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.
Lauren Moore, Thrives Impact Sourcing and Per Scholas AmbassadorLauren Moore is a 2016 graduate of Per Scholas’s Software Quality Assurance Testing course, an 8-week program that teaches students the theory and techniques used for software and website quality control. She’s an enthusiastic supporter of the Per Scholas program, which put her on track for a more meaningful career than the unsatisfying and unstable employment she’d landed earlier in her career.
She tells Soapbox readers more about her experience with the Per Scholas program:
What does it mean to be a Per Scholas Ambassador?
A Per Scholas Ambassador is a rare breed because not only did we get recruited, background checked, and trained, but we were then gainfully employed. We were able to start with classroom success in Per Scholas, continue on with employment success in the world, and then receive additional training and skillset development.
How did you find Per Scholas? | How did Per Scholas find you?
When Per Scholas came into my life, I was in a lull. I was in a job that did not pay much, did not have benefits, or a lot of flexibility. I was at a health fair and Per Scholas had a booth there. There was a lady who looked at me and said, “Per Scholas changed my life.” The way she said it, it seemed very credible and it touched me. I thought: if it changed her life, it wouldn’t hurt to go by and take a look.
Initially, I thought that Per Scholas was not for me. I would not necessarily consider myself a “techie,” so I dismissed it. Instead, I took some Smart Money classes at the City Link Center [where Per Scholas’s offices are located] but about six months later I got a call from my City Link Services Coordinator to ask if I’d like to take software testing training.
Tell me about the program you completed and what skills you gained.
I was enrolled in the Software Quality Assurance Testing program. We did work both in the classroom and at a client site. We learned things like how to manually test to make sure a business’s website or app works, that it’s consistent. I can test and see if it does what it’s supposed to do. I can analyze it and try to break it and find out if it’s defective or it’s successful. There was also a sister course to the training program where we were trained in “Professionalism 101.” In our classroom, it was basically a simulated work space. The professionalism was consistently modeled for us from top to bottom from the Per Scholas staff. They carried the standard.
What are you now doing professionally?
I am an employee of Thrive Impact Sourcing. They are basically a talent incubator and one of the primary employers of Per Scholas grads. After Per Scholas does the training and graduating, Thrive contracts with local businesses and they match IT talent to the business need. Thrive employs and provides a base salary while we interact with the area businesses. Thrive is basically a springboard.
What is next for you?
My next step it to culminate the old and the new and serve with great passion. I have a heart for humanity. Going forward, I would like to match IT with humanitarian service and serve the world.
Support for the Cincy’s Got Tech Talent series is provided in part by Per Scholas Cincinnati.
The next Per Scholas Software Testing QA class starts on January 14, 2019. To apply, visit perscholas.org/cincinnati/apply and click on Apply, then Software Testing.