Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel Paper: Running a Demand Driven Program, a Practitioner Perspective

Thursday, November 12, 2015 : 2:25 PM
Orchid B (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Angie Kamath, Per Scholas Institute of Technology
This presentation will present the practitioner perspective on running demand driven training programs. Per Scholas, which is headquartered in the Bronx, New York, with several other locations nationwide, focuses on the information technology sector. Before WorkAdvance, Per Scholas had substantial experience with sectoral programs. Per Scholas also participated in the only rigorous study of sectoral strategies that had been conducted prior to WorkAdvance: Public/Private Ventures’ (P/PV) Sectoral Employment Impact Study, which had a large influence on the design of WorkAdvance.

Per Scholas is an in-house training organization providing high-quality technology education and career placement services through multi-week intensive courses tailored to entry-level positions in the Information Technology sector. All enrollees, who are adults 18+ and unemployed or underemployed, receive these services for free.

In her presentation, Angie Kamath, the Executive Director of Per Scholas in New York will focus on how Per Scholas engages employer partners. Per Scholas has robust multiple tier/pathways in which they engage employers. Her comments will focus on lessons for the workforce development field about how to provide strong ‘value added’ employer relationships.

The presentation will also focus on the Per Scholas model of advancement and post employment services. Per Scholas provides to the alumni of its training programs a suite of advanced training, financial planning assistance, and career advancement coaching services to help promote upward mobility beyond entry-level for their graduates. Wage increases, new position titles or promotions, and attainment of additional industry credentials offered by Per Scholas are some of the key outcomes.

The presentation will also provide practical lessons on the use of technology to enable staff and students to be more productive, effective and targeted with program services. Per Scholas utilizes a cloud-based learning management system with comprehensive adoption of the Salesforce database and innovative use of cloud based servers (through Google Apps). Kamath will comment on the use of technology to enable better program delivery and management.

Finally, Kamath will focus on Per Scholas efforts with specific populations: notably young adults and women. Informed by in-house data analysis, Per Scholas has created extra services to support young adults (18-24 years old). While still serving them in a mixed age classroom Per Scholas is creating supports and pre-Per Scholas boot camps to make sure young adults can be successful in the program. Per Scholas also has developed an approach to increase the representation of women in the IT sector with a commitment to have gender equal classrooms by 2016.