Newark to partner with tech training nonprofit, providing residents with free services, courses

By Meg Fry
Newark | Oct 2, 2018 at 11:54 am

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka announced Tuesday the city’s partnership with Per Scholas, a national technical training nonprofit based in New York City, to offer intensive courses and career support services to local residents for free.

“Newark is experiencing an explosion of technology companies choosing to locate here,” Baraka said in a statement. “One of our highest priorities is to ensure that Newark residents benefit from the city’s accelerating development, investment and job growth. The decision by Per Scholas to come to Newark is both a confirmation of Newark’s technology leadership and a boost to our goal of preparing residents for well-paying tech jobs.”

Beginning in January, Per Scholas will train more than 200 individuals — two-thirds of whom will be Newark residents, according to a news release — in industry- and job-specific technical and professional development skills over the next three years at 540 Broad St., while also helping them find local jobs with regional employers.

“Over the past year, we’ve had the privilege to learn about Newark from many of the community-based organizations, public institutions and local employers who call this unique city home,” Plinio Ayala, CEO and president of Per Scholas, said. “We’ve learned that Newark’s assets are incredible — among them, robust fiber infrastructure, a vibrant and growing tech ecosystem, and a shared educational, nonprofit and corporate commitment to economic inclusion.

“My Per Scholas colleagues and I are deeply grateful for the input and support leading up to this moment, and are honored to have Per Scholas join the Newark community as a neighbor and partner.”

Per Scholas boasts a strong track record of success, with an 80 percent employment rate and many graduates more than doubling their annual salary from their previous jobs.

Courses typically run for nearly four months and include a comprehensive admissions process, technical instruction, career coaching and two years of alumni follow-up and placement support.

“We are excited to welcome Per Scholas to New Jersey,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement. “Their work aligns closely with my administration’s focus on demand-driven training for high-growth fields like information technology and our goal of creating the most inclusive innovation economy possible.

“I applaud Mayor Baraka, the city of Newark and Per Scholas’ employer partners for investing in New Jersey’s graduates and championing a program that will provide good-paying jobs for our residents.”

The partnership with Per Scholas Newark closely aligns with Mayor Baraka’s “Newark 2020” initiative, which aims to find work for nearly 2,020 unemployed Newark residents by 2020.

Additional partners and supporters of Per Scholas Newark include the Newark Alliance, La Casa de Don Pedro, New Community Corp., Ironbound Community Corp., the Newark Public Library and Newark Arts.

Barclays International, Prudential Financial and the PSEG Foundation provided the financial support in which to make Per Scholas Newark possible.

“Barclays is proud to partner with Per Scholas as it prepares to open its doors in Newark,” Deborah Goldfarb, global head of citizenship for Barclays International, said in a statement.

Barclays also recently announced the creation of a new campus in Whippany, less than 20 miles from Newark.

“Our new Barclays campus in Whippany will increasingly require a sustainable talent pipeline from the local community and our investment in talent, training and hiring solutions will play an important part integrating our business and social impact objectives,” Goldfarb said. “Throughout our history, we have seen the outcomes that cross-sector partnerships produce, and this new location offers an exceptional opportunity to broaden that impact even further.”

Prudential, headquartered in Newark for more than 140 years, also will provide both resources and expertise to link the new training opportunities with community and employer networks in the city, including themselves.

“Per Scholas and Prudential share a commitment to developing strong employer partnerships and successfully connecting people to quality jobs in Newark,” Sarah Keh, vice president of corporate giving at Prudential Financial, said in a statement. “Newark offers Per Scholas a unique opportunity to expand its proven model in a city with a diverse talent pipeline, a strong tech infrastructure and a robust network of community-based organizations, corporations and government focused on workforce development. We are excited to help bring this training program to Newark residents who are eager for the opportunity to pursue employment in the technology industry.”

Lastly, the PSEG Foundation has a more than 114-year history of supporting and investing in sustainable neighborhoods, STEM education and safety in cities like Newark.

“Per Scholas is bringing to Newark an award-winning and proven model that addresses head on systemic inequities and the workforce barriers too often faced by both residents and employers,” Barb Short, president and chief diversity officer of the PSEG Foundation, said in a statement. “The PSEG Foundation is proud to support Per Scholas’ expansion into Newark and looks forward to collaborating with this community of leaders to meet Newark 2020 objectives and to help ensure that new pathways of opportunity, skills development, training and jobs are created.”

Per Scholas has locations in six other cities across the country, including Atlanta; Cincinnati; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas; Silver Spring, Maryland; and New York City.

The organization trains more than 1,000 students each year in occupations including information technology support, cybersecurity, and web development, and partners with more than 500 employers nationally on job placement and curriculum design.

Newark residents may apply for the training offered by Per Scholas at www.perscholas.org/newark.

Meg Fry | mfry@roi-nj.com | megfry3