A Mentor’s Role in a Learner’s Life

A mentor’s role in a student’s life is highly significant. A mentor is someone who guides a learner throughout their journey to break the barriers that might stand in their way to success. 

Per Scholas offers supplemental mentorship to all its learners in addition to their training. Our mentors are career coaches, financial coaches, and instructors, all of who believe that maintaining an open line of communication with our learners is essential to their success. But how exactly are mentors influencing our learners’ experiences not only during their time at Per Scholas but also after graduating? How are our learners prepared to navigate a job market that grows continuously and becomes more demanding every day? Hear from some of our Per Scholas’ mentors about the benefits, activities, and advice for career success.

How Mentors Help Learners

One of the many ways a mentor can help our learners is by ensuring that they are equipped with proper knowledge and skills necessary to be marketable in the workforce, as well as enhance confidence in areas that learners might feel incompetent in, and accommodate time outside traditional class to provide a more personal learning experience.

two women discussing goals at a table with masks on

Mentorship can be as broad or as specific as learners need it to be. One way Kelsey Briggs (Senior Manager, Career Solutions, Chicago) provides mentorship is by sharing information about job market opportunities in the area and also offering feedback to learners about their job search materials, networking, and communication skills.

“We guide them through their next career move, salary negotiation, and even when the right time is to move on to a new opportunity.” 

It is also important to remember that the relationship between mentor and mentee, in this case, our learners, is a safe, free of judgment space, and encourages learners to share their personal challenges and create an effective plan of action. “I focus on mentoring my learners with my life expertise and best professional practices. I also hold one on one meetings with my learners, and together we create an effective plan to address them,” shares Jose Jurado (Senior Manager, Career Advancement, New York).

What to do as a Mentor

It is essential to understand what activities learners can participate in with their mentors during the mentoring process. Our mentors in Boston and Detroit agree that having a set time to connect and check in regularly is fundamental to building a fruitful relationship between mentor and learner. Equally important is to talk openly. Honest feedback is one of the many benefits of mentorship. However, this can only be effective if there is an open communication line between the mentor and the learner. As Kelsey Briggs explains: “As we get to know each other, we can offer information on how others might perceive us, how we could get ahead, or how we can reach our goals. The mentor/mentee relationship isn’t fixed, either. A strong relationship will have you sometimes offering advice and sometimes receiving it.” 

Individuals discussing tech at a table.

Other suggested activities include role-playing, which can be beneficial during the interview process when looking for a job, setting reasonable expectations, providing career focus direction, and networking activities. Many other activities can be part of your mentor’s relationship; these will depend on what you need, what you are looking for, and where you stand in your career at the time. 

 

Per Scholas Named as Exemplary Training Program in New York

The Center for an Urban Future named Per Scholas as an exemplary training program in New York that supports New York City Mayor, Eric Adams, with his workforce development plan.

Eric Adams at the Satellite Launch in New York speaking at a podium.
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“We are going to launch an unprecedented job program to link out-of-work New Yorkers not just with jobs, but with skills and training,” Adams mentioned during his campaign run.  Per Scholas, as a tech workforce training program based in the Bronx and Brooklyn, works with employers to design programs geared to the demands of hiring companies as we plan to train more individuals for a thriving tech career in New York.

 

Read the full article and feature here.

The Importance of Upskilling and Reskilling

In a competitive job market with many shifting gears from The Great Resignation, there is more focus on employees to upskill and reskill in their industry to become greater experts in the field.  When it comes to technology, Per Scholas not only trains our learners to become skilled technologists, but we also offer upskilling and reskilling opportunities that support our corporate partners with top-tier candidates for their organizations. Why is it important to upskill and reskill in the tech industry? Because the industry is ever-evolving and simply put; the more you know, the more you grow. From a business perspective, it is alluring to hire individuals who are eager to learn more or have previously done so to further their careers. Luckily, Per Scholas prepares our learners for thriving tech careers with these opportunities.  

