Education nonprofit Per Scholas is opening a new Philly location at the Cambridge Innovation Center in partnership with TEKsystems, a Hannover, Maryland-based IT services firm.
The local space, located at 36th and Market, will be the ninth location in Per Scholas’ 20-year history. In the next three years, the organization said it will train 540 individuals for jobs in Boston, Philadelphia and Detroit.
Per Scholas offers tuition-free education courses for unemployed or underemployed adults, plus professional development for tech careers. On average, its students see a 400% increase in wages nationally, and the company just certified its 10,000th student, per the nonprofit.
The 24 Philly students will participate in Per Scholas’ full-time, 15-week IT program, similar to a Baltimore pilot from last year. The inaugural class will start on July 22, and Senior VP Theresa Chin said the org hopes to train 48 students by the end of the year. In addition to learning new skills, Chin said the students will follow a 9-to-5 schedule so they can be fully prepared for the corporate world.
The students will be trained by three to four on-site teachers on the most current versions of A+ and Network+ certification as well as professional development. Senior VP Damien Howard said that the curriculum is based around the needs of corporate partners so the companies can hire the students after graduation.
“We started to think about the sustainability of the organization and what that would look like and how we can build a resiliency inside of our business model to ensure that we would be able to handle all the ebbs and folds of the market needs [our partners] brought us,” Howard said.
The only requirement for students is a GED or high school diploma, and Chin said that the current enrollment is a mix of students with college degrees and high school diplomas.
Given Philly’s pressing need for IT talent, it seems like a no-brainer that the company is looking to expand into the area.
“We are looking to really provide a contribution to the Philly community by offering these types of programs and providing opportunity to people who normally would not be able to take advantage of other opportunities,” Chin said.
Apps to join the inaugural class are due by July 12.