Washington state Apprenti program sets national standard for tech apprenticeships

Earlier this week, the Washington Technology Industry Association announced that the U.S. Department of Labor awarded its registered tech apprenticeship program, Apprenti, a $7.5 million ApprenticeshipUSA contract. The grant comes as part of the federal government’s $20.4 million apprenticeship investment, a historic measure that will support the growth of apprenticeship opportunities in the tech industry.

Apprenti

Apprenti aims to fill jobs and diversify the tech industry through hands-on apprenticeship opportunities. Photo courtesy Apprenti via Facebook.

In an effort to take the program nationwide, Apprenti plans to form a National Registered Tech Apprenticeship Committee with leaders from some of the country’s top tech companies. The committee will be responsible for keeping Apprenti informed of in-demand tech jobs across the country.

With many of the country’s largest tech companies headquartered on the Eastside, Apprenti will help fill local vacancies.

According to Apprenti’s website, there are more than 8,000 tech job openings in Washington state alone, and even more waiting to be filled nationwide. With modern businesses across all sectors requiring people with technology skills, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects to see a spike of more than 1.3 million new computer programming and computer support specialist jobs by 2022.

Individuals who go through the Apprenti program receive two to four months certified tech training followed by one year of full-time, paid, on-the-job experience with one of Apprenti’s partner companies, which include Microsoft, F5 Networks, and Accenture.

While anyone is eligible to apply to Apprenti, a major hallmark of the program is that it aims to diversify the tech industry by actively recruiting women, minorities, and veterans. Currently, less than 20 percent of tech industry workers are women, less than 3 percent are Hispanic or African American, and even fewer are veterans.

“Washington state’s diverse economy is built on innovation and continues to be a hub for the rapidly growing national and global technology ecosystem,” Gov. Jay Inslee said in a recent press release. “We’re proud to be leading the charge to ensure that Americans will have the skills and access that they need to succeed in a 21st century economy, while delivering our companies the talent they need to grow and thrive.”

Apprenti is designed to help employers find the talent their companies need while simultaneously diversifying the tech sector.

Tech companies are encouraged to get involved with Apprenti by communicating their hiring needs and sharing information regarding which programs can best deliver the talent they seek.