Per Scholas is a community-driven program providing rigorous technical training and professional development to overlooked talent for a strong entrance to the workforce. Their 15-week curriculum produces graduates who, thanks to the school, are equipped to integrate seamlessly in the workplace.
Rearranging the stars
Per Scholas Columbus’ Managing Director, Toni Cunningham calls this curriculum “changing the trajectory of these individual’s lives.” But more than that, we see Per Scholas as pivotal in “rearranging the stars” for bright, talented, and able students that have been otherwise unable to get the education necessary to move into these fields. And this is more than just any old education; the Per Scholas accreditation surpasses most industries’ IT Ops entry-level qualifications.
What separates Per Scholas from other workforce-development organizations is that they often partner with corporations to tailor-fit their students for positions unique to that partner company. Essentially, companies have the opportunity to custom-train future employees through this non-profit program, thereby hand-picking the best talent from overlooked communities.
Sage’s partnership with Per Scholas is especially interesting because, not only are we able build a solid employee base with Per Scholas graduates—which is the principle reason for the partnership—but we can also offer a stream of donated technology to the school; technology that is vital to the Per Scholas program and, indeed, to breaking down the digital divide that plagues this country.
Getting the keys to the kingdom
What does your computer do for you? If you’re like most people, it helps you get things done; it provides independent access to information; allows you to shop, enroll, and apply for things online; and is the backbone of modern business. That’s not even including the value that social media and Skype can offer for connecting remotely with people.
Now, imagine not having that resource. Would you be able to keep up with your current way of life without this kind of access? For many people—11% of Americans, according to 2018 PEW research—that kind of interconnection is simply out of reach. Whether due to cost, geographic location, or lack of education, this group is on the suffering side of what has been called the “digital divide.”
This lack of access does more than just prevent underserved communities from getting online. Technology is a catalyst for human potential. Many of the issues that plague our country could be dealt with by providing digital access to these communities. Issues like that of employment, which Per Scholas is uniquely suited to address.
And while most LMI individuals have smartphones with internet capabilities, it is still not enough to build a future on. Larger screen devices like laptops and PCs allow LMI communities to leap the gap and join the rest of the country online in a way that smartphones do not. This is because of the applications and interfaces that come with larger devices do far more for the individual using them than smaller-screen apps can.
You can join the fight against Digital Inequity
Because of this difference in device potential, computers are no longer just nice to have. Globally, the computer with internet access has become a necessity. Access to education, health care, and employment are now heavily reliant on having an internet-enabled device. Technology has become a utility in the same vein as electricity or telecommunication.
This digital divide—or the inequity that causes it—is limiting potential: the potential of human skills and talent, but also the potential to overcome economic boundaries. For this reason, investing in Per Scholas students’ futures is really about our collective economic and social advancement.
So, if you’re looking for a great way to boost your company’s ESG metrics, technology is a fantastic starting point. We’ve said before that technology is a catalyst for so many things, and since your gadgets have more to give, you have the potential to help change the trajectory of a persons’ life toward the better. Check out our GoodTogether page for more information.
We are excited to see what the future holds not only for the students graduating from Per Scholas—as we employ them in our own company—but also for the program as a whole, as we help boost their learning potential with donated technology from companies like yours. This combination of giving and receiving makes our partnership with Per Scholas doubly effective.