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 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. 

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 DC.

Comcast NBCUniversal Partnership to Advance Digital Equity and Foster Opportunity for All Learners

Per Scholas Participates in Capgemini’s Impact Together Week

There are numerous ways to partner with Per Scholas to impact the professional and personal development of our learners and graduates. Corporations can volunteer by participating in resume reviews, industry discussions, and mock interviews. This month, Per Scholas proudly participated in Capgemini’s Impact Together Week, a week of volunteer events for various organizations. With Per Scholas, they held ten volunteer sessions within four days that included mock interviews and ‘Ask Me Anything’ events for our learners and graduates to gain industry knowledge.  

Capgemini volunteer event Zoom call screenshot

In these events, Capgemini staff paired up with Per Scholas learners and graduates to share their industry knowledge with these future technologists. Among the employee volunteers were several Per Scholas alumni who had secured roles at Capgemini following graduation, who offered unique insights into life in the tech industry following their experience in Per Scholas’ training program.  This week-long volunteer opportunity provided Per Scholas with over 2,000 volunteer hours – a tremendous influence for our learners. 

We encourage all of our partners to volunteer their time with our learners and impact their professional development throughout their training at Per Scholas.  If you are interested in a volunteer opportunity, either for your company or as an individual, please contact CiCi Flanagan at [email protected]

Plinio Ayala Provides Insight to Equity in the Workforce in Two Discussions

In October, our President and CEO Plinio Ayala spoke at two events about Per Scholas’ impact in Latinx communities and creating equity in communities traditionally underrepresented in tech for Capital One and Workday.  Both Capital One and Workday are partners helping Per Scholas to provide tuition-free tech training for our learners.  

At Capital One’s Reimagine Communities Summit, Plinio participated on a panel to discuss advancing workforce equity in your community, highlighting the need to evolve our training models to meet the change in the workforce. “As we approach the next several years, we will use remote (or variations of remote) training to reach more people.  Using remote training, we will get to 10,000 learners per year by 2025, in more markets,” Plinio stated.  “Once our learners start establishing these amazing tech careers, they are able to pivot as technology changes and they upskill themselves to remain relevant to build these extraordinary careers over time.  We just need to get them into these jobs, and our program is allowing them to get the skills needed to do that.” You can watch the on-demand recording of Plinio’s remarks at the Capital One Reimagine Communities Summit here

Workforce Equity Panel Discussion Zoom call

Following the end of Hispanic Heritage Month, Plinio took part in a fireside chat hosted by Workday’s Latinx Employee Belonging Council.  Plinio discussed his background, growing up in the Bronx as a Latino in a time when the borough was missing entire pockets of its community: people had left, buildings were abandoned, poverty was pervasive, and yet there was a sense of family, creativity, talent, and a desire from himself and family and friends that they wanted something more from life. “I think that the biggest reason that what we do at Per Scholas is important is that we are changing the rules of the game, which is essential if we are going to increase the representation of people of color in the tech industry,” he reflected.  Plinio also talked about the importance of mentoring and providing networks, especially to people of color who are trying to enter the tech field. Plinio then referenced the story of a Per Scholas graduate, Veronica Vergara, and how her role as a Latina technologist has been groundbreaking for her family and provided insight as to what individuals in the Latinx community can do to get ahead in the tech industry.   

Plinio was excited to speak with Workday, as they have been a thought partner for Per Scholas and invested in our learners and company through multiple volunteer events throughout the year. In October alone, Workday hosted an ‘Ask Me Anything’ session with software engineers for our software engineering cohort through our remote training, and continues to be a valued partner, providing industry insight for our learners.  

Victor De La Paz Appointed as Chief Financial and Administrative Officer

Per Scholas is proud to announce the appointment of Victor De La Paz as the Chief Financial and Administrative Officer of our national operations.

Per Scholas leadership headshot

In this new role on our National Leadership Team, Victor will be accountable for the Fiscal, HR Administration, IT & Operations/Facilities Teams and will support Per Scholas with key strategic financial decisions with the Board of Directors, funders, and partners. “His broad-based experience and acumen, as well as his dedication to educational excellence, will ensure that he will be a terrific member of our organization, and will help support Per Scholas with key strategic and financial decisions as we continue to grow and expand our mission,” stated Per Scholas President and CEO, Plinio Ayala.


