Article | July 26, 2019

How CTA’s Apprenticeship Coalition Helped Bosch Grow Its Workforce in One Week

Jackie Black

Last week, employees at Bosch’s North American headquarters in metro Detroit gathered to celebrate a milestone for their new apprenticeship program: the company submitted its final application to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to register its software engineering apprentice standard. Here’s what went into the process.

Bosch had an existing apprenticeship program in manufacturing, but the company’s shift to IoT and other new technologies created new demand for employees with tech skills. Charlie Ackerman, Bosch’s senior vice president of human resources, needed to hire software engineers but knew it would be difficult to fill these vacant positions. Then in March, Ackerman found the resources he needed from the CTA Apprenticeship Coalition’s first meeting. To guide Bosch through the process, Ackerman took inspiration from the how-to playbooks and occupational frameworks IBM used to create its own apprenticeship program in 2017 – resources available to all Coalition members.

Bosch’s leadership moved quickly to mobilize an internal team, while employees from human resources and engineering came together to think through the needs of the software engineering role. They decided program details such as:

  • The skills needed for the apprentice to demonstrate they’ve learned a new competency;
  • The criteria for supervisors to evaluate the apprentice; and
  • The apprentice will receive their related technical instruction through an online program.

In July, Bosch’s internal team of HR and engineering employees completed a weeklong scrum, an agile process detailed in one of the coalition’s playbooks from IBM, to finalize the software engineer apprentice framework and file it with the DOL. While this process can take other companies a few months to complete, the tools Bosch had allowed them to quickly hit daily goals for building the framework.

Now Bosch is planning the next phase: recruiting and hiring apprentices.

Bosch and other members of the CTA Apprenticeship Coalition are building their talent internally to create a more skilled, loyal and diverse workforce.