Per Scholas Commits to Training Thousands of Black Learners in Support of OneTen

An endorsed talent development partner for OneTen, Per Scholas’s commitment will help the coalition reach its goal of training and creating jobs for one million Black Americans

 

New York, N.Y. (October 7, 2021) – For more than 25 years, Per Scholas has advanced economic equity through in-demand technology training, and this week, the nonprofit announced its plan to train tens of thousands of Black learners over the next ten years in support of OneTen – a coalition of leading corporate executives, talent developers, and community leaders who are committed to training, hiring, and advancing Black talent for family-sustaining career opportunities.

 

The training commitment is the latest move by Per Scholas to prepare BIPOC workers for high-growth careers in technology. In June, OneTen announced Per Scholas as an endorsed talent developer to advance its mission of expanding career pathways for one million Black Americans over the next decade.

 

“Per Scholas has always understood the value of training individuals for high-growth careers where they can thrive and build a better life for themselves, their families, and their communities – which is why we’re doing everything possible to expand and scale our training programs to underrepresented talent across the U.S.,” said Plinio Ayala, President, and CEO of Per Scholas. “As part of our work, we could not be more proud to stand alongside OneTen as we commit to training one in every 10 Black Americans that OneTen will reach for life-changing careers in technology – playing a significant role in what is hopefully the end of the lingering opportunity gap in America.”

 

In addition to this latest training commitment, Per Scholas also presented the Diverse by Design North Star Awards – which celebrates and honors leaders who are transforming diversity in the technology sector and beyond. The inaugural award recipients include:

  • Jay Alvather, President of TEKsystems: Building on 20 years of service to TEKsystems, Alvather was appointed President of the global provider of technology, business, and talent solutions in 2015. Inclusion and diversity have always been core to his work, and he has been integral in making a more streamlined, direct connection between in-demand employment opportunities and diverse talent. TEKsystems is pleased to continue their support of Per Scholas’s national expansion plans in 2022 and beyond.
  • Dalila Wilson-Scott, EVP and Chief Diversity Officer for Comcast Corporation, and President of the Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation: Wilson-Scott leads all Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives and philanthropic strategy for the global corporation, including the company’s $100 million dollar commitment to advancing social justice and equality in today’s workforce. Comcast NBCUniversal has also made a tremendous investment in Per Scholas, enabling the nonprofit to grow its training and reach more aspiring technologists amid the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Maurice Jones, CEO of OneTen: Jones is on a mission to help OneTen close the opportunity gap for Black talent in America, partnering with corporate leaders from all sectors and industries to upskill, hire, and promote one million Black Americans into family-sustaining jobs. This decade-long commitment will be transformational to our nation and directly beneficial to the communities where we live, work, and play.

 

“It was a tremendous honor to present our inaugural Diverse by Design North Star Awards to Jay, Dalila, and Maurice earlier this week,” said Damien Howard, Executive Vice President of Social Ventures at Per Scholas and Co-Founder of Diverse by Design. “Much like the North Star – a collection of the brightest and most brilliant stars in the night sky – these leaders and their organizations serve as a beacon. Their commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are bright, awe-inspiring, and inspirational.”

 

Per Scholas will train more than 3,000 learners this year – 90% of whom are Black and brown talent – remotely and across 17 campuses. On average, 85% of learners accepted into Per Scholas will go on to graduate, 80% of graduates will secure employment at an average wage of at least $20 an hour, and 75% will retain employment beyond one year in their field. Historically, alumni will also make roughly four times more in their first job after graduation than their pre-training wage.

 

For more information, please visit PerScholas.org and OneTen.org.

 

Editor’s Note: High-resolution photos of the Diverse by Design North Star Award presentation are available upon request. Please contact Sara Luciano at (332) 895-0051 or by email at [email protected].

 

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 PerScholas.org.

