Per Scholas Deputy Chief Training Officer Noah Mitchell Joins Grantmakers for Education’s National Panel Discussion.

On June 18th, Per Scholas’s Deputy Chief Training Officer, Noah Mitchell, will be joining national panel of experts in a webinar hosted by Grantmakers for Education. Attendees will discuss the growth and impact of skills-based training programs like Per Scholas, and what this growth means for “traditional” higher education.

Web panelists in attendance included:

  • Noah Mitchell, Per Scholas
  • Carolyn Lee, Ascendium Education Group
  • Frieda Molina, MDRC
  • Rebecca Taber Staehelin, Merit America
  • Garrett Warfield, Year Up

Read more about the panel and register here.

Per Scholas Chief of Staff Tamara Johnson Speaks at White House’s Office of the National Cyber Director’s Discussion

Per Scholas Chief of Staff Tamara Johnson joined teams from across the nation this week in a discussion hosted by the White House Office of the National Cyber Director (ONCD) to build a strong cyber workforce in the U.S. More than 500,000 cybersecurity positions are currently open across the country, according to the White House. 

“Access to diverse communities, assessing aptitude, and retention are among the top challenges shared by employers in the room at the White House event. Any solution to solving the cyber talent gap will need to address these three challenges in a scalable way,” Tamara said. 

Per Scholas was invited to share the innovative ways our model boosts the cyber workforce – and connects underrepresented professionals with high-impact careers. Per Scholas commits to the National Cyber Workforce and Education Strategy, where we lead the effort to train 5,000 cyber learners over the next 5 years and grow its national Registered Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Program to 40 cyber apprentices in 2024.

The event featured remarks from White House leaders and voices from across a dozen industries, including Per Scholas Pittsburgh alum Dominic Ragghianti. Learn more about the nationwide effort in the latest White House press release.

Per Scholas is Leading the Way for Cybersecurity Apprenticeships; Featured in Skills-First for Cyber

As cyber risks increase, so does the need for skilled cyber talent. However, a critical talent shortage is leaving organizations scrambling for solutions. Employers and the government are exploring innovative recruitment and training methods to address this gap. One solution is Per Scholas’ new cybersecurity apprenticeship program registered with the U.S. Department of Labor. Through this program, we will train 40 apprentices by the end of the year, with a goal of training 5K cyber learners during the next five years.

“Apprenticeships are not internships,” says Alanna Hughes, senior vice president of strategy and innovation for Per Scholas. “Registered apprenticeships do not have to be bureaucratic nightmares just because they are more structured,” she says. “We make it easier on the employer to take advantage of the perks by managing the administrative pieces.”

Read more about the need for cyber talent and our new apprenticeship program here!

Per Scholas in the News: National Cyber Director Encourages Adoption of Skill-Based Hiring to Connect Americans to Good-Paying Cyber Jobs

As a result of more than 500,000 cybersecurity positions currently unfilled across the country, The Biden-Harris Administration and the federal government are overhauling the federal hiring process to become fully skills-based for an entire series of technical employees. By opening the talent pool up to individuals who have gained experience through training programs and apprenticeships, more cyber talent can enter the workforce without needing to meet a college degree requirement. Along with this advancement, the White House Office of the National Cyber Director announced organizations, including Per Scholas, committing to help build the U.S. cybersecurity workforce.

Read the rest of the White House Press Release here!

 

Per Scholas Alumna Speaks at ASU+GSV Summit on Stand Together Foundation’s Future of Work Panel

Per Scholas alumna Ayana Dunlap participated in Stand Together Foundation’s Future of Work panel discussion at the ASU+GSV Summit in San Diego along with Steve Taylor, Director and Senior Fellow of Education & Workforce at Stand Together Trust, and Ken Ruggiero, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Ascent Funding. 

The panel explored policy and funding reforms crucial for ensuring financial accessibility to alternative education options, beyond traditional college routes. Ayana shared her journey with Per Scholas, highlighting its pivotal role in her tech industry breakthrough and subsequent high-growth career. “Per Scholas laid the IT foundation for my tech career. Many wonder how I advanced so swiftly.” Today, she’s the Assistant Vice President of Operations and Information Technology at the Bank Policy Institute in Washington D.C. 

Learn more about the panel and Stand Together Foundation’s key takeaways here

 

Per Scholas Diverse by Design + Enterprise Talent Solutions Host Innovative AI Panel

Last week, Per Scholas’ Diverse by Design in collaboration with Enterprise Talent Solutions hosted an innovative panel focused on the future of AI – Securing Tech Futures: Unsung Heroes of AI.

