Per Scholas

Program basics

  • Seeks to increase employment and earnings through employer-informed information technology (IT) job training, mentoring, and job matching
  • Training is tuition free and offers full-time courses in several IT and tech disciplines. Courses range from eight to nineteen weeks, depending on subject area.
  • Approximately 20 percent of course time is spent on professional development training and career coaching
  • The program maintains strong relationships with local employers that hire IT workers, and employers help shape the curriculum

Strength of evidence

Evidence level: Proven (highest tier)

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Proven (highest tier)

Ranked as having the highest level of evidence by Social Programs That Work


Target population

Low- and moderate-income adults

Program cost

Approximately $9,000 per participant (for in-person training)

Implementation locations

  • Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Newark, New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.

Dates active

1995-present

Outcomes and impact

  • After five years, Per Scholas participants earned $6,281 (27 percent) more per year than members of a control group
  • Participants of the program decreased their reliance on public benefits by 50 percent
  • 48 percent of participants reported an increase in happiness and greater life satisfaction

Keys to successful implementation

  • Note: This content is under review
  • Strong sector focus and close employer connections allow programming to be closely tied to market demand and positions participants for career success.
  • Programming includes both standard skills training (which is developed with input from a variety of industry employers) and specific Customized Trainings, which are developed for specific firms' needs.
  • Per Scholas's Business Solutions team works directly with employers, engaging with both human resources and front-line managers to find positions suitable for graduates and create direct pipelines for post-graduation job placement.
  • Before expanding to new markets, the program conducts a 6-9 month market scan, engages with local employers and higher education partners, and develops a three-year plan for funding sustainability.
  • Each local site has an advisory board consisting of local employers and community-based organizations, which help establish lasting connections to each community in which the program operates.

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