Focusing Philanthropy + Per Scholas


Through our partnership with Per Scholas, Americans from underserved communities begin long-term careers in the IT sector. Motivated adults with household incomes at or below 200% of the federal poverty level receive ~15 weeks of rigorous, tuition-free technology training and professional development. Class curricula is designed in close collaboration with employers so that students learn the skills they need for entry-level jobs in high demand locally. Program graduates from each location (Atlanta, Boston, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dallas, Washington D.C., Newark, New York) see a 400% average increase in income, earning first-year salaries of $36,000 up from only $9,000 pre-course.

Problem


In low-income communities, the unemployment rate is 10% compared to the national average of 4.1%. Among the employed, 60% of Latinos and over 50% of African Americans earn less than $15 an hour.

At the same time, 40% of employers nationwide cannot find employees with the skills necessary for entry-level jobs. Studies predict that by the year 2022, there will be 1.8 million unfilled technology jobs in the U.S.

Our Response


We invest in scaling Per Scholas’ evidence-based, proven model so that more workers and their families can benefit from stable employment and the opportunity to advance. In 2018, we began raising contributions to fund extra classrooms in the markets Per Scholas currently serves. Per Scholas aims to open four new sites in the next five years, and we plan to support the establishment of additional programs and tailored course curricula that will further close the technology skills gap across the country.

Why Per Scholas


We know that inadequate education and a lack of job training are two of the many root causes of poverty, and that workforce development programs are an effective intervention method. Of all such programs we screened, Per Scholas was unique in that it designs training courses hand-in-hand with partner companies to tailor for their specific recruitment needs. Graduates have access to a direct path to employment, and employer partners have access to a previously untapped talent pipeline of hard-working people with competitive skills that match company demand. Per Scholas has expanded to seven major cities and continues to replicate outstanding job placement and wage growth rates across the country. Nationally, 85% of Per Scholas students graduate and 80% of graduates land jobs in technology. Students are 90% people of color and 30% women, groups decidedly underrepresented in IT employment today. While two independent, third party research studies have revealed unusually high income effects for Per Scholas graduates, our detailed financial analysis showed its average cost per student to be far below that of similar programs. After a year of diligence and multiple site visits, we are confident that additional expansion efforts will yield the same high-impact results.

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