Congress Urges Summer Action on WIOA, Skills Development

Congress Urges Summer Action on WIOA, Skills Development 

June was a busy month for workforce advocates around the country, as we watched leaders in the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) take up the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), a cornerstone legislation that since 2014, has funded the nation’s workforce development system. This comes months after the House passed A Stronger Workforce for America Act (ASWAA), which amends and reauthorizes WIOA with much-needed provisions that modernize the workforce system. Per Scholas saw several changes in the bill reflecting our tireless advocacy over the last few years. 

We look to Congress to take the next critical steps in authorizing a full WIOA legislation, one that after 10 years of powering America’s workforce system, can adequately resource the most underfunded services for workers and their families, and prioritize workforce programs that general long-term economic improvements for the people that need it most. 

WIOA Turns 10. Here’s What We’ve Learned:

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2014 marked a turning point for U.S. workforce, when Congress came together to establish the nation’s most comprehensive reform to federal workforce development programs. At an appropriation of nearly $5 billion every year, WIOA authorizes funding for states to implement workforce training programs and services. The law is designed to better help workers access opportunities for employment, education and training, and support services, and funds the nation’s web of 2,300 American Job Centers. 

Recent trends and data help us understand just how important it is to make not only urgent, but also effective, investments into the bill and modernize WIOA to serve U.S. workers, employers and training and education providers. The U.S. invests less than any other industrialized country (just 0.1% of GDP) on workforce development, and spends an estimated 30% less on workforce development today than it did in 2001, nearly a $2.5 billion reduction in the past 20 years. 

Even less of this funding goes towards job training (provided to workers through vouchers called Individual Training Accounts). Despite the millions of Americans served by the nation’s premier workforce development program, about 200,000 workers per year receive training using $0.5B in funds, and typically these vouchers have a maximum cap between $1,000-$8,000 per participant, creating issues around consumer choice and access to quality training. Overall, WIOA eligible training programs prepare participants for jobs that pay below the US median income and also below median income for individuals without college degrees. Workers and training providers already face a number of barriers when navigating such programs, made available on the Eligible Training Provider List (ETPL) that too often fails to adequately measure the quality of its education and training programs—including long-term earnings and other outcomes data. 

In contrast, sectoral employment programs with strong evaluations are proven to create quality career pathways alongside the onramps created by WIOA, yet currently the law dedicates no federal funding for sector partnerships; it’s a responsibility left at states’ discretion. By pulling together employers, workers, workforce boards, labor organizations and training programs that lead to in-demand industry credentials, like the Per Scholas model, the system can better address worker and labor needs.

Per Scholas provides no-cost, full-time training that opens a door for Americans who are committed to launching a career in technology to gain the skills and networks they need to succeed. For 28 years, Per Scholas has consistently helped adults increase their incomes 3x, and returns $8 in economic benefits for every $1 spent on training. With our proven model, Per Scholas has been able to increase our scale of 2000 adult learners per year in 2020 by 150%—that means in 2024 we’ll reach more than 5,000 immersive learners plus 2,000 alumni committing to upskilling. We’ve partnered with WIOA agencies in just under half of our 23+ campuses, to deliver high-quality training programs to communities historically left out of high-growth industries like technology.

Spurring the growth, scale and impact of our training relies on a federal government that can use this opportunity to be strategic with investments in the workforce system. Per Scholas applauds the House and Senate for its bipartisanship to drive WIOA forward with clear priorities, which will reduce barriers in advancing demand-driven training models like ours. 

House and Senate WIOA Priorities Take Shape:

In December 2023 the House Education & Workforce Committee passed ASWAA, with many of our key priorities included in the bill text. The Senate takes a different approach in many areas, and while still in it’s draft stages, Per Scholas highlights a few elements from the framework that offer a positive outlook:

    • Prioritizes evidence-based programming. For 2x evaluated models like Per Scholas, we’re excited to see WIOA provide a clear definition for “evidence-based” and encourage states to build emphasis around evidence-based activities in their State Plans. This creates better opportunities to promote and share information on high-impact programs to the public. 
    • Increases funding for skills development for adult workers. While the House specified WIOA spending (50%) on skills development for adult participants, the Senate framework drops this requirement. Instead, it would allocate more than $100 million in annual H1-B funding to increase funding levels for Individual Training Accounts (ITAs), or training vouchers. This  boost to funding levels would support higher-cost, higher-impact programs through WIOA.
    • Places a high bar on the Eligible Training Provider List (ETPL). The Senate takes requirements for the ETPL a step further than the House. For standard eligibility, providers will need to meet rigorous criteria, including having programs that result in individuals being work-ready, equipped with strong industry-specific skills and postsecondary credentials at the end of training, and lead to roles that fall in an in-demand industry or occupation with high wages. This creates measured accountability around which programs on the ETPL are proven to lead to lifelong, positive impact on participants. 
    • Emphasizes employer-sponsored training.  Similar to the House’ Critical Industry Skills Fund, the Senate framework better encourages state-level investments into industry or sector partnerships, tapping into state reserves (10% Title I) for employer-based training. The emphasis on work-based learning for the adult, dislocated workers and youth populations promises new onramps to employment in nontraditional sectors, through models like Per Scholas’ Registered Cybersecurity Apprenticeship
    • Simplifies eligibility determination for training.  The Senate bill follows the House bill’s lead in streamlining enrollment for training participants by allowing them to participate in an eligible training program while their eligibility determination is completed. This addresses a long-standing challenge for individuals burdened with additional intake, and providers like Per Scholas, who often take on the cost to train  individuals when WIOA eligibility isn’t yet completed before training starts.
    • Integrates alignment between education and training providers. Under Title II WIOA, the Senate framework creates new measures related to participant completion rates in employer-connected learning and in eligible education programs. This creates opportunities for partnerships between adult education programs (primarily through community colleges) and occupational training programs through organizations like Per Scholas, where employer connections are more robust. 
  • Authorizes the Workforce Data Quality Initiative (WDQI) and makes robust investments into the workforce data ecosystem. Like the House, the Senate includes provisions to leverage a national source of data, facilitating cross-state wage data and other linkages, and overall, improving data quality on participant earnings and employment. This is a major victory for Per Scholas and other workforce advocates, and will be critical to data transparency around programs under WIOA. 

