Puneet Varma (Editor)

Per Scholas

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Founded  1994
Similar  CompTIA, Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow, BronxWorks, NPower, The Doe Fund

Per scholas

Per Scholas is a national nonprofit that drives positive and proven social change in communities across the country. Through rigorous and tuition-free technology training and professional development, Per Scholas prepares motivated and curious adults who are un- or underemployed for successful careers as IT professionals, and creates onramps to businesses in need of their talents.


Per Scholas was founded in 1995 by Lewis Miller and John Stookey in the South Bronx, New York City. Today Per Scholas provides solutions in six cities across the country: Atlanta, GA; Cincinnati and Columbus, OH; Dallas, TX; the National Capital Region, and New York, NY. To date, Per Scholas has trained 6,000 individuals, helping them build lasting, life-changing skills and careers in technology.

Episode 16 permission to speak per scholas leaders interview with kelly vandever

IT training programs

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

Per Scholas offers a targeted range of tuition-free technology and professional development training that vary based on local market demands. Each Per Scholas program, regardless of its location, combines these essential components: 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, 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.

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, and verified by a two-year randomized and controlled study called WorkAdvance, undertaken by MDRC and CEO -- are dramatically better than those arising from other workforce development efforts, community colleges or technical schools. Unlike at many of these types of 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.

Additional IT Courses

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, web development and more to respond to labor demands within the sector.

Social Ventures

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 to Per Scholas' Bronx location to employ graduates in the software testing field. Doran Jones will provide software testing services for multiple clients, employing 75% of its operations with graduates from Per Scholas.

Asset Recovery

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.

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

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.

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


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 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.

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


Per Scholas Wikipedia