For companies that don’t have the resources to launch their own homegrown apprenticeship programs or corporate universities, there are many community and government organizations that can help. “You don’t need to build your program from scratch,” said Angela Hanks, director of the workforce development policy center for the Center for American Progress. “There are resources out there to help you get started.”
In 2015 former President Barack Obama awarded $175 million in apprenticeship grants, and President Donald Trump has continued the program, including specific funds for tech apprenticeship programs, said Hanks. Companies can access these funds through partnerships with community colleges and organizations targeting people facing barriers to employment.
There are also a new crop of nonprofit organizations, like LaunchCode, a nonprofit technology training and apprenticeship company, that provide free software development training, then match candidates with local businesses who hire graduates as apprentices and provide continued on-the-job training.
“Apprentices can be a great fit for a business, especially if someone is going through a career shift,” said Chris Bay, vice president of education for LaunchCode. “They know how to work and often have intimate knowledge of a specific field, they just need support to develop new skills.”
Such partnerships can be a good fit for small and midsized firms that aren’t sure how to select or train nontraditional candidates but want to expand their hiring and are willing to mentor them into a role. “You can’t expect full productivity from day one,” Bay said. “But you can expect an apprentice to work hard and to demonstrate a willingness to learn every day.”
This story was originally published as a sidebar to the story “Fill Your Own Tech Talent Pool.”