Per Scholas partners with tech leaders to offer tech training programs that help Americans overcome the digital divide.
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Per Scholas Receives $577,500 Grant from The TD Ready Challenge to Address the Impacts of COVID-19
The TD Ready Challenge awarded Per Scholas to deliver Tech Training to those disproportionately impacted by the pandemic
New York, NY – January 27, 2020 – Today, national tech training nonprofit Per Scholas has been named one of six U.S. winners of the 2020 TD Ready Challenge presented by TD Bank. Through this initiative, Per Scholas will provide its vast network of alumni – particularly those negatively impacted by COVID-19 – with upskilling, reskilling, and professional development opportunities to help them advance in successful tech careers. The programming will be provided to alumni in Baltimore, Greater Boston, the National Capital Region NCR), Newark, New York, and Philadelphia.
“Per Scholas has brought forward a creative and scalable solution to help those disproportionately impacted by the effects of COVID-19 prepare for the current workforce,” said Andy Bregenzer, Regional President, Metro New York, TD Bank. “Being a winner of the TD Ready Challenge is a testament to the skill, ingenuity, and vision of its creators, as well as their dedication to ensuring our communities emerge from the pandemic more resilient, inclusive, vibrant and ready for the continually changing future.”
The TD Ready Challenge is an annual initiative, laddering up to the TD Ready Commitment, TD’s corporate citizenship platform, aimed at opening doors to a more inclusive and sustainable tomorrow. Acting as a springboard for social innovation, TD established the TD Ready Challenge to identify and support scalable solutions that address societal issues identified within the four drivers of the TD Ready Commitment: Financial Security, Vibrant Planet, Connected Communities and Better Health.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has had an immense impact on society and that’s why the 2020 TD Ready Challenge encouraged organizations across TD’s North American footprint to create innovative solutions to help create accelerated, sustained and equitable recovery in the face of COVID-19.
“For over 25 years, Per Scholas has been committed to helping our learners break the cycle of poverty and launch stable, family-sustaining careers in the technology sector,” said Plinio Ayala, President and CEO of Per Scholas. “We’re able to do this by providing innovative solutions to systemic issues of equity and opportunity in the tech field and offering tuition-free training and career development services to individuals who are traditionally underrepresented in today’s most promising fields. However, we cannot do this work without the incredible support of organizations like TD Bank, which is why we could not be more grateful for this award from the TD Ready Challenge.”
In total, TD awarded $10 million (CAD) for the 2020 Challenge, as part of the $25 million (CAD) that TD has allocated to help strengthen community resilience and COVID-19 recovery through the TD Community Resilience Initiative.
A full list of The Ready Challenge winners as well as more information about the challenge can be found at www.td.com/thereadychallenge.
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 14 cities, Per Scholas has trained more than 12,000 individuals in tech skills, building bridges to careers in technology. To learn more, visit perscholas.org.
About the TD Ready Commitment
TD has a long-standing commitment to enriching the lives of its customers, colleagues and communities. As part of its corporate citizenship platform, the TD Ready Commitment, TD is targeting CAD $1 billion (U.S. $775 million) in total by 2030 towards community giving in four areas critical to opening doors for a more inclusive and sustainable tomorrow – Financial Security, Vibrant Planet, Connected Communities and Better Health. Through the TD Ready Commitment, TD aspires to link its business, philanthropy and human capital to help people feel more confident – not just about their finances, but also in their ability to achieve their personal goals in a changing world. For further information, visit td.com/tdreadycommitment.
National Nonprofits WGU and Per Scholas Announce Education Articulation Partnership
Organizations will focus on educating a diverse and technologically skilled workforce.
SALT LAKE CITY (January 25, 2020) – Building on its mission to change lives for the better by creating pathways to opportunity, nonprofit Western Governors University’s (WGU) College of Information Technology today announced a transfer articulation partnership with nonprofit technology workforce development organization Per Scholas. Alumni of Per Scholas—which delivers tuition-free, market-relevant IT education in 14 major metro areas across the U.S.—will now be eligible to receive credit from their Per Scholas education toward a WGU IT bachelor’s degree program.
WGU and Per Scholas have the shared belief that equitable access to education is the greatest catalyst for change. Particularly, information technology education provides for a more diverse and equitable workforce and economy as it moves individuals to thriving wage careers. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate effect on communities of color and women, and there is an imperative need to address social inequities that leave individuals at the margins and deter them from learning.