Victor comes to Per Scholas from The Peace Corps where he was appointed by the White House to serve as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Previously, Victor held CFO roles across notable educational institutions including Achievement First, New Haven Public Schools, Baltimore City Public Schools, and Hartford Public Schools, in addition to his work as an Adjunct Professor at the Yale School of Management. In addition, Victor sat on the Board of Directors for the Education Leaders of Color (EdLoC).  “When I made the career switch to Education, I felt immediately connected to the customer and what they want for themselves and their families,” Victor reflected.  “I think Per Scholas is the kind of organization that gets that and wants to create a positive trajectory for people. I am excited to join this team and meet everyone over time.”


Victor holds an MBA from the University of Virginia Darden School of Management and a Bachelor’s Degree from Rutgers University. He lives in Wethersfield Connecticut with his wife Jennifer, 8-year-old Victoria, and 3-year-old Adrian. We are very pleased to welcome Victor to Per Scholas and grow from his experience and expertise!

Per Scholas Awarded Grant and Named 2021 Neighborhood Builders® by Bank of America

Per Scholas has been named as one of the 2021 Bank of America Neighborhood Builders® awardees for their work in the Columbus community addressing these issues. As a Neighborhood Builder, each organization receives a $200,000 grant over two years; comprehensive leadership training for the executive director and an emerging leader on topics ranging from increasing financial sustainability, human capital management, and strategic storytelling; joins a network of peer organizations across the U.S.; and gets the opportunity to access capital to expand their impact. The program continues to be the nation’s largest investment in nonprofit leadership development. 


“As communities continue to recover and navigate a changing landscape, nonprofits are still experiencing significant demands and are in need of resources to help meet critical local needs like economic mobility and workforce development,” said Kelly D’Ambrosia, President, Bank of America Columbus. “Per Scholas and National Church Residences Foundation are helping bridge important gaps for individuals and families to help them chart a path toward economic opportunity and stability. Programs like Bank of America’s Neighborhood Builders help these organizations grow sustainably and strategically for greater positive impact in the community.”

Check for Grant Award with Per Scholas Managing Director Noah Mitchell holding the check.

Per Scholas believes that a thriving workforce starts with equitable access to education. With this mission in mind, Per Scholas offers training for adult job seekers who have a passion and drive to enter the technology workforce. “With this grant, Per Scholas will form and operate the Tech Women of Color Alliance to increase the number of women of color who are trained and prepared to enter the tech industry,” said Noah Mitchell, Managing Director, Columbus. “Per Scholas is well-positioned to deliver skills women need to return to the workforce after COVID, in not just living wage jobs, but in thriving wage career pathways.”  Noah was recently featured in a story on WBNS with a focus on Per Scholas Columbus and what this award will do for the Columbus community.   


Since 2004, Bank of America has invested over $280 million in 50 communities through Neighborhood Builders, partnering with more than 1,400 nonprofits and helping more than 2,800 nonprofit leaders strengthen their leadership skills. Here in Columbus, seven nonprofits have been selected as a Neighborhood Builder, with the bank investing $1.4 million dollars into these local organizations through the program since 2018. 


The invitation-only program is highly competitive, and leading members of the community participated in a collaborative selection process to identify this year’s awardees. Neighborhood Builders is just one example of how Bank of America deploys capital in communities, builds cross-sector partnerships, and promotes socioeconomic progress as part of its approach to responsible growth.

The Future of Work: Per Scholas’ Perspective

The future of work is bright with Per Scholas’ efforts to connect individuals to a thriving tech career. Our President and CEO, Plinio Ayala, along with OneTen President and CEO, Maurice Jones, discussed building a more equitable workplace of the future and had a candid conversation about race and work during a live virtual panel event with PBS.  Nia Darville, Director of Diverse by Design served as moderator.  In addition, one of Per Scholas Philadelphia’s recent graduates, Lashay Cokley, participated in a panel discussion on the Future of Work, hosted by the Philadelphia Inquirer.    


