Plinio Ayala

President & CEO, Per Scholas

Plinio Ayala was born and raised in the South Bronx, just as it grew into a national emblem for urban poverty and disinvestment. His experience instilled a lifelong passion for creating economic opportunity. Shortly after graduating from Wesleyan University with a degree in American Studies, he devoted his career to building “win-win” solutions to social and economic problems, first at Jobs for Youth, and then at SoBro.

In 2003, Plinio became President and CEO of Per Scholas and has since been instrumental in all the organization’s achievements – from evolving its original mission, which was to bridge the digital divide by refurbishing end-of-life computer equipment – to leading its accelerating national growth. In the process, he has incubated strong organizational capacities to respond to changing market conditions, pursue entrepreneurial opportunities, and embrace rigorous measurements of impact. Under Plinio’s leadership, Per Scholas became a recipient of Lever for Change’s $10 million Economic Opportunity Challenge.

Plinio sits on the boards of the Workforce Professional Training Institute, Economic Mobility Partners, SoBro, and the New York State Workforce Recovery Strategy committee. He also has received numerous honors, including the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Community Leader Award in 2019, Newscorp’s Murdoch Community Hero Award in 2018, and the Hispanic Community Leader of the Year by Crain’s New York in 2016.