Per Scholas Proven to Increase Earnings and Improve Overall Well-Being: Monthly Impact Report – Oct. 2016

This summer, Per Scholas was recognized as a top-performer in a two-year study of workforce development programs, called WorkAdvance. The results of this study were clear: Per Scholas is producing positive and lasting impacts related to the income, reliance on public benefits, and even the overall well-being of our students.

According to the findings, Per Scholas produced the largest impact on employment in a targeted sector. Key findings from this study include:

  • 61 percent of Per Scholas WorkAdvance group members reported working in the information technology sector at their current or most recent job.

  • Students of the WorkAdvance program at Per Scholas significantly reduced their receipt of public assistance benefits following graduation.

  • Per Scholas WorkAdvance group members reported higher hourly, weekly and annual earnings. Earnings increased by more than $3,700 (or 26 percent) above the control group in Year 2.

  • A measure of life satisfaction was approximately ten percentage points higher among the program group compared to the control group.

“It is unusual to see such a consistent pattern of impacts from an employment program across so many domains of work and overall well-being,” said Richard Hendra, the principle investigator of the WorkAdvance study. “These large impacts on both primary and secondary economic measures reaffirm the overall effectiveness of the WorkAdvance program at Per Scholas.”

The release of this study prompted The New York Times to publish an article about our job training model and one of our graduates, Lisa Edwards. The reporter questions why the U.S. hasn’t invested more heavily in job training. Sure, it’s not easy, but training pays off. The success of thousands of Per Scholas graduates demonstrates that not investing in proven workforce development programs may be “penny-wise, pound-foolish.” He explains that training can be expensive, but “$6,700 spent to provide one low-wage worker with the skills employers need is a small amount compared with the wage gains she could make in a few years. And there are other savings to keep in mind. More than one-third of workers who entered the WorkAdvance program, for instance, were getting food stamps, which they would not need if they earned more.”

The WorkAdvance study validates what we’ve known for some time: Given proper training and coaching, individuals from often overlooked communities can acquire the skills and business acumen to not only enter the IT field, but excel and advance in their careers.

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