“To say life has improved is an understatement.” Alex, graduate from the first class in Dallas, tells the story of impact one year later.

Alex is a graduate from the very first Per Scholas Dallas IT Support class. As we approach our one-year anniversary in Dallas and the enrollment of our 100th student, we felt it time to share the story of the first graduate to land a job from our Dallas home.

Today Alex works in the IT department at Turner Construction. This is the first time he has ever had a desk job, a job much different from his professional past.  For Turner Construction, he has the luxury of  working a normal schedule every day, and his work doesn’t consist of manual labor like loading boxes and stocking shelves. His work is intellectually stimulating, stable and financially rewarding.

The week he graduated from Per Scholas he was working and earning three times more than what he made in his previous job.

He still can’t believe it.

“To say life has improved is an understatement.”

Alex expressed that, for him, Per Scholas is the most effective educational experience he has ever had. Growing up he loved technology. The passion came naturally to him, like it does for many of our students. He knew early on he wanted to pursue it professionally. The college classes he took, unfortunately, didn’t keep him on that path.

“It was discouraging. My teacher would fall asleep in class at times. Our exams and homework would consist of taking down answers directly from the book. I didn’t learn anything… and I definitely couldn’t afford to spend my money in this way.”

So, he stopped after a couple of classes feeling a weight of disappointment and started working instead. Getting his foot in the door in a tech-related job was only his hope and not his reality. What Alex found were hourly, low-wage, manual labor jobs working in retail and service. That was what he did for the entirety of his 20’s, never making it back to finish college.

Last spring in 2015 he learned about Per Scholas. His sister forwarded him an email she got through her job and his reaction was shock and wonder, why on earth had he never heard of this before?

That question was soon answered when he was enrolled to the first-ever Per Scholas class in Dallas. It exceeded his expectations.

“I honestly can’t remember the last time I looked forward to being in a classroom.” The intensive, hands-on course is rigorous but Alex gobbled up the material. He quickly earned his CompTIA A+ certification and learned everything he needed to know about fixing, supporting and maintaining computers—and plenty more on top of that. Specifically, the career coaching that accompanies the technical learning Alex received. In addition to four days of tech class each week, he also had one dedicated day to prepare him for the job search. He developed a tailored resume and went through all the motions to prepare for an interview—as well as learning the essential skills needed to keep the job once he got it.

“Learning how to market myself and sell myself to an employer, no one had ever taught me that before.”

That training Alex knows helped because he had four employers requesting he interview before he even graduated. “This had never happened in my life. I couldn’t believe it.”

Alex landed a job and was working the week he graduated. In less than eight weeks Alex went from earning less than $10 an hour and under-utilizing his skills and potential to working for a corporate company with a substantial increase in earnings.

“Life is good. I’m now able to help my mom returning the favor for all she did to help me when I needed it. I’m paying the bills, saving money. It’s a night and day difference.”

Alex considers it an honor to be part of the first class. “I’m proud to be a graduate of Per Scholas and excited to make Per Scholas a household name in Dallas. They are going to make our community, its businesses and those who live in it, a lot better.”

See more about Alex here. 

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