LA2050 Grants Challenge applications are open now through June 28th, 2024.
2023 Grants Challenge

Advancing Economic Equity For Los Angeles Residents Through Technology Training

Per Scholas is changing the face of tech in Los Angeles by charting a course to a thriving wage and empowering individuals with opportunities for professional growth and the ability to build better futures. By providing skills training and access to employer networks to job-seekers often excluded from tech careers, Per Scholas envisions a tech workforce as diverse as its customers.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Income Inequality

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

County of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

As of May 2023, 248,000 LA residents were unemployed. In Q2 of 2023, employers were looking to fill more than 36,743 tech positions in LA, with an average salary of $115,000 annually. Of those jobs posted, 52% listed either no educational requirement or a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent. Our focus on IT as a vehicle toward economic stability is crucial as it is a unique industry that is high-paying, does not require advanced degrees to enter, can be conducted remotely, and continues to be in high demand. We have helped unlock potential for LA residents like Andy, who emigrated from South Korea in 2004 and enrolled in our IT Support course in November 2022. After graduating, Andy quickly landed a job at Universal Music Studios as a Support Analyst, making $54,080/annually, an 333% increase from his pre-training wage of $12,480/annually.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

Through rigorous training, professional development, and robust employer connections, Per Scholas Los Angeles will prepare diverse job seekers in Los Angeles County for high-growth careers in the technology industry. We will enroll these individuals into full-time, bootcamp-style training, ranging from 12-15 weeks, preparing graduates to enter IT support, cloud computing, cybersecurity, and software engineering roles. These courses lead to industry-recognized professional certifications, whenever relevant, from industry leaders, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), CompTIA, and Google. A substantial portion of training time covers the real-world application of professional business skills, including communication, conflict negotiation, networking, collaboration, and personal brand-building. In addition, all learners have access to Financial Coaches and Social Workers, alumni upskilling, and continued career coaching for two-years post-graduation. The Per Scholas LA team has built strong community partnerships with organizations like the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, Upward Bound House, the Housing Authority for the City of Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles LGBT Center. Additionally, we have connected to strong employer partners in the region, including Robert Half, NBC Universal, Riot Games, Walt Disney, and Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. We are also a Southern California Apprenticeship Network member actively discussing apprenticeship partnerships with local employers.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

A thriving workforce in Los Angeles County starts with equitable access to education. With support from LA2050, Per Scholas Los Angeles seeks to scale its rigorous IT job training and connections to employment opportunities, enabling us to train 80 learners over the grant period and at least 500 diverse learners over the next three years in a variety of disciplines, generating $14.6M in new earnings in the first year employed. Racial and economic equity is at the core of everything we do. To facilitate equitable access to education in Los Angeles, we will target low-to-moderate income adult job seekers (18 years+ at 80% AMI or less), people of color, women, and those with at most a high school diploma or equivalent. Our employed graduates will contribute to the LA community through tax payments and the reduction/elimination of public benefits. When individuals earn a thriving wage, they can make active choices-and invest in themselves, their families, and entire communities.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

Per Scholas has been advancing economic equity for 28+ years, propelling more than 20,000 individuals into high-growth careers in technology across the country. Per Scholas Los Angeles launched operations in 2022 and officially enrolled our first cohorts in February 2023, with 31 learners enrolled across four training tracks. There was a 100% completion rate after courses concluded in May 2023, and business solutions professionals are actively working with graduates to secure employment. Our track record of success means that historically, 80% of our learners attain full-time employment at least one-year post-graduation, earning 3 times their pre-training wages. Per Scholas is a data-driven organization. Our capacity to collect, manage, and report quality data is reflected in the fact that we have successfully supported two multi-year, third-party evaluation research studies into the results of our work. We track learner data for at least two years post-graduation.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 80

Indirect Impact: