COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) -- Per Scholas, funded by United Way, is a program that aims to help students prepare for Information Technology careers.
And for those who get accepted it's tuition free.
Roy Sizemore knows what the program is about. He's a 2013 graduate who returned to Per Scholas located on Jefferson Avenue in Columbus.
"I was making $8.09, I was part-time and it was terrible," he said while speaking to the class.
But he said Per Scholas changed his life.
"I was in retail. Not making any money. I was always interested in technology and I found this. " he said.
Sizemore said he couldn't afford to live and raise a family on his retail salary.
Luckily, he was accepted into the program.
"We go to overlooked communities, people who are underemployed, unemployed and we get them up and running, in a career in technology, " said Lori Caliman the Director of Business Solutions at Per Scholas.
This is a 15-week course. And while there is no monetary cost, thanks to grants and services like the United Way, Caliman says students are paying into the program with determination and the drive to succeed. It's not an easy course.
"It's 15 weeks, Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. When you get home, you're watching videos. You're reading a book that's 12-hundred pages. There's zero tolerance the first week and you can't be late, " said Caliman.
Per Scholas has an 89% job placement rate and those graduating make an average of $16 to $17 on their first job, with benefits.
Sizemore is an example that the program works and can change lives.
"Live is fantastic, " Sizemore said. "I went from below the poverty line to being in the middle class. I made that transition and it's fantastic."