Moderator Omoanatse McCarther, Per Scholas Diverse by Design Senior Director, was joined by four industry experts to discuss the future of AI technology and its integration into our workforce. Panelists included Marta Bezoari – EVP & Co-Head, Human Resources, PIMCO; Rafiki Cai – Visiting Community AI Scholar, University of San Francisco & Volunteer CTO, Friends of the Congo; Eyal Darmon – Public Service Generative AI Lead, Customer Experience Lead, & Managing Director, Accenture; and Tiffany Hsieh – Director, Innovation Programs, JFFLabs.

This inspiring conversation touched on lesser-known tech roles and support AI development, maintenance, and integration, such as programmers, cybersecurity experts, and data analysts. Panelists discussed the idea that AI’s role is to augment our capacity to perform our work, rather than replace us. This stellar panel and their insightful advice will continue creating systems that serve us all.

Stay in touch with us to learn about our future panels!

Per Scholas Applauds Colorado Senator Michael Bennet’s Better Jobs through Evidence and Innovation Act

Per Scholas is thrilled that Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet has introduced the Better Jobs through Evidence and Innovation Act, which aims to expand funding for proven workforce development programs such as Per Scholas to provide workers with more opportunities in high-paying careers such as IT, healthcare, manufacturing, and financial services.

The bill seeks to address the skills gap by investing in programs that offer long-term economic mobility, particularly for individuals without college degrees. These programs, although ready to serve both workers and employers, are currently underfunded. The Act proposes the creation of the Workforce Development Innovation Fund within the U.S. Department of Labor, which will allocate funding to evidence-based training programs that have shown measurable economic benefits for job seekers and employers. This funding will help support and prioritize effective programs and training models that have proven success in moving learners into well-paying jobs, ultimately supporting families and communities nationwide.

“Per Scholas applauds Senator Bennet for introducing this impactful resource to our workforce system. The passage of a new Workforce Development Innovation Fund would mean effective workforce training providers across the nation, like us, can keep investing in America’s most valuable asset – our people,” said Plinio Ayala, President and CEO, Per Scholas. “Prioritizing improvements based on evidence would scale programs with the best track record of helping workers and their families achieve self-sufficiency. A resource like this will allow us to reach more people, and bring economic prosperity to more communities.”

Read more about the bill and its transformative legislation.

Per Scholas Joins the Military Spouse Employment Partnership through our Vets in Tech Initiative

Last year, Per Scholas joined the Defense Department Spouse Education and Career Opportunities program and Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) for an induction ceremony and annual event in Alexandria, Virginia. Per Scholas joins more than 70 new partners to MSEP — bringing the number of employers to more than 700.

Military spouses have long struggled with maintaining employment due to Permanent Change of Station (PCS) moves and other challenges associated with military life. Unemployment among military spouses stood at 21%, according to the 2021 Survey of Active Duty Spouses. In 2022, overall civilian unemployment was 5.3%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

MSEP connects military spouses with hundreds of partner employers who commit to recruiting, hiring, promoting and retaining military spouses. Since its inception in 2011, MSEP employers have hired more than 275,000 military spouses. 

Providing opportunities to spouses for meaningful employment strengthens financial stability among military families, which promotes force retention and military readiness which are essential to national security.

“Per Scholas is proud to be part of the Military Spouse Employment Partnership through our Vets in Tech initiative. Our outreach goes beyond Veterans – we know the impact a thriving career has on military spouses and the military community as a whole,” states Per Scholas Director of Veteran Recruitment and Partnerships George Darby III. “This partnership will unlock key benefits and crucial support, and enable Per Scholas to enroll at least 1,000 veterans and military spouses over 3 years, of whom at least 80% will be people of color and 20% identify as women.” 

In order to effectively serve those who have served our country, Per Scholas is tailoring our proven program to meet the specific needs of veterans and military spouses through:

  • Strategic Partnerships to recruit eligible veterans and military spouses, provide supportive resources, and assist with job attainment
  • Targeted Recruitment Efforts that focus on customized recruitment materials, local partnerships, advertising on military platforms, and uncovering connections between veteran alums
  • Learner Support to address the unique barriers that veterans and their families face
  • Benefits Access for enrolled learners through GI Bill/VA Approval; Department of Defense Skillbridge; Army Career Skills Program (CSP), and Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC) and this partnership

To learn more about Per Scholas Vets in Tech, click here!

Per Scholas Receives Approval from the Department of Defense Skillbridge Program Enabling Per Scholas to Empower Military Veterans and Spouses to Launch Thriving Careers in Tech

As part of Per Scholas’ ongoing dedication to empowering veterans and military spouses, we are thrilled to share that Per Scholas recently received approval from the Department of Defense Skillbridge program, designed to support transitioning service members across all branches of the military, of whom there are 200,000 each year, by allowing service members to continue drawing their full salary and benefits while pursuing specific industry training, apprenticeships, or internships to gain valuable civilian work experience during their last 180 days of service.

