This editorial article is a part of a part of Resilient Tech Careers Month of Technical.ly’s editorial calendar.
Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are working together to support apprenticeship programs across Pennsylvania.
The national tech apprenticeship program Apprenti is expanding into southeastern PA, Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technology (PACT) President Dean Miller announced at a National Apprenticeship Week event in Harrisburg today.
Miller and Brian Kennedy, SVP for operations and government affairs for the Pittsburgh Technology Council (PTC), traveled to the state capital to talk about the value of tech apprenticeships and make the announcement.
Apprenti partnered with PTC to bring the program, which is free for participants, to Pittsburgh in 2021, launching with a program to train software analysts and web developers. This January, Apprenti PGH expanded to include cybersecurity training.
Since launching the program, PTC has heard that many participants feel like the program is too good to be true, according to Kennedy: They don’t believe that they will really get a paying job, training and additional support because tech apprenticeships are still uncommon in the United States, he told Technical.ly.
“We’re continually seeing people advance a lot faster in the company than we initially believed, both in responsibility but also in earnings,” Kennedy said about outcomes from the program. “And we continue to hear anecdotal stories that these candidates are really among the most loyal employees that they’ve hired and usually top performers as well.”
— PaSenateDems (@PaSenateDems) November 14, 2023
Apprenti PGH is now expanding further to include business analyst training, because PTC has been hearing from companies that they can’t find enough people to fill business analyst roles, Kennedy said. The first cohort is expected to start in January with at least 12 apprentices.
PACT is leading the charge for Apprenti PHL and registered the program with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania about a month ago, Miller said. The apprenticeship organization is working with PACT’s employer members to prepare to launch the first cohort for software developers in the first quarter of 2024.
PACT is also reaching out to organizations that could connect with potential apprentices to spread information about the program. Workforce and career development pro Erika Shearlds-Hill is the director of Apprenti PHL at PACT.
“The critical aspect of Apprenti is that it really focuses on underrepresented individuals, persons of color, women, veterans, persons with disabilities that have not been given the opportunity to achieve a four-year STEM degree,” Miller said, “and it gives them a pathway to those same jobs and those same salaries.”
(When asked in a follow-up email about how Apprenti is funded, the PACT president told Technical.ly: “The program is funded by our respective organizations with sources that include grants, employer placement fees, etc.”)
Going forward, the two tech councils plan to work together by connecting each other with employers who have a presence in the other region. Both Miller and Kennedy serve on the board of the Technology Councils of North America, aka TECNA.
“We come together around this program, we’ll come together around other legislative matters,” Miller said. “We also share best practices and ideas, as Brian shared, sitting both on the national technology organization. It really just helps spur conversation.”Sarah Huffman is a 2022-2023 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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