learners in training

Throughout The Great Resignation, Per Scholas has been able to navigate the new industry challenge and help our enterprise clients through our customized training upskilling and reskilling courses. Our Executive Vice President of Social Ventures, Damien Howard, was recently invited to serve on a panel at The Big Exit Conference and spoke on how Per Scholas is helping companies win the War on Tech Talent. “We’re all facing a war on talent amid the Great Resignation, so the opportunity is right in front of us to make diverse, equitable, and inclusive hiring decisions that will push business — and bottom lines — forward,” Damien mentioned during his panel discussion. Not only are we providing strong tech talent for our partners, but a diverse group of technologists that will bolster Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts for corporations. The IT industry is struggling with diversity, where only 40% of the IT workforce is diverse today and only 26% is women. There is limited supply and high demand for diverse candidates, which is what Per Scholas has worked to bridge a gap in the workforce.  A study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) identified diversity as a key driver of innovation, finding that diverse teams produce a minimum of 19% more revenue

 

Per Scholas graduate Maria Patokina took advantage of one of our upskilling courses that advanced her coding capabilities. After successfully completing her initial course in March 2021, Maria did not have a job lined up, so she felt it was important for her to continue learning and gain certifications. Maria enrolled in the Google IT Automation with Python Alumni training course. “The Python certification helped a lot in several ways,”  she reflected. “Taking this certification course helped me better understand general coding principles and other languages, like Javascript.” After completing the course in May 2021, Maria realized that the new certification made her a standout candidate in her job search. She soon began her first tech job as a Software Engineering intern at a leading corporation. Maria credits the certification for improving her coding skills and creating a habit of self-studying that she feels is important in the IT field. “I learned a lot in a short period of time with Per Scholas that prepared me with a lot of practical, hands-on experience,” Maria said about her experience. 

upskilling materials for training

With so many different avenues to go down in the tech field, upskilling and reskilling opportunities are pertinent for both companies and employees.  Per Scholas’ alumni training courses that have been customized for our partners are one way to defeat the Great Resignation we have recently faced in America and a great opportunity for organizations to strengthen their DEI ties.  Data has shown that 87 – 90% of our learners are people of color and about 30% of that number identify as women, further proving we’re a turnkey solution for enterprises looking to diversify their technology talent immediately – with customized courses and opportunities for our graduates to continue towards success as technologists.  For more information on our upskilling opportunities, visit our website.  For questions about diversifying your tech talent pipelines with our incredible talent, set up a discovery meeting to discuss how we can work together and move the needle around diversity, digital transformation, and superior tech talent within your firm.

Per Scholas and Amazon Working Together to Train Individuals to Become Cloud Experts

Per Scholas Greater Boston alumni, Ana Rodriguez, was featured in Insider‘s article showcasing Amazon Web Services (AWS) and how they will train 29 million individuals to be cloud experts.  Per Scholas currently trains individuals to be AWS certified with tuition-free training, just as Ana accomplished.

Per Scholas graduate standing for a photo.

Ana started the AWS re/Start training and quickly learned it would be challenging, but worth it. “It was very fast-paced for five months, and in five months we had to prepare for the AWS test, which is not an entry-level certification,” she noted.

We are excited to continue to offer our AWS re/Start course to train individuals to be certified cloud practitioners.

Per Scholas Featured in Version Next, Now

TEKsystem’s December issue of their publication Version Next, Now featured Per Scholas’s Executive Vice President of Social Ventures Damien Howard and his powerful commentary making the business case for diversity, he positioned Per Scholas as a go-to resource for building diverse talent pipelines.  “The pandemic has illustrated just how essential inclusion and diversity (I&D) are, and if we don’t continue to focus and call for action in this critical area, we’ll never have an equitable recovery,” Damien stated.

 

Read the full publication here to learn more about real-world insights and expert perspectives on breakthroughs in technology that are impacting business.