Plinio Ayala discussed the future of work in America with OneTen President and CEO Maurice Jones in a virtual panel discussion on PBS, Shaping the Future of Work: Equity. Equality. Employment.  With efforts from Per Scholas, in partnership with OneTen, we will advance economic equity through rigorous training for tech careers and connecting our diverse and skilled graduates to leading businesses — key components to a strong future of work. “We began to talk as a nation of the implications of AI in communities of color. There is a shortage of workers in those industries but a lot of those jobs will change or be eliminated.  We need to be more intentional about reskilling, upskilling our communities now so people can move into these good-paying jobs and build incredible careers,” Plinio remarked.  “With organizations like Per Scholas and OneTen working together, we are really trying to drive that change in our corporate sector because we need to help them understand that they will not be competitive in the long term.”  

Future of Work panelists online.

In the Future of Work event, Lashay discussed her work experience before attending Per Scholas’ training and starting her career in tech.  “Starting my career as an IT Support Specialist was the first step towards sculpting out a career for myself,” she reflected. “It’s more sustainable when you are in a career that you enjoy and that is so fulfilling.”  Lashay is confident in workforce development in Philadelphia because of the efforts of programs like Per Scholas.  “It is so amazing that so many programs are coming together, like Per Scholas, in Philadelphia for people of color and women to succeed in their careers,” she mentioned.  After listening to both panel discussions, we are confident that the future of work will thrive.

Per Scholas in the News – September 2021

September was a busy month for Per Scholas!  We were featured in various media outlets that showcased our President and CEO Plinio Ayala and the impact of a few of our seventeen locations.  Did you read the OpEd Plinio Ayala wrote for New York Daily News on the job market and how creating a more inclusive labor market for employers and employees is beneficial for the country or see that Per Scholas was named a top tech program preparing youth to build the future in Baltimore?  Per Scholas Newark also made waves in September in the headlines striving for job equity while one of our Dallas graduates was featured in Parade Magazine.


Plinio Ayala penned an opinion piece for New York Daily News on creating a more inclusive labor market for employers and employees. “By prioritizing funding for evidence-based programs, we can do a better job of ensuring that federal legislation is actually supporting economic mobility rather than just funding nonprofits,” he mentions.  In this essay, titled ‘The Missing Link in Biden’s Jobs Plan,’ Ayala reflects on how tech training programs such as Per Scholas are able to bridge the gap between the abundance of open jobs and individuals with the skills necessary to fill them. “As the president and CEO of Per Scholas, a nonprofit that provides tuition-free training for careers in the technology sector, I’ve seen firsthand the impact programs like these can have on transforming workers’ careers, advancing economic mobility, and positively impacting local economies.”


Per Scholas Newark was featured in New Jersey Business Magazine in an article focused on Newark’s commitment to equitable access to bridge the digital divide.  Per Scholas Newark’s Managing Director LaToya Ball noted, “Per Scholas Collaborates with industry-leading employers to build more diverse talent pools, directly connecting our graduates to new career opportunities in fields such as IT support, cybersecurity, AWS re/Start, and software engineering.”  Days before that publication, the Arman Roy Foundation hosted their 3rd Annual Run for Hope 5k in partnership with Per Scholas Newark.  The 5k was in-person and had a virtual run option as well and raised over $30k towards their mission of bridging the digital divide and creating equity and opportunity for disadvantaged young adults.  

Tara Jacobs, a Per Scholas Dallas 2020 graduate, was featured in Parade Magazine for their annual ‘What People Earn’ issue.  Tara was showcased on the cover of the publication and noted that because of Per Scholas, she has been able to launch her career in tech.  “I serve as the first line of contact within the Service Desk to resolve issues for our customers: troubleshooting, technical support, system set-up, and all things related to customer service. It’s a career I could have never envisioned for myself if not for the tuition-free tech training I received from Per Scholas,” she noted.


Additionally, Per Scholas was named a top tech program preparing youth to build the future in Baltimore by  This is a great recognition noting the impact of Per Scholas in the Baltimore community that we are so proud to have read about.  We are excited to continue our efforts to connect individuals underrepresented in the tech industry with thriving tech careers. 


With so much great representation in the news in September, we are thrilled to see our impact as we head into the last quarter of the year.  Stay tuned to see how we close the book in 2021! 


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