What WIOA Still Needs:

A final bill must transform WIOA from a patchwork system to one that is better funded to deliver high-quality skills training that supports long-term economic mobility for working families, helps employers hire diverse talent and make investments into their workers, and advances equitable pathways to quality careers.  

Workforce development and opportunities for Per Scholas alumni empower them to thrive with new in-demand skills and experience. It means lifelong impact for workers like Ryan Chapman,  a Per Scholas Greater Boston graduate who, with only a high school diploma and some hardware repair experience, decided to pursue a career in cybersecurity with Per Scholas. In just three months, he earned his CompTIA CySA+ certification. After graduation from Per Scholas, Ryan landed a role with a local employer as a Networking Technician making $61K/year, transforming his life. 

“When I got into Per Scholas I remember feeling like my dreams were actually starting to unfold. I remember feeling blessed. My feelings were reaffirmed on the first day I showed up to smiling faces, new friends, and excitement,” said Ryan. 

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— accomplished through a bill introduced by Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO), the Better Jobs through Evidence and Innovation Act, which establishes the Workforce Development Innovation Fund. Championed by Per Scholas, critical legislation like this would make funding available to evidence-based employment and training programs that generate demonstrated, long-term economic improvements for jobseekers and employers, and produce high-quality evaluations of their impact. 

“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.”

Other investments into education and training programs loom on the horizon, with Short-term Pell Grants still a major topic for many workforce advocates. Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce predicts that 72 percent of jobs will require postsecondary education and training in 2031, and most of those jobs are expected to require a 4-year degree. With the Bipartisan Workforce Pell Act (H.R. 6585) at a standstill, Congress needs to be all-in on supporting career pathways and effective workforce development programs that are proven to advance economic mobility for working adults. We recommend lawmakers reinforce our shared recommendations via the America Forward Coalition, a network of more than 100 social innovation organizations that champion equitable, innovative, and effective solutions in workforce and education. 

As Congress charges ahead in summer 2024, Per Scholas will continue to work alongside policymakers to build on the latest WIOA framework, strengthen key reforms, and advocate for an equitable legislation that promotes our priorities. 

For more Per Scholas Perspectives, visit our website or contact Salwa Majeed, Senior Manager, Government Affairs at [email protected].

Per Scholas Strengthens National Leadership Team With Two New Appointments

BRONX, N.Y. (June 28, 2024) — National nonprofit Per Scholas has appointed two new members of their National Leadership Team. Pam Kingpetcharat has been named the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Brittany Murrey as the Executive Vice President of Talent Solutions. Both women will support Per Scholas’ commitment to advancing economic equity and an ambitious plan to train 10,000 people yearly.

As CFO, Pam Kingpetcharat is responsible for financial planning and reporting, operations, budgeting, risk management, accounting and finance, payroll, and auditing functions. As Per Scholas evolves, Pam is responsible for ensuring that fiscal actions align with organizational objectives and priorities to train technologists with our no-cost training model.

Pam has more than 20 years of experience in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. In the private sector, she advised leading multinational corporations, organizations, and government agencies about Information and Communications Technology policy, strategy and operations management, public finance management and reform, change management, and organizational effectiveness. Pam’s appointment took effect in June.

“I am excited to join Per Scholas and align our mission with our fiscal actions,” stated Pam Kingpetcharat. “The work I will do here mirrors one of my favorite quotes from Mixine Hong Kingston, ‘To me success means effectiveness in the world, that I am able to carry my ideas and values into the world – that I am able to change it in positive ways.’ I will carry my ideas and values to Per Scholas to advance our mission.”

As Executive Vice President of Talent Solutions, Brittany Murrey will lead the Talent Solutions team collaborating  with our more than 850 employer partners – from Fortune 500 companies to innovative startups – building sustainable and diverse talent pipelines, together changing the face of tech. With national remote training and campuses in more than 20 cities and growing, Brittany collaborates with our training and development teams to foster high-demand tech skills, including Cloud, Cybersecurity, Data Engineering, IT Support, and Software Engineering, and to close the widening skills gap for businesses. 

