Denver, Colorado – September 8, 2020 – Activate, a Denver-based professional placement and coaching firm, will graduate the first cohort of learners from its new ActivateIT training program September 11. Thirteen learners from diverse Denver communities completed the tuition-free program, earning CompTIA A+, Network+ and Google IT certifications and participating in more than 100 hours of professional development, career and life skills coaching.


ActivateIT launched in January in partnership with the national tech training nonprofit Per Scholas to give local businesses access to the tech talent they need. The alliance also offers the opportunity for low-wage earners to move into middle-income jobs with growth potential.  Learners earn industry-recognized credentials for in-demand roles such as network and security administration, IT security, data engineering, Salesforce administration, and quality assurance. While the training was intended to be offered in-person, coronavirus-related concerns required Activate to provide programming online instead.


“We are so proud of our graduates for committing to learning such complex material remotely and supporting each other through that process. They built resiliency and stamina that will serve them well in their new careers,” said ActivateIT General Manager Kathryn Harris.


Per Scholas has trained more than 10,000 IT professionals in 11 cities over the last 25 years, providing comprehensive market-led talent solutions for over 500 businesses including Cognizant, TEKsystems, and Capital One. Per Scholas’ nationally replicated model has produced skilled, committed employees who thrive in their careers. Eighty-five percent of Per Scholas learners graduate, 80% of graduates gain IT employment, and 70% of placements stay retained in the job after one year. Per Scholas graduates earn, on average four times more in annual income, with average annual incomes increasing from $9,000 pre-training to $37,000 post-placement.


Activate has also built an impressive track record helping employers in the financial services, business services, healthcare, and trade sectors hire and develop talent from underrepresented populations. More than 80% of Activate’s placements are thriving in the same company 12 months after being hired and are retained at 3x the rate of incumbents. The firm’s approach saves employers an average of $12,000 per placement, while placements increase their annual earnings by an average of nearly $20,000.


“Together, Activate and Per Scholas are building the workforce of the future and leveling the economic playing field. Workforce development is a critical component in helping our communities recover from the Covid crisis and we’re proud to have partners like Activate helping to expand our impact,” said Plinio Ayala, CEO of Per Scholas.


Activate’s first graduating class is diverse in age, race and educational background.  Average individual annual income of the cohort was a little over $15,000, and household income was $36,000. The organization’s goal is to help learners access post-graduation careers where they could earn $45,000 to $55,000 a year with opportunities for advancement. Activate will host a job fair from 9 a.m. to noon on September 11 via Zoom. Participating employers include: Denver Health, HSS, IMA Financial and FirstBank.


In 2020, ActivateIT Powered by Per Scholas will graduate 40 learners from two Network Support classes. By 2025, the organization will have provided technology training to 500 individuals, with 400 placed into IT careers, creating a business-led solution for economic development.