- Companies in Silicon Valley are creating opportunities for adults who come from non-tech backgrounds to enter careers in technology through special apprenticeship programs, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Candidates like Lyn Muldrow, a coder from Baltimore who is now working on her dream career as a result of LinkedIn's Reach apprenticeship program, which offers mentoring and training over a six month period. Pinterest also has an apprenticeship program designed to bring more diversity to the tech sector.
- Currently, less than 5% of employees in Silicon Valley technology careers come from non-traditional backgrounds.
- According to Course Report, a website that features coding camps, around 18,000 individuals graduated from the 91 active coding bootcamps and schools in the USA as of 2016.
The demand for IT talent is still going strong. Companies that are trying to keep jobs on American soil have begun offering apprenticeship options for adults who have previously faced barriers to employment due to lack of computer science degrees. LinkedIn and Pinterest are just a couple of examples, but there are hundreds of private coding academies, boot camps, and workshops preparing people for work in technology. Women are also entering careers in technology in rapid order. According to the National Center for Women and Information Technology, 26% of the computing workforce jobs are occupied by women as of 2016. Apprenticeships can provide a fast-track for women who wish to become qualified in technology to build long-lasting careers.
There is growing evidence that apprenticeships provide one of the best returns on investment and quality of training opportunities for companies today, especially now that organizations have expanded apprenticeships to nontraditional industries. Apprenticeships have been hailed as a possible solution for white collar fields, advanced manufacturing, energy and healthcare. Earlier this year Amazon announced a partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor to create a veterans apprenticeship program supporting jobs in cloud-based tech.
The evolution of apprentice programs beyond traditional manufacturing industries present some serious opportunities for employers dealing with well-documented skills gaps. Individual employers must obviously evaluate how an apprentice-style program would meet their specific needs, but the potential provides an exciting tool for employers who can figure out how to make such programs work for them.