Brittany is a business and workforce development professional with experience advising employers about how to attract and engage diverse talent pools and improve career pathways for people from underserved communities. Recently, she supported the launch of an employer advisory department at the Center for Employment Opportunities with the goal of improving career pathways for job seekers facing employment barriers. Brittany’s appointment took effect in January.

“Per Scholas’ business model is evolving just like the tech industry is. I look forward to collaborating with leading businesses and our training and development teams to create diverse, robust tech talent solutions,” reflected Brittany Murrey. “As we continue to change the face of tech, we will also provide innovative hiring solutions for our employer partners.”

“Each year, Per Scholas trains more future technologists in the skills they need to be competitive and ready for a variety of roles, and our organization needs innovative leaders to continue our mission. I’m thrilled about Kim and Brittany’s appointments to Per Scholas’ National Leadership Team – as Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Talent Solutions –  and know that with their expertise, knowledge, and leadership, Per Scholas will continue to increase economic equity and advance opportunity throughout America,” said Plinio Ayala, President and CEO of Per Scholas.

About Per Scholas: 

For nearly 30 years, Per Scholas has been on a mission to drive equity and opportunity in the ever-advancing technology landscape by unlocking the untapped potential of individuals, uplifting communities, and meeting the needs of employers through rigorous tech training. By teaming up with dynamic employer partners, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to innovative startups, we’re forging inclusive tech talent pipelines, fulfilling an ever-increasing need for skilled talent. With national remote training and campuses in 20+ cities and counting, Per Scholas offers no-cost training programs in the most sought-after tech skills, spanning Cloud, Cybersecurity, Data Engineering, IT Support, Software Engineering, and more. To date, 25,000+ individuals have been trained through Per Scholas, propelling their professional trajectories into high-growth tech careers with salaries three times higher than their pre-training earnings. At Per Scholas, diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging aren’t just buzzwords—they’re in our DNA. 85+ percent of our learners are people of color, two in five are women, and more than half hold a high school diploma as their highest educational credential. To learn more, visit PerScholas.org and follow us on LinkedIn, X, Facebook, and Instagram.

 

Per Scholas Deputy Chief Training Officer Noah Mitchell Join GrantMakers for Education’s Postsecondary Spotlight on Workforce Training Pathways Panel Discussion

Noah Mitchell, Per Scholas’ Deputy Chief Training Officer, participated in GrantMakers for Education’s June 18th webinar: Postsecondary Spotlight on Workforce Training Pathways. Fellow attendees included Rebecca Taber Staehelin, Co-Founder & Co-CEO of Merit America, Dr. Garrett Warfield, Chief Research Officer of Year Up, and Frieda Molina, Director of Economic Mobility, Housing, and Communities at MDRC.

The panel of experts discussed the continued growth and impact of short-term sectoral training programs, such as Per Scholas, and what this growth means for ‘traditional’ higher education. They addressed the ability of such alternative education programs to offer meaningful economic mobility opportunities, especially for low-income individuals of color and their families, and the implications of the rise of such programs on postsecondary education leaders and funders.

Read more about the panel.

Watch the panel discussion.

Per Scholas Expands Tech Training to Kansas City

Per Scholas Expands Tech Training to Kansas City

 The launch of the new Kansas City campus represents a pivotal moment in the efforts to bridge the digital skills gap and foster economic growth in the region; Now Accepting Applications

KANSAS CITY, MO (JUNE 26, 2024) – National tech training nonprofit Per Scholas launches its new campus in Kansas City, joining Great Jobs KC, the leading workforce development program in Kansas City, to provide holistic information technology training and career development opportunities. This strategic alliance marks a significant milestone in addressing the growing demand for skilled IT professionals in the Kansas City region. Per Scholas Kansas City will offer its no-cost technology skills training from its newest campus located at Offices at Park 39, 300 E 39th St., Kansas City, MO. In addition to Great Jobs KC selecting and investing in Per Scholas, Per Scholas Kansas City has received generous support from Comcast NBCUniversal, Cortex, Missouri Tech First Initiative powered by Cortex, and the NFL Foundation.

At the heart of this collaboration lies the shared commitment to empower individuals with the skills and knowledge necessary to thrive in the ever-advancing tech industry. Per Scholas brings its renowned approach to IT training, which integrates technical education with professional development, including soft and hard skills. Through this partnership, Great Jobs KC and Per Scholas learners will undergo a comprehensive 13-week program designed to equip them with the expertise and confidence needed to excel in the IT field. After graduation, alumni will work with Great Jobs KC Employer Engagement Managers as well as Per Scholas’ Talent Solutions professionals to ensure job attainment.

The Per Scholas Kansas City campus will serve as a hub for innovative learning and career advancement, and offer comprehensive training for CompTIA A+ certification, a globally recognized credential validating foundational IT skills, as well as Google IT Support certification. These skills and certifications will position alumni for success in the rapidly expanding Kansas City tech sector.