 

 

Per Scholas Columbus Featured in Segment at WBNS About Equity in Tech Industry

Per Scholas Managing Director Noah Mitchell discussed how Per Scholas Columbus is encouraging equity in the tech field with our tuition-free training and certifications with WBNS. “This is an IT training organization and workforce developer organization. And we’re really about equity and making sure that we are providing people with the opportunity to continue their careers within the IT industry,” said Noah.

Managing Director on WBNS TV feature wearing suit.

In addition to training individuals in tech and professional development, Noah discussed with WBNS how we are partnering with businesses in Columbus for our graduates to start their careers in tech.

 

Watch the full WBNS video and read more on Noah’s interview here.

Insight Into Our 2022 Training Cohorts

Another year of growth is on the horizon for Per Scholas!  November 29 marks the day applications open up for our upcoming training tracks with plenty of new additions and a larger reach for our cost-free training.  In 2022, expect to see expanded offerings of our most popular courses on more campuses.

Per Scholas Location card

In 2022, Per Scholas will offer our AWS re/Start, Cybersecurity, and Software Engineering curriculum in more locations than ever before as we enroll more technologists in our cost-free training and continue to diversify the tech industry.  In our Dallas market, the new year will bring in more learners as we expand to train learners in Collin and Tarrant counties.  Our Per Scholas Charlotte campus is extending out to become Per Scholas North Carolina with a partnership with Wilkes Community College.  We will train 1,000 New Yorkers through 2022 throughout the five boroughs since we launched our satellite model in Staten Island and Queens.  Additionally, you can expect to see a cohort launched in our National Capital Region (NCR) campus that is designed to support women learners.  This cohort will feature 15 spots for female technologists to pursue a career in technology and launch in February 2022. Our Per Scholas NCR Managing Director Diane Duff spoke with Michaela Althouse at Technical.ly DC to discuss the cohort and how Per Scholas will advance women in technology with this training.  “A thriving wage is critical to being able to participate in the workforce,” Duff said. “I mean, particularly for women, if you are not making enough money to support your household, what are we talking about?” 

 

Stay tuned to learn more about the launch dates and locations of all of our cohorts and our admissions process by visiting our website.  Reach out to [email protected] with any questions on our upcoming training as we train more learners than ever before in 2022!

Per Scholas Newark Returns to Campus with Support from Prudential

This month, Per Scholas Newark returned to campus for the first time since the pandemic hit, in a hybrid model that includes both in-person and remote learning.  Prudential has been present throughout our remote training, including welcoming our learners back to in-person training on our first day back.  Prudential’s VP of Design and Development Solutions, David Heafitz, arrived for our hybrid model launch on November 15 to welcome our learners and instructors back and provide thought leadership as a partner.  “There is a camaraderie and spark that ignites learning in an in-person setting,” Heafitz reflected.  “I am thrilled to take part in the re-launch of in-person training at Per Scholas Newark and see the impact hands-on training will have on these learners.”

Per Scholas Newark and Prudential together at first day of hybrid learning.

Per Scholas Newark is one of the first campuses to transition back to in-person training in over eighteen months in a hybrid model that offers remote learning as well.  For our IT Support Instructor, King Oquendo, there is a lot of excitement and hope for upcoming cohorts as we return to campus.  “Being back in a hybrid class is a great step back into normalcy. Learners will get back to hands-on training while at the same time learning to work as a team via the class video conference room/breakout rooms,” noted Oquendo.  “As we enter a new world where remote work is more essential than ever before, we here at Per Scholas are adapting with the real world, training and providing the foundation for a successful IT career.”

 

Since the start of our partnership in 2018, more than 100 Prudential employees have generously contributed their time to inspire and guide our learners on their tech career journeys through events including mock interviews, fireside chats, and resume reviews. Throughout the pandemic, Prudential’s employees have continued to support our learners through virtual volunteering events. One of our local Per Scholas Newark advisory board members, Min Zhang, is the Database Administration Director at Prudential and has been very involved in our Per Scholas Newark campus.  

Per Scholas learners together.

