The State of Wisconsin has a long standing tradition of developing local talent to take on middle skill jobs (requiring more than a high school education but not necessarily a college degree) across a variety of industry sectors through the Registered Apprenticeship program. In 2017, this program expanded to Information Technology (Tech) careers.
Apprenticeship is defined as a training program that combines related instruction, on the job training, and professional mentorship. Apprentices can be sourced from an incumbent workforce (ideally with relevant subject matter expertise) or from other community based programs.
Having the program “registered” ensures a high-quality implementation according to a defined set of industry standards to ensure that every apprentice can demonstrate the skills defined for each program area.
Benefits of “Tech” Apprenticeships (nationally):
- Leverages existing talent in new ways – required based on tech workforce projections
- Increases diversity of tech workforce
- Provides work based learning credentials for upward mobility
- Attracts mid-career talent with an interest in tech occupations
- Proven success in markets across the U.S.
- Higher retention in the long term
- Positive ROI in relation to other workforce strategies
Since “Tech” Apprentices are somewhat new to Wisconsin, the Coalition has parterned with an intermediary out of Seattle to expand into the greater MKE region. Apprenti is a strategic partner of TECNA and leverages a proven national infrastructure to source and select candidates in a manner that reduces bias, secures and manages related instruction providers, provides guidance on how to set up internal hiring/mentorship programs, and ensures compliance with federal/state requirements. In addition, Apprenti structures all related instruction up front to ensure that apprentices are ready to hit the ground running with their project teams. This also reduces the overall number of hours to complete the training program.
See news related to the launch of “Apprenti of Greater MKE” here:
- Kohl’s takes lead as first employer sponsor (apprentices started training on 3/1/21 and transitioned to Kohl’s on 6/7/21)
- Coalition secures $385K grant (to pass on to employers that sponsor software analyst/developer apprentices)
Employers: If you are interested in getting involved, your primary role as an apprentice sponsor is to:
- approve a training plan that aligns to a permanent position within your company,
- evaluate candidates presented to you,
- provide an opportunity wage that increases as the apprentice masters required skills,
- commit to a culture of mentorship that will help the apprentice be successful.
Please see the sample ROI to the right. This doesn’t factor in the benefits of developing mid-career, in addition to early, talent.
Based on regional workforce projections, we started with software analyst/developer roles (next cohort planned for fall 2021) but are hoping to expand into cyber, cloud and data roles with employer interest. Please contact LauraS@mketech.org for more info.
Those employers that would prefer to explore apprenticeship outside of our partnership with Apprenti are encouraged to work directly with the Wisconsin Apprenticeship team to develop a program that works for them. Please review the toolkit which provides an overview of Registered Tech Apprenticeship in WI and contact Nicholas.Abbott@dwd.wisconsin.gov for assistance. NOTE: These programs do not provide the same level of service and support to the employer and have different timelines than those developed in partnership with Apprenti.
Preparing for an Apprenticeship Program
Those who would like to be considered for an Apprenticeship are encouraged to check with their local Workforce Development Boards/Agencies (such as Employ MKE or Forward Careers) to identify employers who are willing to hire apprentices and check eligibility for supportive services and/or subsidy of related instruction costs. Securing an Apprenticeship position is highly competitive. Those seeking an apprenticeship are encouraged to consider enrolling in a pre-Apprenticeship program to prepare for the selection process. Hours spent in pre-Apprenticeship training may be eligible to bridge to Registered Apprenticeship opportunities. Programs that are “certified” have been confirmed to align to the state’s Registered Apprenticeship program.
Other Apprenticeship/Reskilling Models
There are similar programs that are not recognized by WI Apprenticeship. Workers in these programs do not earn the same work-based credentials and are not eligible for Federal/State grant funding associated with registered apprenticeship programs. That said, they do provide opportunities that might not otherwise be available. Please contact Laura Schmidt, Chief Talent Development Officer, if you would like more information.
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