Apprenticeship and Internships: Why Employers Should Consider Both as a Means to Strategic Workforce Development
Employers often ask, what is the difference between an internship and a registered apprenticeship, and…
In 2020, workers across Washington state have been heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, with many losing their jobs or working reduced hours. In April, more than 645,000 Washingtonians were out of work, and the state’s unemployment rate reached a high of 16.3%. As of October, the picture had improved — the state’s unemployment rate stood at 6.0%, slightly less than the national average of 6.9%.
Nonetheless, there are still thousands of unemployed or underemployed workers in Washington who are in need of jobs or career retraining. Hospitality, retail and leisure employees are among those most widely impacted, and they are made up predominantly of women and people of color. Historically, these groups have been underrepresented in STEM occupations.
There is a new bright spot for workers in Snohomish County whose jobs have been impacted by the pandemic. Thanks to a new partnership with Apprenti, Washington’s first registered apprenticeship program powered by Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA) and run by the WTIA Workforce Institute, these displaced workers will receive free training to pursue careers in high-demand occupations in the tech industry. Called the Tech Training Academy, the partnership will also help match dislocated workers to businesses in need of talent.
Specifically, Apprenti will deliver pre-apprenticeship training to workers who are currently unemployed or underemployed due to the pandemic that will prepare them for high-wage software development jobs at small, medium and large technology companies. The Tech Training Academy will serve at least 25 Snohomish County residents who are over 18, with an emphasis on underrepresented groups in the tech sector, including women, veterans and people of color.
The partnership provides a crucial opportunity to help educate and train the next generation of diverse employees for roles at some of Washington’s largest tech companies. Some Tech Training Academy graduates may be hired locally as apprentices and employed with tech companies in Snohomish County and throughout the greater Seattle area. However, that isn’t their only option. The program opens doors for these workers to obtain remote work with tech employers all across the country — opportunities they likely would not have had otherwise.
These opportunities exist because growing numbers of employers, particularly in the tech sector, are embracing the virtual work model in the wake of the pandemic. Dropbox, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Zillow are among the tech giants that recently announced plans to allow employees to work from home permanently. So, with more employees able to do their jobs remotely, it’s no longer necessary for them to live and work in the same towns and cities as their employers.
In addition, Apprenti has relationships with employers in 16 U.S. markets. So conceivably, an employee living in Everett, for example, could end up working for an employer based in Dallas. That opens up a world — or rather, a nation — of opportunity for graduates of the Tech Training Academy.
Earlier this year, Apprenti was awarded a $7.5 million dollar, five-year contract from the U.S. Department of Labor to support its efforts to fill tech roles with diverse talent. Apprenti offers a proven, reliable pipeline for underrepresented groups, bridging the talent gap and giving diverse talent with non-traditional backgrounds the opportunity to apprentice at some of the top companies in the world.
To date, Apprenti has placed more than 1,000 apprentices nationwide at top companies including Microsoft, Wayfair, and JPMorgan Chase. More than 80 percent of these apprentices have been retained or hired post-apprenticeship with significantly higher salaries than previous employment. For example, apprentices in Washington state earn an average salary of $87,209 in their first year after graduation, which is a 114% increase based on their income prior to the program.
“This is a life-changing career transformation for these apprentices, and a win for tech organizations nationwide,” said Michael Schutzler, CEO, WTIA. “The Tech Training Academy gives these workers a pathway to tech jobs that they did not have access to before. And tech organizations still have an intense hunger for talent, despite the pandemic. If we create talent, they will get hired. These employers need them.”
As we look ahead to new employment landscapes in 2021, Apprenti tech apprenticeship programs like this are critical to meet the growing demand for tech workers across the state.To learn more about the Tech Training Academy and how Apprenti can assist your organization in building a readily available pipeline of quality tech talent, visit www.apprenticareers.org, or contact Jennifer Carlson, Co-Founder, Executive Director, WTIA Workforce Institute & Apprenti at firstname.lastname@example.org.