 

About Diverse by Design

Diverse by Design, powered by Per Scholas and ITSMF, promotes solutions-driven conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion within tech, produces meaningful content that empowers c-suite leaders to make both valuable and socially impactful business decisions and provides access to sophisticated customized training and talent sourcing solutions to meet companies’ talent demands while transforming the diversity landscape of their organizations. To learn more, visit diversebydesign.org.

 

About OneTen

OneTen is a coalition of leading chief executives and their companies who are coming together to upskill, hire and promote one million Black Americans over the next 10 years who do not yet have a four-year degree into family-sustaining jobs with opportunities for advancement. We connect employers with talent partners, leading nonprofits, and other skill-credentialing organizations that support the development of diverse talent. By creating more equitable and inclusive workforces, we believe we can reach our full potential as a nation of united citizens. Join us at OneTen.org.

 

Per Scholas Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations are underway around the world and at Per Scholas! The occasion, which runs from September 15 to October 15, is a time to celebrate all of the culture and unique heritage that makes up our Hispanic communities and connect us all to each other.  It has been a focus of ours to connect Hispanic learners with top tech companies to help launch them into a career in technology, as they are historically underrepresented in tech.  

 

To kick off Hispanic Heritage Month, our President and CEO Plinio Ayala shared a message with our team and encouraged us all to use our shared experiences as a way to connect with one another. He also tapped into his own story as a New York Latino.  Plinio grew up in a close-knit neighborhood in the South Bronx, with representation from various Hispanic communities, including Puerto Rican, Mexican, Dominican, Honduran, and others. He related this story of his first trip out of the Barrio recently to Nia Darville, Director, Diverse by Design, as part of the DxD podcast series. Here, he spoke about why what we do at Per Scholas is so important to him on a personal level and the community he came from.  Plinio’s story resonates all the way through our Per Scholas team and the learners we interact with as we train them for different IT roles and responsibilities.  

Plinio Ayala Panel Discussion

Earlier in September, one of our Hispanic learners on track to launch his technology career, Richard Escotto, was featured on CBS Sunday MorningThe feature focused on how many industries and labor markets are looking for employees following the pandemic and where those employees are working now.  Richard Escotto mentioned that after he lost his restaurant job at the beginning of the pandemic, he decided to change career paths into technology. “[The pandemic] did give me an opportunity that was rare and probably was never going to happen, and sometimes you just have to seize that,” Richard reflected.

CBS News feature on Richard Escotto as he studies during a cybersecurity course.

Richard Escotto is set to graduate from Per Scholas New York in October 2021 from our Cybersecurity course.  Since the beginning of 2021, we have trained 300 Hispanic learners for our tuition-free tech training program, a growing number that Richard is happy to be a part of.  

 

  

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 PerScholas.org.

Per Scholas Celebrates ActivateIT Graduation and Generosity in Denver

ActivateIT, Powered by Per Scholas, has much to celebrate this August! This month, our Denver campus commemorated their fourth graduation and officially celebrated the campus’ launch at this in-person event. Per Scholas’ Chief Impact Officer Bridgette Gray served as the keynote speaker at the celebration.  After a year and a half and four cohorts later, ActivateIT, Powered by Per Scholas, has made its mark in the Denver community. ActivateIT is a program under Activate Work that addresses social problems with business solutions and connects underrepresented individuals with careers in financial services, business services, healthcare, skilled trades, and technology.  

Outdoor luncheon as Per Scholas celebrates ActivateIT graduation.

Twenty-six new IT Support graduates celebrated their accomplishments this August, twelve of which were present for this in-person celebration. More than a third are already employed in tech roles, nearly 50 percent are women, and, through our partnership with designDATA/Doyon group, four joined our remote cohort from Alaska.  An additional reason to celebrate comes from a significant contribution from a generous donor that had followed the experience and stories of our learners and wanted to grant them an opportunity to start building real wealth.  Each of our graduates will receive $1,500 to contribute to a Roth IRA once opened, and also committed to doing the same for all of our ActivateIT graduates for the next five years.  Such a generous and inspiring gift ties into our vision to not just connect graduates to careers, but to build and grow wealth.  

