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.

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 St. Louis Celebrates IT Support Graduation with 21 Technologists

On August 18th, Per Scholas St. Louis celebrated its largest graduation yet as 21 learners graduated from the most recent IT Support course. The cohort was incredibly diverse, ranging in age from 19 to 50 years old, included  11 men and 10 women, several of whom were parents. The graduating technologists originated from a variety of professional backgrounds, including retail, warehouse work, and finance, but all are now fully prepped to launch high-growth careers in tech.

Hosted by Deputy Chief Training Officer Noah Mitchell, graduates in attendance heard from our community partner, Tydrell Stevens, Regional Director of Save Our Sons, Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, who congratulated the new graduates and spoke about our organizations’ joint missions. 

Attendees also heard from the selected class speaker, Kristina Henderson, before receiving their certificates, officially graduating from the IT Support program. Next followed the presentation of the Core Value Honors. At every graduation, honors are bestowed to graduates who exemplify our core values of Ambition, Integrity, Professionalism, Resourcefulness, Perseverance, and Commitment to Service. The awards for the graduating St. Louis IT Support cohort were as follows:

  • Ambition – Allen Morgan
  • Integrity – Srilatha Ramakrishna
  • Professionalism – Isaiah Word
  • Resourcefulness – Brian Green II
  • Perseverance – Myiesha McCray
  • Commitment to Service – Karen Taylor

The Keynote Address was presented by Sam Fiorello, President & CEO of Cortex Innovation Community. Cortex Innovation Community graciously welcomed Per Scholas St. Louis as it technical skills trainer of choice to ensure a more equitable and inclusive St. Louis. 

Finally, the event featured a special message from Per Scholas President and CEO Plinio Ayala. Plinio congratulated the graduates on their incredible accomplishment, encouraging Per Scholas alumni to always continue learning and growing, and wished them luck as they embarked on their newfound careers in the tech industry. Watch Plinio’s video message here. 

Learn more about upcoming training opportunities at Per Scholas St. Louis and apply by visiting

Steve Martak

Jade Johnson

Zell Davis

Per Scholas St. Louis Hosts Inaugural Graduation

Per Scholas St. Louis Hosts Inaugural Graduation

Eleven technologists trained in cybersecurity skills ready to enter the local job market

ST. LOUIS (November 16, 2022) – Earlier this month, 11 learners successfully graduated from Per Scholas’ inaugural Cybersecurity course in St. Louis. For more than 27 years, the national nonprofit has advanced economic equity through its tuition-free technology skills training, professional development, and employer connections. Per Scholas announced its expansion to St. Louis as part of the Cortex Innovation Community earlier this year. The launch of Per Scholas St. Louis would not have been possible without the generous contributions of The Bellwether Foundation, the William T. Kemper Foundation, and Bank of America.

“We are so proud of our Cybersecurity graduates. The commitment, dedication, and determination of our learners to succeed is nothing short of inspiring,” said Dr. Charlie Mackey, Jr., Per Scholas St. Louis Managing Director. “Our graduates are ready to enter the St. Louis workforce with the cyber skills they need to succeed day one on the job.”

Per Scholas St. Louis Managing Director at graduation

Per Scholas St. Louis graduates have mastered Linux, network administration, behavioral analytics, security monitoring including how to detect and combat cyber threats, threat management, cyber incident response, and more. Learners participated in live, instructor-led training that featured hands-on activities using real world servers, tools, and technologies.

Aligned with its commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, three in four Per Scholas St. Louis learners are people of color, more than a quarter identify as women, and more than half have a high school diploma as their highest education credential.

Per Scholas St. Louis Inaugural Graduates

“Partnerships like the one we have with Per Scholas are critical to meeting our mission to accelerate inclusive economic growth in the region,” said Sam Fiorello, CEO of Cortex Innovation Community, the home of Per Scholas St. Louis. “These first Per Scholas St. Louis graduates, and the many more that will graduate in the coming years, represent what Cortex can really do to make our region better.”

