Plinio Ayala Named to Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program’s Task Force

Per Scholas President and CEO Plinio Ayala has been named to the Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program’s Task Force. This task force was formed to address Latino Digital Success across the country.  Plinio Ayala is sitting on the task force with key leaders from our Champion Partners, Google and JPMorgan Chase. One Co-chair includes Hector Mujica, Head of Economic Opportunity for the Americas at, and fellow task force member Parag Mehta, Managing Director & President at JPMorgan Chase.

In June, the task force will host a roundtable discussion on principles for Digital Success and strategies to inspire action by companies, workforce organizations, and elected officials to better support the Latino community.

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. To learn more about the digital success initiative with the task force, read the full press release here.

Elevating Colorado’s Economy by Launching Tech Careers

On April 6, Per Scholas partner ActivateWork hosted Elevating Colorado’s Economy by Launching Tech Careers, a robust conversation featuring Governor Jared Polis, Denver-area leading employers, ActivateWork Powered by Per Scholas graduates and Per Scholas’ own Chief Development Officer, Caitlyn Brazill.

Governor Gary Polis at podium speaking

“Our partnership with ActivateWork is truly unique, and a critical piece of Per Scholas’ ambitious scaling plan,” remarked Caitlyn Brazill. “Together, we can make opportunity ubiquitous in Colorado.”

ActivateWork, powered by Per Scholas, began offering tuition-free technical training in 2020 and to date, has graduated more than 120 diverse individuals in skills ranging from IT Support to Software Engineer to Cybersecurity and more. In 2021 alone, 48 graduates launched careers in tech at companies including, Bank of America, Trimble, FirstBank, Dish Network, and more. ActivateWork, powered by Per Scholas, will train more than 1,200 Denver-based learners in tech skills over the next five years, boosting the region’s economy and continuing to launch tech careers in Colorado. 


Plinio Ayala Keynote Speaker at The Excel Center’s Conference

On April 28, 2022, Per Scholas President and CEO Plinio Ayala delivered keynote remarks at The Excel Center’s National Conference. The conference, held in Indianapolis, focused on Goodwill Industries’ mission to prepare students for college and ensuring schools are up-to-date for educating community members eager to expand their knowledge – in short, preparing the 21st century workforce.  

Similarly to Goodwill Industries’ mission to prepare individuals to enter the workforce, Per Scholas has been a champion for workforce development for our learners and graduates.  During his keynote address, Plinio highlighted the ways Per Scholas creates more equitable economic opportunity. 

Per Scholas and TEC Leadership standing together

Speaking on Per Scholas and Excel Center training offerings, Plinio reflected, “I know that tomorrow morning, millions of Americans will wake up looking for that one opportunity that will change the trajectory of their lives, the future for their families – and many will go to bed not having found that one chance. Excel Center and Per Scholas must continue to persevere and provide opportunity to as many Americans as we can. Not because it is a good thing to do, but because it is the right thing to do.”


Noses On! Per Scholas Among 2022 Red Nose Day Grantee Partners

Per Scholas is honored to be among this year’s Red Nose Day grantee partners through a matching grant partnership with Comcast NBCUniversal! In its eighth year, Red Nose Day is a beloved fundraising event by Comic Relief US to help end the cycle of child poverty and ensure a healthy, empowered future for all children and youth. Per Scholas helps change trajectories by preparing our learners, many of whom are youth or have children, to launch life-changing careers in technology by participating in our rigorous, cost-free tech skills training. 

Red Nose Day logo

As we train our learners to start a career in tech through IT support, cybersecurity, software engineering, and more, we prepare individuals to have a well-rounded skill set that creates economic equity and financial stability for their families. 

Per Scholas Chicago Graduate Veronica Vergara applied to Per Scholas to create her own path of opportunity that was flexible so she could be available for her daughter, if needed. Veronica’s daughter suffered from serious health problems previously, so she quit work to focus on her daughter’s health. A year and a half later, Veronica’s daughter’s condition had greatly improved, and Veronica began preparing to rejoin the workforce. Her husband worked in IT and she admired many features of his job, including its flexibility and good pay, which is why she applied to Per Scholas to launch her IT career.

