- New York City hosts more than 9,000 technology startups, but there are fewer than 15 apprenticeship programs in the city that prepare workers for roles in the industry, according to a report published this month by the Center for an Urban Future (CUF), a think tank.
- CUF identified several factors behind the lack of apprenticeship expansion, including a general lack of awareness of applicable apprenticeship models among executives and team leaders in tech. Tech companies also may fail to see a way to reconcile the long-term investment of an apprenticeship with the fast-paced nature of the tech industry, which requires workers who can do the job from day one, CUF said.
- Other businesses cite New York state's apprenticeship registration process as a "major hurdle," according to CUF. The state requires that registered apprenticeship programs undergo a two-year probation period, which the group said prevents companies from adjusting programs to account for new technologies.
These programs haven't caught on among New York City tech startups despite strong investment in the model from the city and state government. New York City announced in 2018 the launch of the first part of a three-year, $5 million investment in industrial, health and tech apprenticeships. New York's state government has introduced a tax credit for apprenticeship program sponsors and also has committed $175 million to various talent development projects across the state.
But as CUF points out, most registered apprenticeship programs in New York City are with companies that operate in either building trades or manufacturing. Other states have successfully expanded apprenticeships beyond these industries. In Iowa, for example, employers like CVS Health have created programs for pharmacy technician roles. The model also has expanded elsewhere to include traditionally white-collar industries like insurance.
In its report, CUF recommended the state take steps to streamline its apprenticeship approval process. The think tank also recommended that local officials raise awareness by holding events like a tech apprenticeship summit and a tech apprenticeship challenge grant.
At the national level, employers may soon see a number of new apprenticeship efforts thanks to a U.S. Department of Labor proposal that would overhaul the federal government’s apprenticeship recognition process.