i3 | March 26, 2019

You’re Hired! CTA Encourages Tech Companies to Offer Apprenticeships

Jennifer Taylor

A fascinating trend is evolving — the number of national apprentices is experiencing exciting growth. It began in 1937 when Congress enacted the National Apprenticeship Act and by the mid-1940s, the nation was educating and training 4,000 apprentices. Today, we have more than 530,000 active apprentices — a 42 percent increase since 2013. That number is rising due to demand for highskilled workers, rising costs of higher education, and acknowledgment from businesses as well as state and federal governments that additional educational pathways must be available to high school graduates and people looking to restart their career or re-enter the workforce.

The rise of the digital economy is creating millions of new jobs. However, of the top 30 apprentice occupation titles and 15 industry titles in 2017, none are in digital fields born out of the growing economy such as software engineering, networking, data analytics, cybersecurity or artificial intelligence. The nation has plenty of room to add apprenticeships as an educational pathway. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, some 30 percent of high school graduates do not pursue higher education and 40 percent of college enrollees don’t complete their degree within six years. These are ideal candidates for an apprenticeship.

And while the tech industry has not relied on apprenticeships as a talent solution in the past, companies such as Amazon, IBM and Microsoft are now building their own apprenticeship programs in-house — an “earn and learn” model — to fill high-demand jobs. These companies offer apprenticeships to help fill their talent pipelines with skilled, loyal and diverse workers.

CTA saw an exciting opportunity to bring tech leaders together to help build apprenticeship programs to address the nation’s skills gap. At CES 2019, CTA and IBM announced the CTA Apprenticeship Coalition, to leverage IBM’s successful apprenticeship program and help members create thousands of new apprenticeships in more than 20 U.S. states. More than 18 coalition members — including Bosch, Postmates, SoftBank Robotics, Sprint, Toyota and Walmart — are either expanding their existing apprenticeship programs or creating new ones.

Building an apprenticeship program requires significant time and resources. To help

expedite the process and set companies up for success, all coalition members will have access to IBM’s own apprenticeship program and receive orientation guides, participate in IBM’s Design Thinking Workshops to ideate a future workforce state, and have access to more than 20 different apprenticeship frameworks for careers in fastgrowing fields including software engineering, data analytics, mechatronics, creative design and program management.

In less than 20 years, the nation will mark the 100th anniversary of its national apprenticeship program. And as the workforce adapts and develops with technology, the nation should continue to strive for greater availability and adoption of IT-related apprenticeships, resulting in more Americans hearing the words, “You’re hired!”

The CTA Apprenticeship Coalition is open for all CTA member companies.

Visit CTA.tech/apprenticeship to sign up or learn more

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