Mon, Jun 11, 2018

Welcome to the Alumni Network, Platform Graduates!

Per Scholas was honored to have two of our Platform by Per Scholas cohorts graduate in New York and Dallas during the month of May. In addition to 21 graduates in our New York Data Engineering class, we had 10 graduates obtain jobs upon graduation, three of which were hired by Platform as instructors and teaching assistants, and seven of which have been hired by firms like Learnvest and Infosys.

Dallas’ inaugural Platform cohort was a great success with 86% of enrolled students graduating, and 50% of those graduates being woman that are ready to start a career in technology. Not to be out done by New York, Dallas also had 4 students hired immediately after graduation. Thank you to our partners Cognizant, MAKE Corporation, Southwest Airlines, and Aspire Business Solutions for seeing the value that determined Per Scholas graduates can bring to their organizations.

A perfect example of a determined Per Scholas Graduate is Greg Finnell. Greg is the person in the family that can fix anything. “I am kind of like a jack of all trades,” he says. “If a computer was broken, or a router was not working -- I was the guy my family would call on to fix it.”

Born and raised in Texas, Greg moved to Houston to pursue a degree in Business Management. Greg says he understood that a degree would provide him flexibility, but he had trouble sitting through classes, and with the increasing cost of education he decided to leave after earning his Associate’s Degree.

Greg spent a period of time working in a low wage customer service job. After hearing comments that “without a four year degree, it would be hard to find more advanced positions.” Greg realized that “I didn’t want to be working next to a fifteen year-old kid who would be making the same wages as me, and that’s when I started looking into certifications. I knew that technical jobs paid more than customer service.”

Like many students, Greg thought that Per Scholas was fake: “I thought it was a lie - but then I thought - if it is true then it can’t hurt.” Greg enrolled in Per Scholas’ entry level IT Support course and earned himself an A+ Certification. After 10 weeks of training he was immediately hired as a Help Desk Support for a technology consulting firm and doubled his yearly income. Greg says, “after I got my A+ certification, it opened up the door for me it, it was life changing and put a fire under me and made me start studying and working even harder.”

Greg continued to work nighttime Monday through Thursday from 8pm-7am, and took another job on the weekends at the baggage claim with American Airlines on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On his own time he studied for additional certifications, earning three in January and February, and eventually earning his Net+ certification in March.

During that period, Per Scholas reached out to alumni about a new training opportunity with Platform by Per Scholas, a customized training track teaching an Application Support Management course in Dallas. This was a perfect upskilling opportunity for Greg, and offered customer solutions training, project management skills and advanced coding knowledge, all skills he needed in order to advance in the industry. He enrolled in the course, and continued to work nights and weekends. “It was a challenging time, and I did not have much sleep, but I was going to succeed. My dream is to make six figures in my lifetime to support myself, my partner and my family.”

Platform by Per Scholas upskills individuals with previous backgrounds in technology. Greg was able to leverage his IT Support course and working experience at Cognizant to begin learning new skills including several coding languages. “Platform was teaching new information that opened the door for my career. Companies in Dallas are trying to re-train their current employees on new languages and technologies that Platform is already teaching. All of these companies are moving towards ITIL languages, skills I had already learned at Platform.”

Before graduation, Greg was contacted by a hiring team from Southwest Airlines. Within a week he was hired as a Senior Service Desk Technician at $28/hr, nearly three times the salary he was earning before he found Per Scholas. “They found my resume online, noticed that I was going for multiple certifications, that I was a hard worker and that I wanted to continue to learn, and they hired me just like that.”

When asked about the future Greg says “I really like the technical side of these jobs. It gives me a lot of energy and I want to continue to grow. I have a love for travel and like seeing new places. I’ve got some great trips planned for myself and my partner-- Paris, Rome and London are on the list!”

Congratulations to all of the recent graduates! We wish them the best in continuing their education and their future careers.