In early December, Per Scholas St. Louis will offer its popular IT Support training as its second course offering. Learners have the opportunity to earn the Google IT Support Professional Certificate as well as the CompTIA A+ certification and gain knowledge to fill a variety of entry-level tech roles. Applications are due November 21 and can be accessed by visiting

About Cortex Innovation Community: Cortex is a vibrant space serving as an inclusive economic engine for St. Louis. Cortex creates equitable economic impacts by leveraging high-quality facilities, developing programs that build knowledge and networks, and convening strategic partnerships that attract and support emerging and established companies. Founded in 2002 through a collaboration of Washington University in St. Louis, BJC HealthCare, the University of Missouri – St. Louis, Saint Louis University, and the Missouri Botanical Garden, the Cortex Innovation Community ( is an internationally recognized hub of innovation and entrepreneurship that is focused on accelerating inclusive economic growth in St. Louis.

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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Chris McCain

St. Louis and Orlando Campuses Launch Inaugural Cohorts

In recent months, Per Scholas has expanded to create our 18th and 19th campuses in St. Louis and Orlando, and on July 18th, these two newest campuses officially launched their inaugural cohorts! 

The initial Orlando cohort is an End User Desktop Support course designed in partnership with long-time Per Scholas partner, TEKsystems. This first cohort has 12 learners enrolled and will run for 12 weeks.

Per Scholas has partnered with TEKsystems since 2015 in our mission to provide opportunity and access to tech education in communities across the country that are typically underrepresented in the tech industry. Collaborative courses between our two organizations currently exist at a number of Per Scholas’ campuses, and we are excited to be adding Orlando to that list. “There are many motivated, talented individuals who want to pursue a career in technology but might not have a four-year degree or access to do so,” Faith Rottmann Johnson, Vice President of Human Resources at TEKsystems, said. “Our partnership with Per Scholas enables us to build pathways for these individuals.”

Orlando was named by Brookings Institute as a “rising star” for tech employment and job growth, and it has one of the fastest growing tech markets in the U.S. with a 3.5% annual labor force growth rate. 

Per Scholas learners in our inaugural Orlando cohort

“At Per Scholas, we believe a thriving workforce starts with equitable access to education, and we’re committed to increasing access and closing the opportunity gap,” said Damien Howard, chief enterprise solutions officer at Per Scholas. “Launching Per Scholas Orlando, together with our transformational partner TEKsystems, is really thrilling, and I’m looking forward to all the good we’ll achieve together in the Sunshine State.”

The inaugural St. Louis cohort is a Cybersecurity course, with 16 enrolled learners (ranging in age from 22 to 75 years old!), that will run for 15 weeks. Learners will receive training and the opportunity to earn their CompTIA CySA+ certifications at the completion of the course. Cortex Innovation Community worked with Per Scholas to enter the St. Louis market to accelerate inclusive economic growth in the region.

Per Scholas learners in our inaugural St. Louis cohort

According to CompTIA’s April jobs report, St. Louis ranked seventh in the nation for the most new tech job postings, and after talking with local employers and partners, the need for cybersecurity skills is certainly at the forefront. Additionally, over 27,000 tech jobs have been posted by nearly 3,000 employers in the region this year. 

“I am honored to join Per Scholas and lead our transformational work here in St. Louis,” Per Scholas St. Louis Managing Director, Dr. Charlie Mackey, Jr., reflected. “I believe our training removes two of the largest barriers for members of our local community who aspire to work in technology: access and affordability. By removing these barriers, Per Scholas learners and our future St. Louis graduates can achieve social and economic mobility. Our partnership with Cortex – and being located in this incredible District – will propel our ability to interact with the local tech community and employers in need of tech talent.”


To learn more about our inaugural Orlando cohort, click here

To learn more about our inaugural St. Louis cohort, click here.

Erin McDonald