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‘Not-So-Basic’ Training - Apprenti Program Helps ‘Democratize’ Tech-Job Opportunities

Published Tuesday, June 23, 2020
‘Not-So-Basic’ Training - Apprenti Program Helps ‘Democratize’ Tech-Job Opportunities

(SEATTLE, WASHINGTON) - You don’t have to hold a Computer Science Degree from a prestigious university to land a job in The Technology Industry - you just need to have the right attitude, competencies and willingness to learn.

As the Tech Industry’s growth surges and its need for help in areas like software development rises in concert, programs that help fill that employment need are critical.

These programs include Seattle-based Apprenti, which aims not only to train Workers, but also to expand the field’s demographics by focusing, in part, on underrepresented groups, such as women, minorities, and veterans.

It’s also open to anyone from any background with the foundation to succeed, college degree or not.

The gap between the number of tech jobs available and the number of college degrees minted in computer science is huge, said Jason Johnson, Human Resources Director of Global Early Career Programs at the Microsoft Corporation.

“As ‘you especially look at more and more industries becoming digital, that gap only continues to widen,’” Johnson said. “So ‘there’s just not enough talent out there.’”

Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft is one of eight area companies that are hiring partners with Apprenti, a Registered Apprenticeship Program powered by the Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA) and run by the WTIA Workforce Institute.

It was created to address the tech talent shortage in the state.

Other area partners are Amazon, Avvo, Comtech, Silicon Mechanics, F5, Synology and the City of Seattle.

Since it launched in 2016, 85% of the 424 Apprentices registered in Washington were hired after completing their Apprenticeship.

Johnson has seen everyone from Department Store Shelf Stockers to an Oil Industry Ship Captain, Boxing Instructor and others land careers at Microsoft through Apprenti.

“The stories are ‘pretty cool,’” Johnson said. “And ‘that’s what this is all about, is trying to democratize the Tech Industry.’  ‘It doesn’t have to be people with certain degrees from certain schools - everybody should have an opportunity to work in a job that they’re passionate about.’”

The program’s Apprentices also bring diverse experiences that help Microsoft design and build products for its diverse global customer base, he said.

Microsoft is training its fourth Apprenti co-hort since its first group began in mid-2017, with each co-hort numbering about 20 people.

It converts about 70% of its Software Apprentices to full-time Employees.

Aeone Singson emerged from that first cohort to become a Software Engineer at Microsoft.

“Apprenti ‘is a life-changing ‘program,” Singson said.

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