Graduates value technical training, professional development and support
Jan. 26, 2022 | By TEKsystems
Since 2015, TEKsystems and Per Scholas, a national organization that has been advancing economic mobility for over 25 years, have worked together to bridge the diverse talent gap in America’s technology workforce and help job seekers make a more streamlined, direct connection to in-demand employment opportunities.
We believe our partnership represents workforce development innovation, not just for now but also for what’s next. We’ve helped hundreds of Per Scholas graduates secure full-time career opportunities. Here are just a few of their stories.
Dayna’s aptitude for technology emerged in high school, where she often found herself teaching other students how to navigate computers. She built a computer in 10th grade and a website in 11th grade. After years of working in customer service and collections, she considered her next career move. It’s no wonder that a tech training in her hometown of Chicago piqued her interest. Dayna, a single mother of two young children, decided to take the leap and apply to Per Scholas’ end-user desktop support training. She began the 15-week training determined to succeed.
It was definitely hard, but I kept looking at my kids. I knew that they deserved more.
"There were many late nights studying,” she explained. “It was definitely hard, but I kept looking at my kids. I knew that they deserved more.”
On top of juggling her family responsibilities, Dayna moved her family to Texas during the training, and she said the teams from both Per Scholas and TEKsystems were extremely supportive.
Per Scholas instructors helped build her confidence and provided the training she needed to be ready for work on day one. TEKsystems’ representatives helped her understand what employers are looking for, and she knew how to better showcase her skills and build relationships. With that support and encouragement from her loved ones, Dayna didn’t give up, landing a role at a renowned technology company shortly after graduation.
Advice for Future Learners: Be confident. Speak up. Make things easier on yourself—don’t be afraid to ask when you have a question.
Veronica grew up in Chicago, and her parents were born in Mexico. She enrolled in college after high school, but she ultimately decided to take a different path and became a pharmacy technician. That’s where she discovered her affinity for technology. Veronica found herself taking care of many IT problems at the small, independently owned pharmacy. When she heard about Per Scholas, she couldn’t believe that there was a tuition-free training investing in people underrepresented in technology. She applied, participated in multiple interviews and took all the assessments. Looking back at the thorough application process, she now understands that Per Scholas wanted to accurately evaluate an applicant’s ability to learn because the training was intense.
Veronica recalled the collaborative learning environment works best if everyone does the work and shows up prepared for the day. She described being immersed in a multidimensional learning environment Monday through Thursday, with Fridays focused on professional development, when TEKsystems representatives shared insights around what companies are looking for along with interviewing, resume-building and networking. “Per Scholas and TEKsystems prepare you for the real world,” she said. “They prepare you in all aspects for the job market.”
People in IT get a bad reputation for not knowing how to communicate and just doing independent work, but it’s not like that.
Throughout the training, Per Scholas instructors focused on both technical skills and human skills. “People in IT get a bad reputation for not knowing how to communicate and just doing independent work, but it’s not like that,” she explained. “You have to communicate and work as a team.” Veronica said that the partnership between TEKsystems and Per Scholas provides learners with support systems to continue your education and build your network, including two years of access to Per Scholas alumni resources.
“I’m happy these types of partnerships are out there—knowing companies are willing to invest in you,” said Veronica. “I want to pay it forward and get the word out.”
Advice for Future Learners: Study. Ask questions.
Born and raised in India, Ashwini enjoyed working on computers in high school. She earned her bachelor’s degree in computer science. After starting a family and moving to the U.S., she decided to get back into the workforce. She found it difficult, however, given her gap in employment. She enrolled in Per Scholas Java Developer training for what she described as a wonderful journey—but a hectic one.
Ashwini took part in the virtual training while her husband worked from home and her oldest child attended virtual school. “It was like being in full-time college again but add on hectic juggling life,” she said. “My family really stepped up, though. My husband and mom were so supportive. All of that enabled me to devote time to studying, taking all the tests and performing my best.”
I also really valued the help with behavioral interviews and real-world advice as to what employers were looking for from TEKsystems.
The dedicated Per Scholas instructors helped bring her skills up to date. “I also really valued the help with behavioral interviews and real-world advice as to what employers were looking for from TEKsystems.” She recommends the training to friends, particularly women looking to get back into the workforce.
Advice for Prospective Hiring Managers: My fellow Per Scholas graduates are well-rounded, and they really understand the balance between work and life.
Terrell grew up in Detroit, one of four children raised by a single mother, who passed away when he was 15. He credits sports for saving his life because, “I had to keep up my grades to play sports.” He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in network administration but found work outside of IT. He worked at a logistics company for 13 years, serving in various roles from warehouse, truck driver to project management. He always wanted to get back into IT and earn his certifications. The time came when his employer closed their doors, and he had the opportunity to enroll in Per Scholas training.
With the support of his wife and three daughters, Terrell began Per Scholas training, while also working on his master’s degree in cybersecurity. Despite his IT background, he found the Per Scholas coursework intense. Yet, his family was in his corner encouraging him, “Hey, dad. You got to study!”
I don’t think I would be in the position I’m in right now if it weren’t for Per Scholas and TEKsystems.
The professional development Fridays were helpful to him and his fellow learners. Instructors emphasized how you show up professionally, from being courteous and approachable to being accountable and dressing well. Terrell said, “I don’t think I would be in the position I’m in right now if it weren’t for Per Scholas and TEKsystems.” He’s grateful for the opportunity.
Advice for Future Learners: Trust the process. It’s worth the sacrifices you have to make.
Advice for Prospective Hiring Managers: These graduates want to work. They want to be here. They have the desire you won’t often find and up-to-date skills to address today’s business demands.