Truist Foundation gives Per Scholas North Carolina $1 Million

Truist Foundation gave Per Scholas North Carolina $1 million to train about 250 people living in rural neighborhoods.
Per Scholas NC is helping to meet the need for demand to get people trained in IT.
Published: Sep. 8, 2023 at 5:29 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Per Scholas North Carolina recently received a gift that will help give many people living in rural communities a chance to experience economic mobility.

Per Scholas is a program that offers free technology training. It lasts about 15 weeks - Monday through Friday. Learners experience one-on-one instruction in Java development, IT Support, cybersecurity, and more. They also receive professional development and connections to jobs.

Truist Foundation gave Per Scholas North Carolina $1 million to train about 250 people living in rural neighborhoods. Many believe this will be a game-changer.

“Even though their experiences may not have been in technology, they’ve got these great work experiences and they can bring all of those perspectives to teams that maybe all tech people and I think that is incredibly valuable,” Per Scholas North Carolina Managing Director Mike Terrell said.

Terrell believes reaching out to the rural community will help with the program’s diversity.

Currently, more than 80% of Per Scholas’ participants are people of color and one in three are women. Terrell also thinks color and gender aren’t the only forms of diversity that can help a company succeed.

“Diversity of thought, diversity of opinion,” he said. “If you have a more diverse team ultimately you are not going to get to have a bunch of yes people hanging around the table or a bunch of people who have the same perspective.”

Jeff Jones graduated from Per Scholas. He was 17 credits away from graduating from college. After he didn’t graduate, he moved to Charlotte and thought his dream of getting a tech job would not happen.

“Of course when you fail, it takes a while to get back on track especially when life takes a turn, and you are dealing with real life,” Jones said.

Jones learned about Per Scholas on LinkedIn. He applied and got the training he needed to land a job that would help him take care of his family. He said he had to provide the motivation and the determination while Per Scholas provided the free training.

“Most tech programs I know, that when you look around in the area like some of the ones at the local colleges and community colleges, you could be looking at $8,000 to $12,000 to take a certification program,” he said. “The opportunities that you are able to get just from you getting your foot in the door and getting a certification in IT, that alone is enough to open the door to so many limitless opportunities.”

Per Scholas North Carolina was established in 2020. Since then nearly 300 people have gone through the program. Terrell says the training will remain relevant.

“We don’t want people graduating with outdated skills,” he said. “Our IT support courses are updated twice a year. We want to make sure we are staying on the cutting edge, so when they get out, they can present themselves as I know with the most up-to-date information.”

The $1 million coming to Per Scholas will be spread out over the next two years.