learner Support Team, our learners are sure to excel in their next endeavors as they launch their IT careers.  We are eager to see how the year continues on with such a successful start as we connect individuals who have a passion for technology with thriving technology careers. 


Per Scholas To Launch Women In Tech Software Engineering Apprenticeship

Fueled by Department of Labor Grant, All-Women Training Cohort in Washington, D.C. Region Starts Early 2022

Per Scholas Team Members celebrate this Women In Tech grant with DOL members.

Photo Credit: Department of Labor, Alyson Fligg


WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 10, 2021) – At a ceremony held at Per Scholas’s Philadelphia Campus yesterday afternoon, U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty J. Walsh named Per Scholas one of five new Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations grant recipients. Joining Secretary Walsh at the announcement was Department of Labor Women’s Bureau Director Wendy Chun-Hoon.

Per Scholas will use this grant to launch a Women in Tech Software Engineering Apprenticeship training track at its Washington, D.C.-area campus in 2022. Developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on women workers and in line with Per Scholas’s commitment to increase the number of women and women of color in technology jobs across America, 90 women will be trained over the course of 2022 as a result of this new innovation. The training will be delivered remotely and on a modified schedule, providing flexibility and support for parents or others with caregiving responsibilities. At the end of the 15-week training, graduates will enter a year-long paid apprenticeship in technology roles.

“It can’t be understated just how much the pandemic has impacted our nation – and women and women of color in particular. The creativity, compassion, and innovation from our Per Scholas team to identify this opportunity and create a new, unique offering centered to serve women learners is remarkable,” said Plinio Ayala, President and CEO of Per Scholas. “At Per Scholas, we’re always innovating and adjusting our offerings based on feedback from our employer partners and market demand. I’m very optimistic about our new Women in Tech Software Engineer Apprenticeship offering and have high hopes that we’ll be able to replicate and offer this training in additional markets in the months and years to come with additional, intentional investment.”

Administered by the Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau and Employment and Training Administration, the Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations grants were awarded to four additional organizations based in California, Mississippi, Texas, and Wisconsin. The funding will support grantees in their efforts to recruit, train, and retain more women in quality pre-apprenticeship and registered apprenticeship programs as well as nontraditional occupations.

“For too long, women have faced barriers to gaining entry into apprenticeships and nontraditional careers,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty J. Walsh. “As we work to build back a better economy, these grants will empower women to get the training and support they need to secure good-paying jobs and pathways into the middle class. They are an important and effective tool for creating a more inclusive and equitable workforce.”

“The pandemic forced 3 million women out of the labor force, and women of color have borne that job loss the hardest. Black women’s employment is down 7 percent from pre-pandemic levels, and the number of Hispanic women is still down 5 percent. It’s never before been more important for us to advance training, employment, and return to work opportunities that connect women and particularly women of color into higher-wage jobs so that our nation’s economic recovery brings us greater equity,” said Women’s Bureau Director Wendy Chun-Hoon.

Two Per Scholas Philadelphia women graduates shared their perspectives during the celebration. Lashay Cokley, who enrolled in Per Scholas training during the pandemic and graduated earlier this year shared, “Ultimately, I feel with technology, I’m able to access so many more possibilities than I was previously.”

“I gained so much from my experience with Per Scholas. It reinforced the knowledge I already had in technology, I gained a lot of new skills, and, most importantly, it gave me the confidence to pursue a career in technology, which is what I’ve always wanted,” said Per Scholas Philadelphia Alumna Susan Tabassum.

“In order to ensure an equitable recovery for women and women of color, investments just like this are essential,” said Caitlyn Brazill, who represented Per Scholas at yesterday’s announcement and serves as the national nonprofit’s Chief Development Officer. “Per Scholas commends the Biden Administration for prioritizing these kinds of investments – in proven programs – that support workers and training for high-growth careers.”

Photos from the September 9, 2021 women in tech event are available, courtesy of the Department of Labor, at this link.

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