Apprenti, a Redmond-based tech apprenticeship program, is expanding to Oregon, Michigan, California, and Ohio. The program aims to train a dedicated and often underrepresented group of people to fill the growing number of positions in the tech industry in order to ensure talent and diversity in the workplace.

“We’re seeing two big problems emerging in the tech industry,” said Jennifer Carlson, executive director of Apprenti. “Companies are having a difficult time finding the right talent to fill jobs, and diversity is sorely lacking. Apprenti changes both in a big way. By expanding our presence into four new states, not only are we training and placing more diverse talent into local tech jobs, but also creating a national model for registered apprenticeship.”

By 2022, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that there will be more than 1.3 million new computer programming and computer support specialist jobs. Those new jobs provide the perfect opportunity to increase minority representation in the field. In tech companies currently, less than 20 percent of employees are female, and less than 5 percent are Hispanic or African American. Apprenti, which was started by the Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA) in 2016, intends to close the tech talent gap by training women, people of color, and veterans so that they can secure tech-related careers.

Apprenti’s Washington state pilot program, which was launched only a year ago, has received more than 3,000 applicants and has placed 100 apprentices into tech positions, which range from web developer to IT support professional. The program’s success in such a short time illustrates the integrity of its model. The recently-announced national expansion is made possible by a $7.5 million ApprenticeShipUSA contract through the United States Department of Labor.

“The Apprenti program is a proven and reliable pathway for underrepresented groups to gain training, certifications, and job placement,” said Michele Economou Ureste, executive director at the Workforce Intelligence Network (WIN), Apprenti’s local expansion partner in Michigan. “This aligns with WIN’s ongoing efforts to help employers with workforce development solutions to close the skills gap.”

After candidates for the Apprenti program have been accepted, they receive 14–20 weeks of certified technical training, after which they are placed with one of the hiring partners for one year of full-time, paid, on-the-job training. Applicants must be 18 or over, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and be able to work in the U.S. As the program requires both competency and time commitment, applicants should also have a strong sense of determination.

Through its proven model, Apprenti is helping to provide a pathway to careers in the technology industry, especially for those who are currently under-represented in the field. Partners across the U.S. are eager to support the program’s expansion, and are looking forward to the positive impact this will make for both employers and employees in tech across the country.