Helping Overlooked Students Obtain Jobs in Technology

Steve Adubato speaks with Michelle Pullaro, Chief Administrative Officer, Per Scholas, about the expansion of Per Scholas Newark and the importance of bridging the gap between businesses and students from overlooked communities who are interested in careers in technology.

12/7/2019 #126






"Welcome to Think Tank. I'm Steve Adubato. Where we talk to big thinkers, people with important things to say about issues and challenges in our society that matter a great deal. We're pleased to welcome Michelle Pullaro, who is the Chief Administrative Officer of an organization called Per Scholas. Per Scholas. What is Per Scholas? Per Scholas is a technology non-profit that opens doors to technology careers for individuals in overlooked communities. Why is that so important? The tech sector is booming tremendously. And there are a lot of people that are just shut out of the tech ecosystem. And so Per Scholas is really there to be that gap for individuals that don't have access to the education or the opportunities to get jobs in the tech sector. So break this down a little bit Michelle. Sure. How does this happen? By the way, this is a national...? You're based where? We are based in the Bronx. And we are in 11 cities across the country. So it's national? It's national. In many ways? Yeah. Explain to folks what you actually do to get these students who have historically not have had access to these tech opportunities. What are you actually doing to them and for them to help get them ready? You know what's interesting? The tech skills are a mechanism to get them into the tech economy. But we're giving them a nurturing environment. We're building confidence. And we're identifying individuals that have the intellectual curiosity, and the grit, and the desire for a better life, but just haven't had the access to the opportunity. College was out of reach for them. Possibly financially. They couldn't afford it, or they started and they couldn't finish college, and they ended up with debt, no degree, and no job. They come to us and we're really there... Excuse me. They come to you? By the way, we'll put up the website as we're talking... Yeah. Sure. Yeah. ...right now. They come to you...? We're partnering with community organizations. So right here in Newark. We launched in April. And we... Per Scholas opened in Newark in... several months back? April... Go ahead. Yeah. April, 2019. We've been around for 25 years. We've trained 10,000 individuals. But in Newark, we launched in April, and we've trained 75 individuals. And really, the goal is to create local jobs for tech... Newark residents in the tech ecosystem. So... it's so interesting. We... with our partners, our friends over at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Yeah. We just did a Voice Summit. We didn't do the Voice Summit. We covered the Voice Summit there. Everything going on in voice. And the reason I mentioned this is because you realize there are an incredible number of..."