Per Scholas

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Per Scholas is a United States-registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit committed to breaking the cycle of poverty by creating technology education, training and career opportunities for low-income individuals. Its flagship initiative is a free, multi-week, immersive IT job training course provided at no cost to low-income and unemployed individuals, more than 90% from racial and ethnic minority communities, to the gain skills and establish new careers in information technology.

Per Scholas was founded in 1995 by Lewis Miller and John Stookey and headquartered the organization in the Port Morris section of the South Bronx, New York City. Today it operates its technology job training nationally in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dallas, New York, and Silver Spring serving the Washington, D.C. region. Its national expansion will continue into new cities.


IT training programs[edit]

Per Scholas offers a free IT training and workforce development program.[1] The program targets unemployed and underserved adults.[2]

Per Scholas offers a targeted range of free professional IT training courses from its operations that vary based on local market demands. Each Per Scholas program, regardless of its location, combines three essential components in its free services: high quality, hands-on technical skills training led by certified and experienced instructors; extensive job skills instruction; and individualized support for job placement, as well as personal and career advancement.

The success of the Per Scholas training programs (relative to earlier workforce development programs) is attributed in large part to its understanding of the industries its students will enter. The organization works in close partnership with many prominent corporations,[3] its instructors are experienced experts in the field, and its leadership consists of leading professionals in the IT field. Training is also structured to fill specific demands in the labor force.[4]

A key objective of the program is the development of a strategic career pathway model that leads to the creation of “new” middle skilled workers. Per Scholas’ outcomes — proven in a five-year, randomized and controlled study undertaken by Public/Private Ventures with funding from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation — are dramatically better than those arising from generic workforce development efforts, or even from community colleges and technical schools. Unlike in a large majority of students at the latter institutions, 85% of Per Scholas students graduate, and an equal percentage of graduates demonstrate their learning by earning industry-recognized IT professional certifications. Further, Per Scholas supports its graduates after their placements, with a program of continued training, career advancement coaching, financial planning services, and other support services.

The programs are funded by a diverse makeup of partners, who range diversely from the world’s leading corporations and foundations, to numerous public agencies, elected officials and other valued stakeholders.[5]

Additional IT Courses[edit]

In addition to the standard IT Support career-track training, offerings have been expanding to include courses for careers in network engineering, software testing / quality assurance, cyber security, and more additions to respond to labor demands within the sector.

Social Ventures[edit]

Urban Development Center In August 2013, Per Scholas launched the Software Testing Education Program (STEP)—an 8-week training that prepares graduates to fill entry-level software testing roles. While developing this program, Per Scholas was given the opportunity to partner with software consulting company Doran Jones to create the Urban Development Center, a software testing center built adjacent Per Scholas' Bronx location to employ graduates in the software testing field. Doran Jones will provide software testing services for multiple clients, employing 75 percent of its operations with graduates from Per Scholas.

Asset Recovery[edit]

By partnering with leading global vendors, Per Scholas offers a complete, end-to-end ITAD (IT Asset Disposition) solution for your retired computer equipment. A portion of the proceeds helps finance our technology training programs. Per Scholas brings more than 20 years of experience in recovering, handling and processing retired IT equipment.


Per Scholas was featured in WIRED magazine in November 2014.[6]

Four Per Scholas graduates were featured in the New York Times in the winter of 2014.[7]

In 2012, Per Scholas was named one of America's top-performing nonprofit organizations by the Social Impact Exchange S&100 Index for its impressive outcomes and results-driven work.[8]

Per Scholas received a Heroes Award from the Robin Hood Foundation in 2011.[9]


The Per Scholas board of directors includes several prominent professionals in the IT field. Current Chairman Lewis E. Miller is the president of Qvidian, a provider of cloud-computing applications, and was previously CEO of Synergistics and The Future Now, Inc.

Founder and Chairman Emeritus current John Hoyt Stookey was chairman, president and CEO of Quantum through 1993, and has held positions on various boards since retiring in 1995.

CEO and President Plinio Ayala was previously director of program operations at SOBRO. In 2006 he received the Liberty Award from the New York Post for his work in the NYC community and in 2005 was issued a Citation of Merit by the Bronx Borough President.[10]

Each regional site outside of New York has an advisory board as well.[11]


  1. ^ Samuels, Tanyanika (September 8, 2008). "Bronx nonprofit Per Scholas trains low-income residents to fix computers". NY Daily News. Retrieved June 13, 2012. 
  2. ^ Olson, Elizabeth (November 10, 2010). "Helping Veterans Find Civilian Jobs". New York Times. Retrieved June 13, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Training Workers for Good Jobs". The New York Times. March 19, 2007. Retrieved June 13, 2012. 
  4. ^ Building a Career Path Where There Was Just a Dead End, Dale (February 26, 2007). "Building a Career Path Where There Was Just a Dead End". Washington Post. Retrieved June 13, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Per Scholas - Our Partners". Retrieved 24 November 2015. 
  6. ^ Lapowsky, Issie. "Urban Onshoring: The Movement to Bring Tech Jobs Back to America". Wired. Retrieved 24 November 2015. 
  7. ^ "Four Per Scholas grads Featured in the New York Times". Retrieved 24 November 2015. 
  8. ^ "Social Impact Exchange - An index of top nonprofits creating social impact". Retrieved 24 November 2015. 
  9. ^ "Robin Hood Foundation Honors Per Scholas With Heroes Award". Per Scholas Featured News. November 2011. Retrieved June 13, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Speaker's Bio: Plinio Ayala". Philanthropy New York. Retrieved June 13, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Per Scholas - New York & National Board". Retrieved 24 November 2015. 

External links[edit]