Another example of how Per Scholas’s cost-free tech training has enhanced our learners’ lives and the lives of their children is through Sadaf Haroon, a Per Scholas Dallas Software Engineering graduate. Sadaf, an immigrant mother of three, was at first intimidated to resume a career in the thriving field of tech. “Per Scholas made it easier for me to learn and now I am an earning member of my family. What can be greater than that?” 

In the two years since the COVID-19 pandemic began, more children have faced hunger, homelessness, and a growing learning gap, making those programs, funded by Red Nose Day, more crucial than ever. 

This Red Nose Day marks a return to the tradition of coming together in person to have fun, raise money, and change lives. The annual campaign’s signature Red Nose, the universal symbol for Red Nose Day, will be back and available exclusively at nearly 9,000 Walgreens and Duane Reade locations nationwide for just $1 each, with 100% of all proceeds benefiting Red Nose Day. Customers may also donate in stores via pin-pad at checkout, as well as online to receive a Digital Red Nose filter, and can show support donning a real Red Nose or virtual one!

Tune in on May 26th to NBC, which is supporting the Red Nose Day campaign across the network and through cross-portfolio programming features.


Per Scholas Signs Vibrant Pittsburgh DEI Pledge

Per Scholas became the first organization to sign the Vibrant Pittsburgh DEI Pledge. Signatory organizations commit to taking collective action to create a more inclusive, diverse, and equitable Pittsburgh region.

Vibrant Pittsburgh logo

“Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging is at Per Scholas’s core. We believe that talent is ubiquitous, but unfortunately, we know opportunity is not. That’s why we’re passionately committed to removing barriers, increasing access, and advancing economic equity through rigorous tech training,” said Plinio Ayala, President and CEO of Per Scholas. “We’re proud to be a signatory of the Vibrant Pittsburgh DEI Pledge and look forward to being a meaningful contributor to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging progress here in Pittsburgh.” 

Per Scholas Pittsburgh Managing Director Todd Derby will lead our contributions to this essential work. To learn more about Vibrant Pittsburgh, visit


Per Scholas Highlighted in St. Louis Business Journal

Per Scholas Featured by St. Louis Public Radio

Per Scholas St. Louis was featured in St. Louis Public Radio for our partnership with Cortex Innovation Community. With this partnership, we will offer a free, 15-week cybersecurity training for people of color and women interested in tech careers.

Dr. Charlie Mackey Jr. is the Managing Director of Per Scholas and hopes to bring more underrepresented individuals to the tech industry through this partnership and training. “Historically, underrepresented people aren’t working in the tech fields, because they’re like, ‘Well, I have to go to the West Coast, or it’s not available here,’” Mackey said. “By coming here, we can not only help bridge that gap, but also reframe it to where you can get that technology training right here, and then find a job here.”

With our expansion to St. Louis, we are able to offer our tuition-free, rigorous technical training as the latest addition to Cortex. Per Scholas has advanced economic equity for more than 25 years by offering evidence-based, tuition-free technology training and connecting Per Scholas graduates to high-growth careers in technology. Aligned with its commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, 85 percent of Per Scholas learners are people of color, and more than a third identify as women. Graduates are hired into tech roles by more than 650 employer partners nationwide, ranging from Fortune 500 to innovative startups.

Check out the full feature on the St. Louis NPR site here.

Per Scholas Featured in The Columbus Dispatch for Tech Women of Color Workforce Initiative

The Columbus Dispatch featured Per Scholas in an article featuring our Tech Women of Color workforce initiative.  This initiative is supported by a $4.5 million grant that was unanimously approved by the Franklin County Board of Commissioners on International Women’s Day. The free, 15-week course will kick off in July and aims to train 200 women of color in cohorts over the next two years.

Tech women of color at a desk smiling

“We are grateful to the Franklin County Board of Commissioners for providing us the opportunity to be of service to our community, and to our local partners who will come alongside us as we seek to make a transformative impact in this county,” stated Jenn Fowler Howard, Senior Director of the Tech Women of Color Alliance. “We recognize that this project will not only change the lives of the women who participate but will also build stronger families, communities, and businesses for years to come.”

This workforce initiative is part of Per Scholas’s ongoing goal to promote the presence of women in tech.

