NEWARK, NJ - A national tech training nonprofit is setting up shop in Newark and plans to train and help place about 130 Newark residents in jobs over the next three years. 

Per Scholas, which has six other locations in the country, will open classrooms in the historic New Jersey Bell Building at 540 Broad St. Training for the program will be free and courses will run three to four months.

“Newark is experiencing an explosion of technology companies choosing to locate here,” said Newark Mayor Ras Baraka in a statement. “One of our highest priorities is to ensure that Newark residents benefit from the city’s accelerating development, investment and job growth. The decision by Per Scholas to come to Newark is both a confirmation of Newark’s technology leadership and a boost to our goal of preparing residents for well-paying tech jobs.”

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Newark is one of 20 contenders for Amazon’s newest headquarters, colloquially known as HQ2. The corporate giant said it would create up to 50,00 jobs with an average salary of $100,000.

The nonprofit plans to place more than 200 graduates in tech roles over the next three years while enrolling about 100 students per year.  

“We’ve learned that Newark’s assets are incredible – among them, robust fiber infrastructure, a vibrant and growing tech ecosystem, and a shared educational, nonprofit and corporate commitment to economic inclusion,” said Per Scholas President & CEO Plinio Ayala in a statement. “My Per Scholas colleagues and I are deeply grateful for the input and support leading up to this moment, and are honored to have Per Scholas join the Newark community as a neighbor and partner."

Per Scholas Newark gets financial support from companies like Barclays, Prudential Financial and the PSEG Foundation. All three companies praised Per Scholas and its decision to open a new location in Newark.

Gov. Phil Murphy also praised the nonprofit for setting its sights on Newark.

“Their work aligns closely with my Administration’s focus on demand-driven training for high-growth fields like Information Technology, and our goal of creating the most inclusive innovation economy possible,” Murphy said in a statement. “I applaud Mayor Baraka, the City of Newark, and Per Scholas’ employer partners for investing in New Jersey’s graduates and championing a program that will provide good-paying jobs for our residents.”

While construction at the historic Bell Building is still underway, future Per Scholas’ space will feature state-of-the-art technical classrooms with 20 workstations each and a kitchen.

Per Scholas Newark will align closely with the mayor’s  Newark 2020 initiative, which aims to connect 2,020 unemployed Newark residents to work by 2020.  

Per Scholas will also offer career coaching, two years of alumni follow-up and job placement support.

Applications are now open for the first information technology support class which begins in January. Admissions will be conducted on a rolling basis for classes throughout the year. To apply for the free technical training, visit www.perscholas.org/newark.

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