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Apprenti Matches Employers with Diverse, Qualified Talent to Build a Next-Generation Workforce

Tech employers often run into two issues when they’re hiring: They aren’t able to find qualified candidates to fill jobs, and their workforce typically lacks diversity. 

Apprenti, Washington state’s first registered tech apprenticeship program, is changing that. The workforce development arm of WTIA, Apprenti is focused on addressing the tech industry’s workforce and diversity needs through nationally registered apprenticeships. At its core, Apprenti leverages the apprenticeship model, once the purview of trade industries such as construction and manufacturing, to deliver a proven, reliable pipeline for underrepresented groups such as women, veterans, minorities, and persons with disabilities. 

Apprenti bridges the talent gap by bringing together tech employers and diverse people with nontraditional backgrounds, but high aptitude, through apprenticeships at some of the top companies in the world. Currently, Apprenti operates in 16 markets nationwide, and to date, has placed more than 1,100 apprentices at top companies such as Amazon, Blue Cross Blue Shield, JPMorgan Chase, Kroger, Liberty Mutual, Wayfair, and Microsoft.  

Jennifer Carlson, co-founder and executive director at Apprenti, was recently featured on EdTech Today’s podcast with Kevin Hogan from MarketScale discussing evolving technology and new ways of working, including apprenticeships in tech. She talked about the advantages of apprenticeships for tech employers and the underrepresented groups Apprenti serves — not the least of which is pairing companies in dire need of tech talent with a skilled and diverse home-grown workforce that’s been specifically trained to fill mid-skills roles such as software development, cloud administration, cyber and data analytics. 

Apprenti recruits women, veterans and underrepresented minorities from a variety of backgrounds. Some have a college degree, some don’t. Among those entering the Apprenti program, the top occupation is former military members; second is Uber drivers. 

Still others are under-employed in low-wage service and hospitality occupations. “The median wage coming into the program for people who were in the workforce before coming to us was in the high $30,000s,” Jennifer said on the podcast. In addition, 29% of Apprenti recruits are unemployed prior to entering the program.

By the time apprentices graduate — after completing 16-20 weeks of technical classroom instruction and a year of full-time, paid on-the-job training with a hiring partner — their median retained wage is in the mid-$70,000s. In this way, Apprenti provides a pathway to well-paying jobs in the tech industry, improves access to opportunities for workers who are currently underrepresented in the technology workforce, and is supporting companies building new talent for the ecosystem. 

Apprenticeships are a hybrid of competency and time-based. Those with a strong determination to complete the rigorous training are encouraged to apply. To be considered for the program, applicants must be 18 or over, have a high school diploma or equivalent and be eligible to work in the U.S., as well as pass a core competency assessment and complete a series of interviews with Apprenti and its hiring partners.

Apprenti closes the talent gap in tech by creating a holistic system that crosses state lines and industry sectors to match qualified, diverse talent with the companies that need them to thrive. “Companies are truly investing in the apprentices from day one,” Jennifer noted. “Apprenti helps shift the mindset from only consuming and poaching talent to creating and cultivating talent.”To learn more about how your organization can benefit from hiring with Apprenti, listen to Jennifer’s podcast interview here, or contact her at jcarlson@apprenticareers.org.

Author

  • Jennifer Carlson

    Jennifer Carlson serves as Executive Director of the Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA) Workforce Institute, the workforce development arm of the WTIA focused on addressing the tech industry’s workforce and diversity needs through a registered technology apprenticeship program called Apprenti. She also is an Adjunct Professor at Seattle University. Connect with her here.

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