Since its inception, ActivateIT has been led by Managing Director Kathryn Harris to advance economic mobility in Denver. In addition to tuition-free training, Activate Work provides alumni services through twelve months of post-placement coaching that works on extending career development, choosing their benefits, and financial capability training.  In Denver, our graduates’ average wage was $20 per hour last year and is now up to $25 per hour.  Describing this graduation celebration, Kathryn noted, “We really wanted it to be to celebrate all our graduates, thus far, and our current alumni and also to bring in our funders and bring in prospective funders, employers, and hiring managers.”  Kathryn also mentioned that seeing all of the graduates together put the whole cohort into perspective.  “I think what I am just constantly amazed by during this time of remote learning is how much support, love, and consideration is built between these cohort members. Being together, getting to showcase and recognize how much work our learners have done, and how much they have accomplished was phenomenal.”  

One graduate that landed a career after graduation and has seen the impact of his tech training is Marco Vasquez.  Marco graduated in August 2021 from the IT Support course and is now an IT Technician.  “Per Scholas definitely helped me in not only getting the technical knowledge, but they also prepared me to be an excellent professional,” he reflects.  “IT is an industry that is going to be growing nonstop. There are so many opportunities – this is just the beginning, and I plan on getting more certifications.”

ActivateIT graduate, Marco Vasquez, as he celebrates ActivateIT graduation.

We are excited for our IT Support graduates from Denver’s ActivateIT, Powered by Per Scholas cohort and were happy to celebrate the ActivateIT graduation.  We know that they have the skills, knowledge, and hands-on training to excel in their IT roles and will continue to succeed in the IT industry.  To learn more about ActivateIT, check them out online

Growing to Train More Learners Nationwide

In June, Per Scholas made waves and became a greater source of technical training and career development through several important partnerships, recognitions, and collaborations.  With such opportunities to grow and be recognized for the work we are doing to connect skilled individuals that were previously underrepresented in the tech community, our reach is set to grow in the coming months and years. 

We’re humbled by growth capital investment from The Studio @ Blue Meridian, an initiative by Blue Meridian Partners, which provides social sector organizations flexible resources so we can test, iterate, and refine our model in order to accelerate readiness to significantly scale. Blue Meridian joins Lever for Change and other critical supporters in powering Per Scholas’ growth to 10,000 learners per year by 2025.

With our Champion Partner, TEKsystems, we graduated our first in-person training since the pandemic began! Learners in New York completed a new customized Low Voltage Technician training program developed specifically for TEKsystems’ career opportunities.  We also hosted graduations in Detroit, Chicago, Boston, and Pittsburgh, resulting in over 75 trained Java Developers and Desktop Support skilled workers, ready for full-time employment. 

Per Scholas was named a talent developer by OneTen, a coalition of leading executives who are working to change the approach to recruiting, hiring, advancing and promoting talent to put skills first. Our mission to advance economic equity through rigorous training for tech careers and connecting skilled talent to leading businesses goes hand-in-hand with OneTen’s vision to upskill, hire, and advance one million Black Americans over the next 10 years. “We look forward to having Per Scholas join us as an endorsed talent developer to support us in our mission to hire and advance one million Black talent in the next ten years,” said Maurice Jones, Chief Executive Officer of OneTen. “This effort will require a high functioning, multi-disciplinary coalition from corporate America, talent developers, Black talent, talent supports, and others, and it is crucial we have high quality partners like Per Scholas on that team. We are grateful for the work they have already done and are excited to partner with them going forward.”

In June, we also celebrated the launch of a new New York Satellite Partnership Initiative, removing barriers to better train learners across New York City.  Per Scholas New York Managing Director Abe Mendez joined Staten Island Borough President James Oddo to announce this exciting expansion, which will begin to train Staten Islanders in-person through a partnership with the Staten Island Jewish Community Center this fall. 

