The professional workforce of the future will be made up of not only college grads, but also workers who gain experience through hands-on skills training programs like apprenticeships.
Often thought of as a staple of trade careers, apprenticeship programs are becoming increasingly important for companies looking for new talent in STEM, too. They give participants industry-level experience and sometimes offer certifications. By teaching skills that would otherwise involve cost-prohibitive measures like attending college, apprenticeships are building pathways for people from nontraditional backgrounds into tech jobs.
Aon and Accenture, two global professional services corporations with a local presence, last week launched the Philadelphia Apprentice Network (PAN). Modeled after their cofounded Chicago Apprenticeship Network, the goal of the network is to convene local employers to share ideas on apprenticeship programs with their peers in business, education and government.
Other program partners include Philadelphia Works, Montgomery College, Community College of Philadelphia, Merck and Chubb. PhilaWorks and CCP are also partners on Aon’s own apprenticeship program that will train future business analysts.
PAN employers may operate their respective apprenticeship programs differently from one another while sharing best practices. For instance, Aon’s program works with apprentices beginning their associate’s degree education and will pay for apprentices’ tuition, fee and books, while Accenture’s program will specifically recruit individuals with associate’s degrees.
The network’s goal by 2025 is to create 500 new apprenticeship opportunities in Philadelphia by working with local employers, business organizations and upskilling partners. More details are coming soon about how such orgs can get involved in PAN.Michael Butler is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.
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