“Careers in technology provide some of the highest wages and growth potential in our economy,” said Dr. Elke Leeds, Dean and Academic Vice President of WGU’s College of IT. “It’s not news that technology has a diversity problem, and we remain committed to expanding access to the learning and skills needed for employment, and the degree needed for advancing in a technology career. Social justice is advanced through equitable education and with rigorous technology education, Per Scholas is making its impact by increasing access to tech training, in particular for women and people of color, communities often underrepresented in technology fields. We are thrilled to partner with Per Scholas and provide their alumni with pathways to further their educations and careers.”
Through a network of philanthropic funding and grants, Per Scholas provides tuition-free, bootcamp-style technology education in IT support, cybersecurity, and software engineering to diverse learner populations. With a network of more than 500 employer partners, 80% of Per Scholas graduates found a job within one year of graduating. WGU’s recognition of Per Scholas’ training now provides graduates with their next opportunity in education and career advancement. WGU’s online degree programs allow learners to work toward their degree on their own time, and its competency-based education model measures learning rather than seat time. This allows learners to progress as soon as they master skills and graduate with a bachelor’s degree within two-and-a-half years on average.
“We’re incredibly excited about this partnership with WGU, especially knowing the benefits and value it represents for the Per Scholas community,” said Bridgette Gray, Per Scholas Chief Impact Officer. “For our alumni who are looking to move into middle management roles, many companies still require an undergraduate degree. This partnership gives our graduates significant credits toward a degree in Information Technology at an outstanding university that not only offers affordable tuition, but also coursework flexibility. This provides our graduates who enroll at WGU with greater value for the hard work and time that they invested into their Per Scholas coursework and the certificates they earned, putting our alumni that much closer to achieving the next goal in their career progression.”
In the months and years to come, WGU and Per Scholas will seek to advance their partnership to be stewards of equitable access to technology education and will roll out local and regional enrollment efforts. To learn more about the partnership visit wgu.edu/lp/information-technology/per-scholas.html. For employers and philanthropic partner interests, please contact Brad Angevine at Per Scholas.
Established in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors with a mission to expand access to high-quality, affordable higher education, online, nonprofit WGU now serves more than 129,000 students nationwide and has more than 215,000 graduates in all 50 states. Driving innovation as the nation’s leading competency-based university, WGU has been recognized by the White House, state leaders, employers, and students as a model that works in postsecondary education. In just 24 years, the university has become a leading influence in changing the lives of individuals and families, and preparing the workforce needed in today’s rapidly evolving economy. WGU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, has been named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies, and has been featured on NPR, NBC Nightly News, CNN, and in The New York Times. Learn more at wgu.edu.
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 with leading employers, from Fortune 500 companies to innovative startups. With campuses in 14 cities, Per Scholas has trained more than 12,000 individuals in tech skills, building bridges to careers in technology. To learn more, please visit perscholas.org.
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Per Scholas announced as awardee in $10 million competition to improve the economic health of low-income families in the u.s.
Economic Opportunity Challenge Will Help Train Individuals to Launch Successful Careers in Technology
Chicago, IL, December 15, 2020 – Today, Lever for Change announced premier technology workforce development organization Per Scholas as the recipient of the $10 million Economic Opportunity Challenge. Per Scholas advances economic equity through rigorous, tuition-free training for careers in IT and connects skilled talent from underserved communities to leading businesses. The “Proven Pathways to Transformative Careers in Tech” project was selected from a pool of 160 applicants and five finalists.
Over the next three years, Per Scholas will use the grant to disrupt generational cycles of poverty affecting more than 13,000 individuals seeking technology careers in cities across the U.S. With this funding, Per Scholas will expand 14 of its existing in-person training locations, launch 10 new ones, and scale new remote offerings to help triple the number of people trained by 2023.
The Economic Opportunity Challenge was designed to scale a game-changing solution to improve the economic health of low-income families in the U.S.
“All of the finalists in this Challenge presented compelling ideas for expanding economic opportunities that warrant funding beyond the grants received as a result of the competition,” said Cecilia Conrad, CEO of Lever for Change. “The donors were particularly inspired by the vision of the Per Scholas team to strengthen untapped talent in our country.”
The sponsors of the Challenge, who wish to remain anonymous, are seeking additional donors to fund Per Scholas, as well as a number of other highly rated organizations that applied to the Challenge, to ensure that these outstanding projects secure the resources they need to carry out their vital work.
In this regard, Focusing Philanthropy, a multi-year philanthropic partner of Per Scholas, has committed at least $5 million of additional funding to implement Per Scholas’ winning vision articulated in the Economic Opportunity Challenge. Catalyzing the “Proven Pathways to Transformative Careers in Tech” project is Focusing Philanthropy’s second “Bold Initiative” – a transformative, large-scale multi-year partnership to support a proven effective model with an established implementation partner.