Per Scholas President and CEO Plinio Ayala expressed enthusiasm for the collaboration, stating, “We are excited to expand our reach to Kansas City through this partnership with Great Jobs KC. By combining our expertise in IT training with their proven track record of workforce development, we are poised to make a lasting impact on the lives of individuals and the economic vitality of the region. We are grateful for their investment and the support of Missouri Tech First, Cortex, the NFL Foundation, and Comcast NBCUniversal.”

“Per Scholas’ new Kansas City campus is an exciting development for the region’s workforce,” said Governor Mike Parson. “This initiative is another example of the collaborative partnerships that are investing in our communities and state’s economy. By equipping Missourians with skills needed for high-tech jobs, Per Scholas is helping pave the way for a stronger workforce, more resilient economy, and prosperous future.”

“Per Scholas is providing cutting-edge training that’s helping Missourians prosper by preparing them for jobs in the technology industry,” said Michelle Hataway, Director of the Department of Economic Development. “We’re grateful for the efforts of this organization as it opens doors for those entering the workforce or sharpening their skills in the Kansas City region.”

Per Scholas Kansas City’s inaugural cohort launched in May, beginning with its best-in-class IT Support course. Applications are open, and interested individuals can learn more and apply here for upcoming cohorts. Prospective learners must be at least 18 years or older, possess at least a high school diploma, authorized to work in the U.S., have a passion for technology, and have availability to be placed in a tech role following completion of the training.

Per Scholas unlocks potential for individuals, communities, and companies by offering rigorous, 12- to 15-week tech skills training and connecting Per Scholas graduates to high-growth careers in technology. Per Scholas Kansas City is the nonprofit’s second campus in Missouri, with outreach including Kansas, joining Per Scholas St. Louis, which has been training technologists in a variety of tech skills since the Cortex Innovation District brought the organization to St. Louis in 2022.

“We frequently hear from companies we grow and companies we recruit that the most important asset in a tech economy is talent,” said Sam Fiorello, President & CEO, Cortex. “Per Scholas is a model that proves that there are many paths beyond a four-year degree from a college or university for preparing someone for a successful tech career. We are proud to expand this training asset beyond the St. Louis region through our Missouri Tech First, powered by Cortex, initiative.”

“Equipping Missourians with the most in-demand skills and industry-informed training to navigate current and future opportunities is a business imperative as much as it is just,” said Kieran Blanks, VP of Workforce Systems at Cortex, which is spearheading the $7 million Missouri Tech First Initiative. “By strategically investing in our workforce and cultivating innovation, we are positioning Missouri as a national frontrunner in the digital economy, enticing companies seeking elite tech talent.”

Aligned with its commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, 85 percent of Per Scholas learners are people of color, more than 40 percent identify as women, and more than half have a high school diploma as their highest education credential. Per Scholas graduates are hired into tech roles by more than 850 employer partners nationwide, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to innovative startups. The Per Scholas model is proven and evidence-based. Per Scholas trains technologists go on to earn three times their pre-training wage in their first job following graduation. Plus, every dollar invested in Per Scholas results in an $8 net economic return.

“We are thrilled to join forces with Per Scholas to bring their transformative IT training program to Kansas City,” said Jimmy Swift, Great Jobs KC Chief Program Officer. “This partnership represents a significant investment in the future of our workforce, providing individuals with the opportunity to gain valuable skills and pursue fulfilling careers in the thriving tech industry.”

“Per Scholas expansion into Kansas City will undoubtedly help build a diverse and thriving workforce by providing access to skills training for in-demand tech careers,” said Dalila Wilson-Scott, Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer of Comcast Corporation and President of the Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation. “Through Project UP, Comcast’s $1 billion commitment to advance digital equity and economic mobility, we’re thrilled to partner with Per Scholas in their ongoing work to connect future technologists with leading businesses. We look forward to what we will continue to achieve together.”

“The NFL is proud to support the launch of Per Scholas’ Kansas City campus as they continue to break barriers and create positive social change,” said NFL Vice President, Social Responsibility Clare Graff. “Through Per Scholas’ no-cost tech training, individuals, particularly people of color, are empowered to enter the tech industry and launch thriving careers – a mission that aligns with the NFL’s commitment to create a more equitable society through our Inspire Change social justice initiative.”

To learn more about Great Jobs KC, click here . To learn more about Per Scholas Kansas City, click here, and follow Per Scholas Kansas City on LinkedIn and Facebook.

About Per Scholas

For nearly 30 years, Per Scholas has been on a mission to drive equity and opportunity in the ever-advancing technology landscape by unlocking the untapped potential of individuals, uplifting communities, and meeting the needs of employers through rigorous tech training. By teaming up with dynamic employer partners, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to innovative startups, we’re forging inclusive tech talent pipelines, fulfilling an ever-increasing need for skilled talent. With national remote training and campuses in 20+ cities and counting, Per Scholas offers no-cost training programs in the most sought-after tech skills, spanning Cloud, Cybersecurity, Data Engineering, IT Support, Software Engineering, and more. To date, 25,000+ individuals have been trained through Per Scholas, propelling their professional trajectories into high-growth tech careers with salaries three times higher than their pre-training earnings. At Per Scholas, diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging aren’t just buzzwords—they’re in our DNA. 85+ percent of our learners are people of color, two in five are women, and more than half hold a high school diploma as their highest educational credential. Learn more by visiting PerScholas.org and follow us on LinkedIn, X/TwitterFacebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

About Comcast NBCUniversal

Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company. From the connectivity and platforms we provide, to the content and experiences we create, our businesses reach hundreds of millions of customers, viewers, and guests worldwide. We deliver world-class broadband, wireless, and video through Xfinity, Comcast Business, and Sky; produce, distribute, and stream leading entertainment, sports, and news through brands including NBC, Telemundo, Universal, Peacock, and Sky; and bring incredible theme parks and attractions to life through Universal Destinations & Experiences.