Read the full article from The Columbus Dispatch here!


Per Scholas St. Louis Expanding Tech Training Offerings with Cortex Innovation Community

Per Scholas St. Louis has officially launched, expanding our tech training offering to our 18th city as part of Cortex Innovation Community. Our partnership is part of a strategic plan to bring more tech companies and jobs to the St. Louis community. We will begin by offering Cybersecurity training, scheduled to start in June 2022.

Read more in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch here!

Per Scholas’ Women in Tech Training Update

When first considering a career in technology, Per Scholas Graduate Olga Sannikov always felt discouraged to enter the field. She was always interested in tech but did not pursue it academically because it was not popular for girls to do so at her school. This has been a common sentiment among women wanting to pursue a career in technology, and an area where Per Scholas is actively helping change the narrative and increase access and opportunity for women technologists nationwide. 

woman in tech on computer

This month, we began training for our first cohort of women learners enrolled in our inaugural Women in Software Engineering (WISE) pre-apprenticeship program. Hosted by Per Scholas National Capital Region, this course was developed with women in mind and understanding the barriers women face entering the industry. Delivered remotely and on a modified schedule to accommodate household responsibilities, learners have access to evening and weekend office hours, tutoring, mentoring, and career development programming. 

Per Scholas was selected as one of five recipients for the Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations grant, presented by U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty J. Walsh. 

“For too long, women have faced barriers to gaining entry into apprenticeships and nontraditional careers,” Secretary Walsh said at the grant presentation. This pioneering training offering for women in tech is also made possible with additional investments from Capital One, The Boeing Company, and Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation

Capital One is passionate about partnering with organizations that are meeting critical workforce development needs, said Kerone Vatel, Head of Community Impact and Investment at Capital One. Per Scholas is closing gaps in equity and opportunity by providing education onramps and support for underrepresented groups, including women, to pursue careers in technology.

“We have the opportunity to learn so much from our WISE learners,” said Diane Duff, Per Scholas National Capital Region Managing Director. “We’ve received generous support to adjust our already proven model to more effectively address the unique challenges facing women who want to enter the tech industry. I’m thrilled that our first training cohort is underway.” 

On International Women’s Day, the Franklin County Board of Commissioners committed to developing the county workforce to meet a growing demand for technology jobs by voting unanimously to approve a more than $4.5 million COVID-19 recovery grant to support the new Tech Women of Color workforce training initiative at our Per Scholas Columbus campus. Additional local supporters of Tech Women of Color include The Columbus Foundation, AT&T, KeyBank, and Bank of America. 

women in tech during a tech training

“We are grateful to the Franklin County Board of Commissioners for providing us the opportunity to be of service to our community, and to our local partners who will come alongside us as we seek to make a transformative impact in this county,” stated Jenn Fowler Howard, Senior Director of the Tech Women of Color Alliance. “We recognize that this project will not only change the lives of the women who participate but will also build stronger families, communities, and businesses for years to come.” 

The first Tech Women of Color cohort will be an IT Fundamentals course and begin this summer. If you’re a Columbus-based business or employer interested in learning more and joining the Tech Women of Color Alliance, led by Per Scholas, please contact Jenn Fowler Howard at [email protected]

We had four women leaders in tech from one of our funders, Capgemini, speak on a panel for Women’s History Month as well. More than 60 women participated, and heard from powerful women leaders on topics including the importance of women in tech leadership roles, working through imposter syndrome, and owning the unique skills that women often possess – empathy, kindness, compassion, and more. We also moderated a quick Q+A session at the end of the event where individuals discussed everything from how to find what you want to specialize in tech-wise to how to balance your life as a wife, mom, and professional. 

Per Scholas is grateful to the many funders and supporters who are making intentional investments in women-centric initiatives, including the AT&T; Atalanta Project – Black Family Philanthropies; Bank of America; Boeing; Boone Family Foundation; Capital One; The Columbus Foundation; Franklin County Board of Commissioners; Goldman Sachs; Kate Spade New York Foundation; KeyBank; The Same Sky Foundation Fund, a Division of the Francine A. LeFrak Foundation; S&P Global; TEKsystems; The Women’s Bureau at the U.S. Department of Labor; and more.



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