Prudential is a Founding Partner of Per Scholas Newark and has provided critical support to launch and sustain Newark since 2018. Since our first cohort in 2019, Per Scholas Newark has trained 221 learners. We are grateful for our ongoing partnership between Prudential and Per Scholas Newark, where the most recent investment will provide support to more than 500 learners through 2023, enrolling 528 learners in training tracks including cloud data management, software engineering, network support, and cybersecurity as a way to meet local employer needs. 

How to Land Your First Job in Tech: Resume and Interview Tips

As Per Scholas continues to prepare our learners for thriving tech careers, our training does not stop at the technical skills needed to acquire a tech role.  For example, we set aside a full day each week for professional development and career coaching for all of our learners for a holistic approach to starting a career in tech.  Our professional development days often include resume reviews, mock interviews, and career coaching with our Career Coaches.  We picked the brain of our Senior Manager of Career Solutions, Christel Grissett, to find out what her top resume and interview tips were to put your best foot forward as you embark on your career in the tech industry.

Resume Tips

Your resume is a live document 

When it comes to creating your resume, keep in mind that you will want to tailor it to each job that you apply for and use keywords used in the job description throughout the document. “Creating a resume is not a “one and done” deal,” stated Grissett. “Updating your resume for each job using the job description will help your resume come up with application tracking systems so your it does not become lost in the mix.” 

Spell check your resume and ensure that the fonts and sizing are all the same

Maintain a clean, readable font throughout the document. Create curb appeal by listing your skills and a summary of your accomplishments at the beginning of your resume. Alternatively, Grissett recommends not using resume templates because they are often flagged in applicant tracking systems. Save your resume as a PDF to send to the company and name it as your name and the position title so it will be easily found by both you and the company.

Include your soft skills

Soft skills such as time management, leadership, and interpersonal skills are all transferable across any job industry.  Many of our Per Scholas graduates are looking to make career changes into a new job sector, so including soft skills shows what crafts you have that could penetrate any markets.  

Per Scholas learner smiling.

Interview Tips

Research the company beforehand and prepare with questions about your role

Besides just researching the company, check out who will interview you on LinkedIn. Review what they post, like, and share – this could spark conversation and take out any nerves since you will know who you are interviewing with beforehand. 

Practice common interview questions/attend mock interviews before the interview

Practice makes perfect, but you don’t want to sound too rehearsed!  One of the advantages of our training at Per Scholas is that our professional development days often include mock interviews – an opportunity to practice interviewing and become familiar with this part of the hiring process.  

Consider the interview a conversation more than an interview

To help settle your nerves, consider the interview more of a conversation.  “This is an opportunity to get to know who you could work for and if the company is right for you as well,” mentioned Grissett.  She also recommended leaving the interviewer with a question that prompts you to reveal more about yourself, such as, “is there anything I can disclose or speak to that shows my fit for this position?” 

If you keep these interview and resume tips in mind, we know that you will be set up for success as you embark on your career in technology.  Many of these tips are reviewed in all of our cost-free training as part of our professional development curriculum with our career and business development coaches! To learn more about our upcoming training, visit our website.

Women-Only Cohort Launching at Per Scholas in 2022

Starting in February 2022, Per Scholas will launch a women-only cohort in our National Capital Region campus.  This will be the first women-only cohort since our start over 25 years ago and is a testament to our plans to diversify the tech industry.  Per Scholas NCR Managing Director, Diane Duff, mentioned, “this training is designed with women in mind, and with the goal of understanding the barriers women face entering the industry.”

With the Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations grant, Per Scholas has to opportunity to offer this program to bolster women in the tech workforce.  The training will be completely remote, hold 15 spots, and held from 9:30 am – 2:30 pm with additional tutoring and professional development hours available on the weekends.  If you or someone you know are interested in this women-only training, applications open on November 29.

Women-only technologists in cohort in National Capital Region

 Per Scholas is excited for this opportunity to raise the percentage of women in tech from beyond 30% female.  Click here to learn more about the cohort and the effect it will have on women in tech with our feature in Technical.ly DC.

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