Per Scholas’s IT Support is a profiled program in the Plugging In Report.
Who is served: Adults from overlooked communities
Number of participants served annually: 800
Location: Brooklyn, the Bronx
Frequency/Duration: Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m to 4 or 5 p.m for 12–19 weeks
Eligibility Criteria: Prospective participants may qualify if they are unemployed, underemployed, or receive public benefits. Participants must be over 18 with a high school diploma or equivalent and authorization to work. They also must have English proficiency and pass a basic academic assessment.
Application process: Online application, in-person interview
Curriculum: Courses in IT support, cyber security, systems administration, application development, and data engineering
Skill level: Mid-level
Outcomes: Provides training and industry-standard certification to prepare participants for the following entry-level positions: Cloud Support technician: CompTIA Linux+ and AWS Associate Level Certification IT support technician: CompTIA A+ and Network+ certifications, AWS Solutions Architect certification. Cybersecurity analyst: Cisco CCNA Cyber Ops Certification Application developer: Java proficiency
Partnerships: Barclays, The Door (TechBridge), Amazon Web Services, Cognizant
Sources of funding: City council discretionary funding, corporate partners (e.g. Barclays, Cognizant) and additional foundation support. Youth Career Pathways and high school partnerships are funded through the JP Morgan Chase New Skills for Youth initiative.
What makes the program stand out? Per Scholas provides tuition-free training for adults from often-overlooked communities in IT, cyber security, systems administration, app development, and data engineering. Each pathway incorporates both technical skills training that result in industry-recognized certifications and a career development program that equips students with a job search toolkit, time management skills, and interview preparation. The Per Scholas curriculum is employer-driven, and graduates are matched with employers.
Per Scholas is one of the few training programs that work closely with other nonprofit organizations to build out tech-focused bridge programs. Their first partnership with youth development agency The Door, TechBridge, blends a free, 5-week bridge curriculum with Per Scholas’s core programming. Per Scholas has launched a new bridge program in partnership with the Lower East Side Employment Network (LESEN). Per Scholas is also establishing high school partnerships in the Bronx to expose young people to careers in tech through in-school curriculum.
What do participants need to succeed? Participants need to demonstrate a sincere interest in technology and pursuing a tech career. They also must be able to attend classes full-time for the entire duration of the course. Per Scholas supports students throughout the program with case managers and financial coaches. Students are also provided referrals to wraparound services, such as childcare, to help manage their coursework and responsibilities.
What does the organization need? A sustainable source of funding support that allows for flexibility in program design and execution.