About Cortex

Cortex is a vibrant space serving as an inclusive economic engine for St. Louis. Cortex creates equitable economic impacts by leveraging high-quality facilities, developing programs that build knowledge and networks, and convening strategic partnerships that attract and support emerging and established companies. Founded in 2002 through a collaboration of Washington University in St. Louis, BJC HealthCare, the University of Missouri – St. Louis, Saint Louis University, and the Missouri Botanical Garden, the Cortex Innovation Community (CortexSTL.org) is an internationally recognized hub of innovation and entrepreneurship that is focused on accelerating inclusive economic growth in St. Louis.

About NFL Inspire Change

Inspire Change is the NFL’s year-round social justice initiative aimed at reducing barriers to opportunity, particularly in communities of color, and showcasing how the collective NFL family is working to create positive change in communities across the country. Since the inception of Inspire Change, the NFL has provided more than $375 million to dozens of national grant partners and hundreds of grassroots organizations to advance social justice causes across the four pillars of the initiative: education, economic advancement, police-community relations, and criminal justice reform. To learn more about Inspire Change, please visit www.nfl.com/inspirechange. Follow @InspireChange on X/Twitter and Instagram. On Facebook, follow www.facebook.com/inspirechange. To view the Inspire Change Impact Report click here. 

About Great Jobs KC

Great Jobs KC is a Kansas City-based nonprofit that provides access to college scholarships and tuition-free job training, along with job placement assistance for individuals from low- and modest-income families in the metropolitan area, providing a pipeline of talent for a strong regional workforce. Please join us on our mission for economic independence for all. For more information, visit www.greatjobskc.org.

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Per Scholas Awarded Grant in Texas for Innovative Workforce Skills Training

Per Scholas was awarded a grant as part of Governor Greg Abbott’s over $6.3 million in Texas Talent Connection grants. Per Scholas is one of 20 innovative workforce skills training and job placement programs in communities across the state that was awarded from the grants.

The $350,000 grant is for year one of the Creating Economic Mobility and Robust Futures Through Information Technology Training project serving Collin, Dallas, Denton, Fort Bend, Harris, Houston, and Tarrant counties for the Per Scholas Dallas and Per Scholas Houston campuses.

Learn more about this grant here.

Per Scholas Columbus Highlighted as One of 17 Nonprofits in Downtown Columbus’ Community Impact Center

Per Scholas Columbus was featured in Nationwide, describing its role as one of 17 nonprofit organizations that operate within downtown Columbus’ Community Impact Center (CIC). These local nonprofits collaborate to address critical community needs, including workforce development training, food insecurity, housing, and childcare. This collaboration has enabled Per Scholas Columbus to expand its training capacity from 100 to over 220 learners. 

The article highlighted Per Scholas Columbus graduate, Winta Hayelom, as well as Jenn Fowler Howard, Per Scholas’ Columbus’ Senior Managing Director, who emphasized that this partnership within the CIC fosters deeper connections and support, unlocking significant potential for Per Scholas Columbus learners.

Read more.

Per Scholas Columbus One of 17 Nonprofits Located in Columbus’ Community Impact Center

Per Scholas Columbus is one of 17 nonprofits located in the Community Impact Center (CIC), a community center in downtown Columbus, created in partnership between United Way of Central Ohio and Nationwide. The center creates spaces for nonprofits that provide critical services to the Columbus community, helping individuals achieve strong futures for themselves and their community.

Read about the Community Impact Center.

Michael Terrell, Per Scholas Senior Managing Director, and Edwin Harris II, Per Scholas Manager, Business Solutions, Connect with NAVEX for Juneteenth

On Juneteenth, Michael Terrell, Per Scholas Senior Managing Director, and Edwin Harris II, Per Scholas Manager, Business Solutions, connected with NAVEX to discuss Per Scholas’ impact, history, mission, and commitment to diversity in tech. Thy discussed Per Scholas’ 30-year history, our goal to create pathways for individuals to enter the technology industry and secure high-wage, high-growth careers, and our commitment to addressing the diversity gap in the tech industry by ensuring that the workforce reflects the diverse communities it serves. 

“Juneteenth for me is a celebration,” Edwin Harris II said. “It’s particularly impactful within the African American culture, but a national celebration of freedom that comes with that. So, in context to Per Scholas, given the fact that we work with a lot of minority organizers, populations, I think it’s just another holiday to remember some of the struggles, but also take a chance to celebrate the overcoming of said struggles within our society and economy, ensuring history and traditions are never lost.”

Read the full article here.