We are proud to again receive a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, recognizing our organization’s commitment to industry best practices. We are also honored to be awarded Guidestar‘s Platinum Seal of Transparency for nonprofits, a recognition we are extremely grateful to receive.  These awards and recognitions enable us to build trust with our partners and learners.  Because of this trust, we are confident we will be successful in continuing to train and upskill underrepresented individuals for thriving careers in America’s tech workforce, achieving our goal of providing free tech training to more than 3,000 learners this year and growing to 10,000 learners annually by 2025.

Our June News Recap

Here’s a recap of Per Scholas in the news for June!  This month, we were featured in the press with articles over Juneteenth, our impact in the New York job market, and featuring our learners and graduates.  To read all of our features, be sure to check out our links below!

  • One story in Crain’s New York featured our EVP, Kenneth Walker, with an opinion piece about diversity in the workforce in Corporate America.  He challenges businesses and organizations to use their resources to diversify their workforce and stated, “companies should be turning to DEI consulting firms to better understand how bias plays out in their workplace so that they can build in processes that eliminate hiring biases that may be preventing diverse talent from joining their teams.” 
  • Another article in Crains’ New York mentioned one of our learners as Per Scholas aims to lower New York’s unemployment rate through tech training.  
  • Our New York recent exposure didn’t stop there. We were featured in the New York Times, where it was discussed that the comprehensive training approach has been refined at successful nonprofits, such as Per Scholas, that have spent decades dedicated to lifting people into the middle class. 
  • Lastly, in Dallas, we were named as a finalist in D CEO’s Nonprofit and Citizenship Awards for Outstanding Innovation in Nonprofits! As we train individuals in technology, innovation is essential, so this nomination and announcement of us as finalists is monumental.  

Diverse by Design | Young, Black & Techy: Recruiting, Retaining, and Cultivating Diverse Talent

Per Scholas celebrated Black History Month on Tuesday, February 23 with Diverse by Design’s first 2021 Virtual Conversation, Young, Black & Techy: Recruiting, Retaining, and Cultivating Diverse Talent. The one-hour webinar identified barriers young Black candidates face when trying to enter tech roles, and the strategies Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) executives are using to mitigate those barriers. 

The event was moderated by Nia Darville, Director of Diverse by Design for Per Scholas, and featured interactive conversations between DEI leaders Dalila Wilson-Scott, EVP and Chief Diversity Officer & President for Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation; and Franklin Reed, Executive Director of Diversity & Inclusion at TEKsystems.

The event also incorporated the stories and perspectives of two Per Scholas alumni, Bettina Jerome, Senior Engineer, VMware; and Jerome Wallace, Data Center Manager, Kobiton. The two alumni have succeeded in launching their careers, and shared their experiences starting out as Black professionals in the technology field. 

The webinar event is presented here in its entirety. For more information on Diverse by Design, please visit www.DiverseByDesign.org.

Diverse by Design 2020

Since 2016, Diverse by Design brought together c-suite thought leaders to discuss best practices and solutions for businesses to attract, develop, and retain a more diverse and inclusive workforce. With the 2020 global pandemic putting a halt on all in-person gatherings, this year’s conference was reimagined as a virtual event. 

This year’s event evolved into a three-part virtual conversation series hosted on October 2, 9, and 16, from 2 to 3 pm ET, pivoting away from previous years’ single-day, city-based proceedings.


 

Panel 1: Designing People Solutions for the New Tech Marketplace

Our first session featured Per Scholas President and CEO Plinio Ayala alongside TEKsystems President Jay Alvather for a virtual fireside chat on the important role which private/nonprofit tech training partnerships have played in driving a more equitable and resilient workforce. Per Scholas Executive Vice President of Social Ventures Damien Howard moderated the conversation. 

“I say often that our partnership with Per Scholas is an unquestionable win-win,” stated Jay. “Per Scholas’ mission aligns so well with our purpose at TEKsystems which is to create the most significant opportunities for our people and to achieve personal and professional growth.”