Thanks to the impactful connections we’ve built over the past year, our application was accelerated for approval in record time, allowing Per Scholas to begin empowering veterans and military spouses to launch thriving careers in tech. This approval applies to our most popular training track: IT Support, and we are actively seeking approvals for our remaining training tracks (Cybersecurity, Software Engineering, and AWS re/Start). With a strategic rollout aimed at increasing awareness among service members that they may now access their salary while enrolled in our program during their last six months of service, we anticipate a marked growth not just in the number of applications we receive, but the conversion rate for active service members seeking to translate skills acquired during their service into high-quality careers.

Per Scholas aims to enroll at least 1,000 veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses over the next three years. In line with our commitment to diversity, we expect that at least 80% will be people of color, and at least 20% will be women. 

“The Skillbridge program approval is monumental for Per Scholas, veterans, and military spouses. Through our Vets in Tech initiative and Skillbridge approval, we will be able to unlock potential for the military community,” states Per Scholas  Director of Veteran Recruitment and Partnerships George Darby III. “This will unlock key benefits and crucial support, and enable Per Scholas to enroll at least 1,000 veterans and military spouses over 3 years and gain valuable civilian work experience during their last 180 days of service.”

In order to effectively serve those who have served our country, Per Scholas is tailoring our proven program to meet the specific needs of veterans and military spouses through:

  • Strategic Partnerships to recruit eligible veterans and military spouses, provide supportive resources, and assist with job attainment
  • Targeted Recruitment Efforts that focus on customized recruitment materials, local partnerships, advertising on military platforms, and uncovering connections between veteran alums
  • Learner Support to address the unique barriers that veterans and their families face
  • Benefits Access for enrolled learners through GI Bill/VA Approval; Department of Defense Skillbridge; Army Career Skills Program (CSP), and Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC) and the Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP)

To learn more about Per Scholas Vets in Tech, click here.  

Action Alert: Congress Passes Critical WIOA Vote

This week, all eyes were on the U.S. House of Representatives as they took potential action on the bipartisan A Stronger Workforce for America Act (HR 6655), legislation that brings a long-awaited reauthorization to WIOA. 

HR6655 passed the house in a roll call vote 378-26 and will now move on to the Senate. This vote marks a critical milestone in our government moving closer to creating opportunities for more Americans through skills training and workforce development.

For nearly 30 years, Per Scholas has helped to change the face of technology by providing immersive training that enables people who are often underrepresented in the tech field to launch thriving careers and connect them with employers who are seeking talent to grow. The Stronger Workforce for America Act, introduced this spring by Committee Chair Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) is an important step forward in supporting high-quality, cohort-based educational opportunities that directly meet employer demands. 

This legislation will:

  • Reduce barriers for workforce development providers and participants, by allowing Eligible Training Providers to accept participants while their eligibility determination is still being reviewed by the local workforce board. 
  • Streamline the Eligible Training Provider List (ETPL) and authorize conditional eligibility for workforce development providers that have demonstrated impact. This provision creates more efficiency in the ETPL process and encourages states to reduce the burden on multi-state providers.
  • Require states to establish standards for Eligible Training Providers that clearly link to labor market outcomes. This makes it easier for effective programs to launch in new markets and helps workers identify educational options that are effective at helping launch new careers. 
  •  Require that workforce boards spend 50% of WIOA funds on skills development, creating more access to needed training programs. 
  • Encourage innovation by allowing states to use up to 20% of their funds through Critical Industry Skills initiatives. This will reduce red tape for states and workforce development providers to build effective partnerships through a competitive grants process and could be even stronger with the inclusion of Senator Bennet’s (D-CO) Better Jobs through Evidence and Innovation bill.

Per Scholas will continue to step up for our learners and technologists by advocating for more innovation in the workforce system. There are still critical resource needs, such as funding for effective workforce organizations to scale their efforts and develop new models that address emerging labor market needs— improving programs that general long-term economic improvements for the people that need it most. The impact of this bill is one that will transcend its initial purpose. Workforce development and opportunities for Per Scholas alumni empower them to thrive with new in-demand skills and experience. 

Per Scholas Columbus alumni Jenice Edmunds completed the IT Support and Software Engineering cohorts. As a mother of 6, she showed resilience throughout her life but needed an immersive training program to take her to the next level in her career. 

“Through this course, I learned that I knew more than I thought, and have more to share than I realized. When I started my previous Per Scholas training, I knew nothing at all, but as time went on, I gained knowledge and understanding. With this training, I was able to build on what I taught myself by filling in the knowledge gaps,” Edmunds recalled. 

Now, Jenice is an Agile leader and her son has started Per Scholas’ training, creating significant generational advancement for her family. She commends Per Scholas’ training as an invaluable program that has changed her life. 

This is but one example of the potential that HR655 has to impact American families in a life-changing way. In reshaping WIOA, we look now to the Senate to pass legislation that meets the demands of America’s ever-evolving contemporary workforce before Memorial Day. 

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