After Successful Pilot, Apprenti Expands Tech Training Program

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people. (Nationally, less than 20 percent of the tech workforce is female, less than 5 percent is people of color, and there are even fewer veterans.) So far, 88 percent of Apprenti’s placements have belonged to one of these underrepresented groups, Carlson says.

“The tech workforce is not reflective of the larger population, and the industry is acutely aware of it,” she says. “We feel we can bridge that gap by working directly with community organizations, focusing on those populations, and doing orientation sessions to explain how it works.”

In Michigan, Apprenti’s local partner is the Workforce Intelligence Network (WIN), a partnership of 10 community colleges and six Michigan Works offices in metro Detroit. Its mission is “to cultivate a comprehensive and cohesive talent system to ensure employers find the workers they need for success.”

David Palmer, WIN’s director of business partnerships, says Michiganders have a unique opportunity “to be on the front end of the convergence of automotive, IT, communications, and the Internet of Things. If we want to maintain our advantage in the automotive sector moving forward, we need to understand that the connected car will be more of a user interface than a traditional vehicle.”

Apprenti, Palmer says, could have a vital role in shifting the supply curve of the local labor market. People think of Michigan as being a bastion of manufacturing jobs, but the top workforce demand is currently software developers. On any given day, he adds, there are roughly 1,000 open IT jobs in Detroit alone, and 10,000 open statewide.

“Whether it’s a small IT shop or one with hundreds of employees, we’re ready and willing to discuss apprenticeship programs in their organization,” Palmer says. “Apprenti aligns expectations between employers and employees, and is a tremendous opportunity to lock down IT as a permanent sector in Detroit.”

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