“We know proper education and focused job training address two of the root causes of poverty, and workforce development programs can be an effective intervention method,” said Larry Gilson, Chairman of Focusing Philanthropy. “Per Scholas is especially attractive because it designs training courses collaboratively with partner companies, tailored to their specific recruitment needs. This is why Per Scholas graduates have such a high hiring rate and command good wages in career track jobs.”
“COVID-19 has not only changed the way we live our lives, but also transformed the way we think about work and education,” said Plinio Ayala, President and CEO of Per Scholas. “In light of pandemic-induced layoffs, business closures, and economic hardship, it’s crucial that we help people prepare for the jobs of tomorrow. This incredible award is a down payment on a more equitable economic recovery. Generous support from the Economic Opportunity Challenge donors and Focusing Philanthropy will seed a growth fund that will enable Per Scholas to scale rapidly across the U.S.”
Lever for Change is featuring Per Scholas, and all of the other Economic Opportunity Challenge finalists below, in its Bold Solutions Network. The Network seeks to match additional donors and funding with nonprofits and social enterprises whose solutions to significant social challenges were ranked highly after rigorous evaluation in Lever for Change competitions.
- Skills for America’s Future: Changing Lives Through a Jobs-First Model: Skills for Chicagoland’s Future will drive economic mobility in 17 cities by placing 10,325 low-income individuals into meaningful employment over the next five years.
- Moving Families Out of Poverty Permanently: Family Independence Initiative (FII) will partner with the City of Chicago to move low-income families out of poverty, permanently. FII will invest directly in the existing strengths and solutions of low-income families and their communities, and remove the deficit-based criteria traditionally used to access support.
- Making Freedom Free: Bail and Economic Mobility in the South: The Bail Project will provide free bail assistance and wraparound services in six additional jurisdictions in the South and advocate for systemic changes to the pre-trial system.
- Chicago Asset-Building for Children (Chicago ABCs): Chicago ABCs, a coalition made up of the Chicago Community Trust, Heartland Alliance, Community Organizing and Family Issues, Family Independence Initiative, Chicago Department of Public Health and the Illinois State Treasurer’s Office will braid three proven strategies: child savings accounts, cash transfers, and visiting nurses in a dual generation approach to propel 4,600 families to economic security.
Applications for the Economic Opportunity Challenge were evaluated during a three-month review process by more than 120 philanthropic and civic leaders, as well as subject matter experts in economic development, public policy, youth opportunity, economic justice, and regional planning, among other issue areas. Applications were evaluated based on four criteria: magnitude of impact, strength of evidence, likelihood of success, and potential for scale.
Donors interested in funding outstanding projects identified in this Challenge or who wish to learn more about our services may contact Dana Rice, Vice President of Philanthropy at Lever for Change.
More information on the Economic Opportunity Challenge can be found at www.economicopportunitychallenge.org.
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 14 cities, Per Scholas has trained more than 12,000 individuals in tech skills, building bridges to careers in technology.
Lever for Change
Lever for Change, a nonprofit affiliate of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, helps donors to find and fund solutions to the world’s greatest challenges, ranging from racial and gender equity to economic development and climate change. Building on the success of the MacArthur Foundation’s $100 million competition, 100&Change, Lever for Change customizes and manages open and transparent competitions for donors. In addition, we match donors with nonprofits and social enterprises in our Bold Solutions Network whose solutions to significant social challenges were highly ranked after rigorous evaluation in one of our competitions. Currently, Lever for Change is managing nine competitions, ranging in size from $10-to-100 million, awarding $295 million to grant recipients and strengthening dozens of top organizations. For more information, visit www.leverforchange.org.
Focusing Philanthropy is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that believes donations should be made with the same level of strategic intent, information, and confidence as other investments. The organization targets serious human challenges that individual donors can successfully address, chooses tactics that are demonstrably effective, identifies confidence-inspiring implementing partners, conducts ongoing monitoring, and assures substantive reporting. Over the past several years, Focusing Philanthropy has deployed more than $65 million with significant impact on the lives of over 4.5 million people. Its services are provided free to both donors and implementing partners in an effort to scale interventions that work. Donations are fully tax deductible, and Focusing Philanthropy covers all administrative costs and replenishes credit card transaction fees so that 100% of funds contributed go to implementing partners. For more information, visit www.focusingphilanthropy.org.