 

What is a Coding Bootcamp? Beyond the Basics

Sometimes, you don’t need a long-winded academic introduction to something you love.

Other times, you just need to dive in head first.

Coding bootcamps are the latter. In short, coding bootcamps allow you to learn the skills necessary for coding. At Per Scholas, we believe deeply in unlocking your potential. We also believe everyone should have the chance to succeed in coding and access world-class educational resources that will allow them to change the face of tech. Let’s start by addressing a key question: What is a coding bootcamp?

What is a Coding Bootcamp?

Coding bootcamps can quickly teach the skills you need to begin a coding career. A few characteristics set coding bootcamps apart from similar educational opportunities:

  • Immersive environments: Once you start, you’ll launch into the content, immersing yourself in multimedia learning materials to ensure you can quickly and efficiently learn the code necessary to succeed.
  • Intensive learning: A coding bootcamp aims to give you the skills you need quickly. That means you’ll learn an intensive amount of code over a very short period.
  • Short duration: Changing the face of tech may take time, but that doesn’t mean that learning should. Our bootcamps are short, often enabling completion in as little as fifteen weeks.
  • Skill acquisition: Coding bootcamps are focused on enabling you to acquire the necessary skills. This can include codingÏ language acquisition, system support, and more.

Course content in these bootcamps can vary but usually includes knowledge of programming languages, software development, software design, and more.

Expectations vs. Reality in Coding Bootcamps

Myth: I need experience before doing a coding bootcamp.

Fact: Coding bootcamps are intensive courses that are specifically designed with beginners in mind.

Myth: Bootcamps are fine if I’m unsure about my career.

Fact: You certainly don’t need to be “certain” about what you want to do. However, bootcamps are serious commitments. You should enter a bootcamp to get into coding and software development.

Myth: A coding bootcamp will guarantee me a job!

Fact: There is no question that a coding bootcamp can help advance your career prospects. However, just like anything else, you only get out of your coding bootcamp what you put into it. Your ability to get a job depends on your performance and dedication.

How Much Do Coding Bootcamps Cost?

Tuition at coding bootcamps averages around $13,000. This cost just captures tuition and doesn’t include additional costs, such as supplies, transportation, registration fees, and more.

Per Scholas offers tuition-free programs by investing 80% of our revenue and donations into our programming. This allows us to concentrate on developing world-class educational resources that will enable you to succeed.

Investment vs. Return in Coding Education

One of the many benefits of investing in a coding education is that it opens the doors to many career options. A coding bootcamp can give you the experience you need to get started in the coding industry. Starting salaries depend on various factors but are as high as $58,000, higher than the median salary in the United States.

A coding bootcamp gives you the chance to grow in your career. Potential career opportunities include working as a web developer, software developer, database administrator, networking administrator, and more. These jobs are in high demand: Millions of coding jobs are going unfulfilled, meaning that entering this career trajectory may give you a chance to enter a high-demand field.

The potential for salary growth is massive. The best-paid coders in the United States earn more than $167,000 a year, a salary allowing you to live comfortably anywhere in the country.

Per Scholas: A Unique Approach to Tech Training

You have many options for a coding education, including learning more about just what a tech bootcamp is and how it can help you. At Per Scholas, our approach to these bootcamps is different.

First, we offer a deeply comprehensive curriculum, giving you access to an array of courses that ensure access to a range of coding fields. We also pride ourselves on teaching longer bootcamps: While many bootcamps are just a few weeks, ours usually last multiple months, ensuring you are prepared to enter the job market and succeed.

At Per Scholas, we are committed to the community and believe deeply in accessibility and inclusivity. We work with businesses to build a diverse-by-design talent pipeline embedded in our communities. As a result, our members are learners who are far more diverse than the average bootcamp. Furthermore, our learners have immediate access to workforce opportunities because we work with businesses to build pipelines directly.

The Per Scholas Advantage

Per Scholas is about more than just educating you and sending you into a career: We help you bridge the gap between education and the real world.

First, we provide extensive career support. In addition to our tuition-free programs, we also provide professional skills development, upskill existing talents, and provide ongoing support for alumni for up to two years after you graduate.

Next, we provide you with industry connections. Our program partners with some of the biggest names in tech, government, and the nonprofit world. This gives you access to future jobs and careers.

At Per Scholas, we emphasize sustainable careers by helping alumni get jobs in fields that are growing and thriving. As a result, our alumni are not just getting a job but building a long-term career.

Career Outcomes of Coding Bootcamp Alumni

Job Market Prospects Post-Bootcamp

85% of our learners graduate, and 80% of them have full-time employment within a year of graduating.

This means that our alumni can start a long-term career in coding. Coders can start as junior developers, learning the skills necessary to continue to succeed. In the long run, success in this field opens the door to more jobs, including senior development, lead architect, management, and more.

Per Scholas’ Track Record in Career Success

If you understand what a coding bootcamp is, you may also want more information on our success? If that’s the case, meet our alumni.

Our alumni have plenty of stories of success as a result of our employer partnerships with businesses like Google, BlackRock, Amazon, and more.

