Cincy's Got Tech Talent: 5 questions with Delrae McNeill of Per Scholas

Tech training nonprofit Per Scholas is changing the face of Information Technology in Cincinnati by offering a streamlined option for job training and non-traditional education. In this series, we sit down with a few of its staff, alumni, and student ambassadors to learn how Per Scholas is growing and adapting its programs to meet the needs of students and the IT industry.


Delrae McNeillDelrae McNeill is Per Scholas’s Manager of Technical Instruction. He is the classroom instructor for the IT Support class and manages instructors for other training tracks. After a long career in the IT industry, McNeill was hand-picked for a teaching position with Per Scholas. The nonprofit was new to him but, once he learned the value and mission of the organization, he was happy to jump on board.


He tells Soapbox readers more about his role in the Per Scholas program:

What is the A+ Program?


The A+ program is a rigorous 10-week training program for novice users interested in entry level positions in the field of IT support. Students who complete the program with a cumulative score of 70% or higher receive a certificate of completion and are eligible to sit for the CompTIA A+ certification exam. The CompTIA certification is an industry standard certification that is internationally recognized.


Why is Cincinnati the right place for this program?


Cincinnati has an abundance of available positions for individuals seeking entry level PC technician positions. Cincinnati also has a large population of underdeveloped talent seeking technical training that may not have the time or funds to pursue college degrees.


Who is your average student and why is this program important to them?


Students must have a high school diploma or GED. They may be unemployed or underemployed and fall within federal poverty guidelines. Our students have families and are seeking a career that allows them to better provide for their family. This program provides a second chance to find a career and not “just a job.” There is a difference.


What skills will students walk away with and what jobs is it preparing them for?


Students have the opportunity to walk away with a certificate of completion and an internationally recognized certification in the information technology industry. Students are prepared for entry level IT positions such as Helpdesk support, pc repair bench technician, pc configuration and installation, etc. In the future, we will be adding additional, higher level training programs in Networking and Cyber Security. A new Mainframe Computing class began last month.


What is the most satisfying part of your job?


I absolutely love what I do. I have been in the IT industry for over 30 years and I love sharing my knowledge and experiences with the next generation to prepare them for what comes next. The best part of my job is seeing the change in peoples' lives after only 10 weeks of training! I still enjoy hearing from alumni from previous years and their continued successes and additional certifications.


Support for the Cincy’s Got Tech Talent series is provided in part by Per Scholas Cincinnati. To find out more about the next IT support A+ class starting July 2, 2018, click here.

Read more articles by Liz McEwan.

Liz McEwan is a proud wife, mama, urbanite, musician and blogger. Follow her at The Walking Green and on twitter at @thewalkinggreen.
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