Organizations will focus on educating a diverse and technologically skilled workforce
SALT LAKE CITY–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Building on its mission to change lives for the better by creating pathways to opportunity, nonprofit Western Governors University’s (WGU) College of Information Technology today announced a transfer articulation partnership with nonprofit technology workforce development organization Per Scholas. Alumni of Per Scholas—which delivers tuition-free, market-relevant IT education in 14 major metro areas across the U.S.—will now be eligible to receive credit from their Per Scholas education toward a WGU IT bachelor’s degree program.
WGU and Per Scholas have the shared belief that equitable access to education is the greatest catalyst for change. Particularly, information technology education provides for a more diverse and equitable workforce and economy as it moves individuals to thriving wage careers. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate effect on communities of color and women, and there is an imperative need to address social inequities that leave individuals at the margins and deter them from learning.
“Careers in technology provide some of the highest wages and growth potential in our economy,” said Dr. Elke Leeds, Dean and Academic Vice President of WGU’s College of IT. “It’s not news that technology has a diversity problem, and we remain committed to expanding access to the learning and skills needed for employment, and the degree needed for advancing in a technology career. Social justice is advanced through equitable education and with rigorous technology education, Per Scholas is making its impact by increasing access to tech training, in particular for women and people of color, communities often underrepresented in technology fields. We are thrilled to partner with Per Scholas and provide their alumni with pathways to further their educations and careers.”
Through a network of philanthropic funding and grants, Per Scholas provides tuition-free, bootcamp-style technology education in IT support, cybersecurity, and software engineering to diverse learner populations. With a network of more than 500 employer partners, 80% of Per Scholas graduates found a job within one year of graduating. WGU’s recognition of Per Scholas’ training now provides graduates with their next opportunity in education and career advancement. WGU’s online degree programs allow learners to work toward their degree on their own time, and its competency-based education model measures learning rather than seat time. This allows learners to progress as soon as they master skills and graduate with a bachelor’s degree within two-and-a-half years on average.
“We’re incredibly excited about this partnership with WGU, especially knowing the benefits and value it represents for the Per Scholas community,” said Bridgette Gray, Per Scholas Chief Impact Officer. “For our alumni who are looking to move into middle management roles, many companies still require an undergraduate degree. This partnership gives our graduates significant credits toward a degree in Information Technology at an outstanding university that not only offers affordable tuition, but also coursework flexibility. This provides our graduates who enroll at WGU with greater value for the hard work and time that they invested into their Per Scholas coursework and the certificates they earned, putting our alumni that much closer to achieving the next goal in their career progression.”
In the months and years to come, WGU and Per Scholas will seek to advance their partnership to be stewards of equitable access to technology education and will roll out local and regional enrollment efforts. To learn more about the partnership visit wgu.edu/lp/information-technology/per-scholas.html. For employers and philanthropic partner interests, please contact Brad Angevine at Per Scholas.
Established in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors with a mission to expand access to high-quality, affordable higher education, online, nonprofit WGU now serves more than 129,000 students nationwide and has more than 214,000 graduates in all 50 states. Driving innovation as the nation’s leading competency-based university, WGU has been recognized by the White House, state leaders, employers, and students as a model that works in postsecondary education. In just 24 years, the university has become a leading influence in changing the lives of individuals and families, and preparing the workforce needed in today’s rapidly evolving economy. WGU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, has been named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies, and has been featured on NPR, NBC Nightly News, CNN, and in The New York Times. Learn more at wgu.edu.
About Per Scholas
Per Scholas is a national organization that has been advancing economic mobility for 25 years. Through rigorous training, professional development and robust employer connections, we prepare individuals traditionally underrepresented in technology for high-growth careers in the industry. We partner with leading employers to build more diverse talent pools, directly connecting our graduates to new career opportunities with leading employers, from Fortune 500 companies to innovative startups. With campuses in 14 cities, Per Scholas has trained more than 12,000 individuals in tech skills, building bridges to careers in technology. To learn more, please visit perscholas.org.
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Aaron Silverman – WGU Communications
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