For example, Andres Yates learned coding in college but found a gap between what he needed to know and what college taught him. Per Scholas closed that gap and enabled him to get the job he needed. Jarred Gaines was planning on opening a gym until COVID hit. Following the advice of a friend, Jarred found Per Scholas, participated in virtual training, and pivoted his entire career into a successful IT position that gives him job security, financial support, and the flexibility he needs to raise his 9-year old son/

Choosing the Right Path in Tech Education

The only way that a career in technical education will work for you is if it meets your personal goals. You can determine that by taking career aptitude tests, engaging in visualization about what a successful career looks like, and spending time evaluating what worked for you during your educational career.

Furthermore, you need to make sure that any educational commitment matches your learning style in terms of what you need during your education and expect afterward. Do you have the time commitment to complete a boot camp program? Does the learning environment, including teaching and online support, match your needs? Does your educational program help introduce you to employers and find the post-graduate support you need?

Success Stories: From Training to Tech Careers

As noted on our alumni page, Per Scholas has helped thousands achieve post-graduate success. By learning just what a coding bootcamp is, these alumni began successful careers.

Hajji Peace started as a security guard and a barber before realizing he wanted more. Thanks to Per Scholas, Hajji doubled his salary after losing his job during the pandemic and is now well on his way to a successful career.

Christopher Rivera worked in a call center but wanted more, and Per Scholas’ 2021 Boston bootcamp helped him get there. Christopher is now working a stable job in the tech field and looking forward to developing a satisfying career.

Shante Austin is a single Mom who didn’t have the time to go to college. Per Scholas’ bootcamp gave her the tools she needed to get a full-time job in coding for the automobile industry, giving her the skills and opportunities she needed to provide for herself and her daughter.

All of our alumni asked ourselves some important questions: How can I succeed? What is a tech bootcamp? and how can I use it to advance my life? Per Scholas had the answers, and we helped these alumni – and more – achieve a better life.

Conclusion: Your Journey in Tech Education

Now that you understand what a coding bootcamp is, you get that they come with a slew of advantages: They allow alumni to increase their skills quickly, they can often lead to the start of a successful career, they can allow alumni to find employment immediately, and they can help future software developers build a robust network of fellow coders.

We go one step further. Our tuition-free approach means no one goes into debt while starting their career. We develop a diverse talent pipeline that will change tech and are committed to the long-term success of our learners and dedicated to their futures, and we back up that commitment by ensuring that our learners have access to the coaching and mentoring resources they need.

Is Per Scholas right for you? It just might be. You need to consider your career aspirations and educational needs.

At Per Scholas, we’re here to help. We strive to build a sustainable and diverse tech pipeline designed to advance the dynamic needs of advancing technology and the people who fulfill those needs. That’s why we’re about much more than just a teacher: We are also committed to providing our course participants with ongoing learner and alumni support, helping anyone who takes our courses succeed as they advance their career.

Ready to learn more? Sign up for Per Scholas Courses and start down a path that will unlock your full potential.

IT Certifications for Beginners: Your Path to Tech Success

Tech layoffs in 2023 can make the industry seem risky for beginners seeking rewarding careers. However, a closer look at the data reveals a surprisingly positive 2024 IT job market. Eight of the top 10 jobs in the U.S. are in the tech sector. 

Additionally, surveys suggest that tech skills will become essential in all job sectors by 2033. Learning those skills now prepares you for how job roles will evolve over the next decade. 

Per Scholas provides skills training that prepares you for success and demonstrates core competencies to potential employers. 

IT certifications for beginners can put you on the path to a rewarding career. Per Scholas courses give you a head start to reach your goals. In some cases, you can even find free IT certifications for beginners to jumpstart your career. 

Understanding IT Certifications 

The best IT certifications for beginners demonstrate that you have the technical skills to excel in your chosen career path. To earn a certificate, you will need to pass an exam that tests for specific skill sets. 

Many of today’s employers prioritize skills over formal education. With the right IT certifications for beginners, you could get into IT with no degree, saving you years of effort and thousands of dollars in tuition. 

Are IT Certifications for Beginners Worth It? 

IT certifications for beginners offer several advantages for people interested in entering the industry or moving their careers forward. By earning a certificate, you could: 

  • Show that you have the skills to fill an entry-level IT position 
  • Build a solid foundation for your career in IT 
  • Stand out as an excellent candidate among hiring managers 
  • Demonstrate your commitment to a career path which could lead to promotions 
  • Discover any gaps in knowledge so you can prepare for more advanced positions 

Popular IT Certifications for Beginners 

There are a lot of programs that promise to prepare you for tech careers. Choosing the best IT certifications for beginners helps ensure you have qualifications reputable employers look for when hiring new employees. 

To get started, consider the following entry-level IT certifications. Then, you can build on them to grow your career. 

Entry-Level IT Certifications 

The best IT certifications for beginners demonstrate that you have core competencies that will make you successful in entry-level positions. As you gain more experience, you can take tests for more advanced certifications. This process helps many IT professionals advance their careers without ever earning traditional degrees. 