“Our partnership illustrates how you can develop high-quality tech talent from non-traditional sources and diverse backgrounds,” replied Plinio. To date, the TEKsystems and Per Scholas partnership has trained over 

In response to concerns regarding post-pandemic recovery efforts, both Jay and Plinio agreed that the pandemic has amplified reliance on technology and the need for businesses to hire qualified tech talent.

“It’s critical to provide opportunities to individuals who otherwise might get lost in our economy. This type of corporate-nonprofit partnership can strengthen the economic base for the country and build a stronger post-pandemic recovery,” stated Plinio. For Jay, the tech talent pipeline isn’t growing fast enough organically to attract more talent into the field and should pursue more creative ways to do so. “I think the key is being able to bridge not only the diverse talent gap but also make the more streamlined, direct connection to those needed employment opportunities – providing not only skills but access.” 

Check out the full-length session here.


Panel 2: Designing Philanthropy and Business Strategies for Deep Impact

Our second session considered how corporations can strategically leverage philanthropic resources, thought leadership, and employee engagement to scale business impact on the future of work. Panelists discussed strategies to align corporate philanthropy with business KPIs, employee engagement aligned with community work, as well as crafting executive thought leadership to elevate core themes of sustainability, equity, and impact. 

Our distinguished panelists at this session were:

  • Hardmon Williams, Vice President, AT&T Believes
  • Monique Baptise, VP Global Philanthropy, JPMorgan
  • Tan Moorthy, Executive Vice President, Head of U.S. Delivery Operations and Global Head of Education, Training & Assessment

This session was moderated by Sacha Thompson, Founder and CEO at The Equity Equation, LLC.

“[Adaptability], that is one of the biggest attributes an employee can have,” began Hardmon Williams, Vice President, AT&T Believes. AT&T recently profiled several Per Scholas graduates for their recent announcement to support online academies, including Per Scholas. (Click here to hear from Per Scholas New York alum, Shaniece Crumpler.) “Shaniece’s notion [on adaptability] is something that we embody from those who come through our pipeline.” 

For Monique Baptise, VP Global Philanthropy, JPMorgan, it’s about taking intentional steps forward towards building opportunities for people of color in which corporations tap into their expertise in order to strengthen programs and opportunities to provide mentorship to those looking to get into the IT field. “How do we help communities recover in deep ways, find new options, and think innovatively about these strategies and change outcomes?” 

The “learn while you earn” model is one approach that corporations can adopt to help provide opportunities to their employees. Tan Moorthy believes that employers who offer upskilling opportunities and training can play a pivotal role in helping to resolve education inequities in communities across the country.

Check out the full-length session here.


Panel 3: Designing Pathways for the New Worker

The third session examined internal business pathways designed for the “new worker.” In this case, new worker doesn’t refer necessarily to a younger worker, but to a worker trained to succeed in today’s high-tech environment.  This means that today’s workers need to develop new skills or update old ones at every step of their career in order to keep their skills relevant.

Our distinguished panelists at this session were:

  • Jason Oliver, Vice President, AT&T University Operations
  • Janet Pope, North America Corporate Responsibility Director, Capgemini
  • Guy Fruda, Managing Director, Deloitte

This discussion was moderated by Tia Buckham-White, Notre Internationale.

The conversation in this session was around such topics as a recent Deloitte executive survey that reported more than three-quarters of respondents intend to reskill employees this year, but less than half put systems in place to reward new skill development.  These two findings are somewhat in conflict and demonstrate that not only does new tech skills training need to be made available to workers, but they also need to be incentivized to take the time out to enroll in this training and develop their skills.

Jason Oliver, VP of AT&T University Operations talked about AT&T’s commitment to skills-building and tech training programs such as Per Scholas that offer greater equity of access to opportunities for individuals in diverse communities, many of whom have historically been excluded from tech careers. During this portion, we watched a short video of a Per Scholas graduate who had attended a Per Scholas training course funded by AT&T grants.