Some IT certifications for beginners you should consider include: 

CompTIA IT Fundamentals (ITF+) 

Earning a CompTIA IT Fundamentals certificate shows that you understand the basic concepts necessary for working in IT. Those concepts include: 

  • Establishing computer networks 
  • Identifying security risks 
  • Preventing basic security risks 
  • Managing databases 
  • Installing software 
  • Developing and maintaining software 

CompTIA A+ 

CompTIA A+ certification establishes that you have critical skills to fill roles in IT support and endpoint management. While preparing for the test, you should learn how the basics of: 

  • Establishing office and home networks 
  • Installing and troubleshooting popular peripherals 
  • Installing, configuring, and upgrading popular operating systems 

Google IT Support Professional 

Many organizations rely on Google’s business services. Getting certified as a Google IT Support Professional prepares you to help those organizations by: 

  • Providing troubleshooting and customer care services 
  • Improving security to protect clients 
  • Administering systems for clients 

Pathways to Advanced Certifications 

Once you complete IT certifications for beginners, you can move on to more advanced certifications to qualify for jobs with more responsibilities. 

CompTIA Network+ 

CompTIA Network+ builds on basic networking knowledge to serve organizations with more advanced needs. Earning this certificate shows that you can: 

  • Ensure business continuity by monitoring and optimizing networks 
  • Troubleshoot networking issues 
  • Enhance network security to defend against attacks 
  • Physically install network hardware 

CompTIA Security+ 

Some consider this one of the IT security certifications for beginners, but it does require some background knowledge. Holding the certificate demonstrates to employers that you can: 

  • Monitor diverse network models, including those with hybrid workers, Internet of Things (IoT), and cloud assets 
  • Establish governance policies that make networks less vulnerable to attack 
  • Follow security regulations applicable to your industry 
  • Assess IT environments to find opportunities for enhanced security 

Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) 

Cisco has some of the most trusted certificates. CCNA tells employers that you understand: 

  • How to manage and troubleshoot networks 
  • Improve network security and spot potential vulnerabilities 
  • Configure routing to include redundancies that help ensure business continuity 
  • Use automation tools to manage and monitor networks as efficiently as possible 

Per Scholas’ Role in IT Certification Training 

Per Scholas offers diverse IT training programs to prepare you for certification tests. 

The IT Support course prepares you for CompTIA A+ and Google IT Support Professional Certification. The 13-week, live, instructor-led course has classes Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

The New York course is offered in collaboration with: 

  • Commonpoint Queens 
  • Cypress Hills  Local Development Corporation 
  • Isaacs Center 
  • Joan & Alan Berkinkow Jewish Community Center 

Through a partnership with TEKsystems, Per Scholas’ End User Desktop Support course provides the essential skills needed to pass the CompTIA A+ exam. The thirteen-week course includes live, instructor-led classes Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Other great course options for beginners include: 

  • IT Support: A 13-week course that further prepares learners for the CompTIA A+ and Google IT Support Professional Certificate exams 
  • Salesforce Administrator: A 15-week course that prepares learners to pass the Salesforce Administrator Certification exam 
  • Future Powered by TEKsystems: A 12-week course that prepares learners for the CompTIA A+ and CompTIA CySA+ exams 

Browse more Per Scholas courses to find the right fit for your career plans. 

Support and Resources Provided 

Per Scholas wants to ensure you’re prepared for certification tests. When you succeed, we succeed! 

Because of our commitment to that goal, we provide diverse support and resources, including: 

  • In-person and remote classes 
  • Mentoring with an IT professional who has extensive real-world experience 
  • Hands-on training 
  • Study materials to help you prepare for certification exams 
  • Exam preparation assistance to identify and fill any gaps in knowledge 

Success Stories: Transforming Careers With IT Certifications 

Per Scholas has helped learners from all backgrounds reach their career goals. Our graduates have plenty of inspiring stories to tell. 

Christopher Rivera Becomes a Helpdesk Associate

Christopher Rivera is a Boston native who struggled to find direction in life. He dabbled in several industries before he took Per Scholas’ IT Support. The course provided a broad overview of the possibilities a tech career offers. 

After graduating, he got a job as a Helpdesk Associate at Vinfen Corp. Now, he says he leaves work each day “feeling fulfilled, having learned something new and knowing that I’m going to learn a lot more.” 

Learn more about Christopher’s story 

Angel Hursey Becomes a Web Developer 

Angel Hursey already had a career in healthcare, but she wanted to find a passion that left her fulfilled after a day’s work. She had some college experience, but she also knew it wasn’t the right fit for her. She wanted to take a more hands-on approach that would prepare her for the real world. 

She says that her Per Scholas courses were vigorous and challenging and that “If I didn’t have the support from the Per Scholas team and fellow learners, I would have probably given up.” 

Angel stuck with her coursework, graduated, and found a job as a web developer. Not only does she love the job, but her income increased from $30,000 to $70,000. 

Learn more about Angel’s story.

Embark on Your IT Journey With Per Scholas 

Per Scholas is always excited to hear about our graduates’ successes, and we want to make sure you have similar opportunities. It all starts with earning IT certifications for beginners. From there, you can decide where your career takes you! 

Are you eligible to become a Per Scholas student? Visit our eligibility page to make sure. Most adults, even those without any technical experience, can join. 

Now, it’s time to take that first step! Apply now to jumpstart your IT career! 

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