Janet Pope, Director of CSR for North America at Capgemini spoke about some of the challenges people of color and women have experienced historically to overcome barriers to entry into the tech industry. She referenced the need for companies to consider alternative tech training paths, such as Per Scholas, in order to provide greater access to tech careers.  This is important because options like Per Scholas are available to all interested individuals, are free of charge (tuition is paid for by corporate sponsors and funders), and intense boot-camp style courses take 12-15 weeks to complete, which means that there is an ongoing pool of graduates.  But this means that many companies have to think differently, and not just look at 4-year colleges as a source for new hires. Janet also spoke about how a company’s corporate social responsibility role can influence greater inclusion and diversity in hiring practices.

Finally, Guy Fruda, Managing Director, Deloitte, talked about the rigor and long-term focus on building diversity into hiring that is required to overcome the current low level of representation among communities of color and women in tech.  He emphasized that this takes senior management commitment and the building of a culture of diversity and inclusion. He also talked about creating an infrastructure of support, such as mentoring and career development to increase retention of talent from diverse backgrounds. He talked about this as a key strategic advantage that Deloitte has built and emphasized that companies with greater diversity are documented to be stronger in terms of overall performance, productivity, and employee morale.

Check out the full-length session here.


We truly enjoyed our third session and especially appreciated the rapport between our panelists.  We thank all of our participants and moderators for this informative session.

Per Scholas in Road Trip Nation, “To Be Determined”

Per Scholas Celebrates 25 Years with Newly Renovated HQ Opening

On October 16th, Per Scholas revealed its newly renovated headquarters in the Bronx, NY and celebrated its 25-year history with the renaming of the site as the “John Hoyt Stookey Tech Training Center” in honor of its Founder and Board Chair Emeritus, John Hoyt Stookey. Per Scholas has grown to become one of the nation’s leading workforce development organizations providing cost-free technology training to thousands of underemployed and underserved individuals. The growth of the organization was presented during the ceremony’s reveal of the Per Scholas museum which charts the organization’s history from “bridging the digital divide” as an asset recovery center that repurposed used computers for local South Bronx schools to “bridging the talent gap” within the tech industry across its eleven markets.

The ceremony gathered together Per Scholas staff and students, as well as some of the organization’s key supporters and funding partners who toured the facility and participated in various tech demos. Per Scholas President and CEO, Plinio Ayala, also acknowledged the support of the Bronx Borough President’s Office and their support within the Bronx. “With their help, we’ve grown from enrolling 50 students a year to close to 1,000 students per year.”

Two days after the ceremony, the John Hoyt Stookey Tech Training Center celebrated the graduation of its first cybersecurity cohort. For Abe Mendez, Per Scholas New York Managing Director, this will be the first of many cohorts to join the ranks of the classes that came before them at other sites, as well as alumni who have successfully established themselves within the cybersecurity field.

“We’ve had hundreds of graduates in cybersecurity working and are now thriving at companies across the United States, helping to protect companies from threats from across the cybersecurity landscape.”

Cybersecurity graduate Kristina Arnold explored a number of career options and similar education opportunities cost way too much. Because of Per Scholas, she has been able to identify a career path that is both personally ad financially rewarding. The renaming of the site recognizes the leadership and legacy that has shepherded the organization to where it is today, but its impact on those who it helped to bring out the best in will remain long-lasting.

“It is not just the training, Per Scholas provides a holistic approach, they help you as a full person. On behalf of myself and the twenty-two classmates from the Bronx’s inaugural Cybersecurity class, I want to say thank you to the funders and supporters here with us today. Because of you, we are taking the next step in our technology careers and we are able to do that because of you and because of Per Scholas.”

Per Scholas would like to thank all of the contributors who made this renovation possible:

Barclays
Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr.
Richard and Jacqueline Emmet
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation
The Hyde and Watson Foundation
JPMorgan Chase & Co.
New York City Council, Bronx Delegation
The New York Community Trust
Pratt Institute

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