Apprenticeships: The Future of Work?

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Last year MassTLC joined in welcoming Apprenti, a non-profit that recruits and trains untapped talent as registered apprentices for your in-demand IT related roles. We believe that organizations such as Apprenti will be a catalyst to continue to build a strong tech talent pipeline. Jim Chilton, CIO of EdTech leader Cengage, agrees. Read his post below to learn why he supports the apprenticeship model.
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For decades, the traditional education path for many was set: graduate high school and attend college, where you’d gain the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in the workforce. However, in recent years we’ve seen this path questioned. Today’s workforce needs are evolving rapidly, with some proclaiming a skills crisis. In addition, students are facing a mounting barrier as the cost of higher education continues to rise.

It can be challenging for college degree programs to keep pace with the evolving needs of the workforce. Furthermore, individuals who are looking to switch careers or re-enter the workforce often do not have the time or financial resources to begin a new degree.

That’s why it’s important to explore other avenues of learning, training and development that fall outside the confines of a traditional degree program. And one of the best ways we can address the skills crisis in America is by creating opportunity for a more diverse talent pool. As the popular quote from Leila Janah goes, “talent is equally distributed, opportunity is not.”

This was a driving reason why, when I heard about the Apprenti program – which provides a proven, reliable pipeline for underrepresented groups such as people of color, women and veterans to gain training, certification and placement within the talent-hungry tech industry helps underrepresented groups gain training, certification and placement in the tech industry – I knew I wanted to be involved in bringing this program to Massachusetts – which is why I signed on to be an advisory board member. I also wanted to  and make it part of the hiring process at my company, Cengage. Apprenticeships allow students to learn by doing – which can be invaluable for a broad range of learners. They can provide opportunity to individuals who are looking to break into a field and might not have experienced the typical higher ed journey.

Our inaugural class at Cengage couldn’t be more different — from a mother returning to the workforce after time off raising her family, to a recent college-graduate struggling to navigate how best to apply his degree to the types of jobs that interest him. Apprenticeships can also serve to bridge the gap many college graduates today experience in transitioning from college to the workforce.

On the flip side of the coin, apprenticeships are a hugely valuable investment for companies, as they can help employers fill high demand roles. Our tech organization at Cengage has experienced this firsthand, as vying for tech talent in major hubs like Boston is challenging. With apprenticeships, companies are creating a mutually beneficial relationship. A 2018 Workplace Learning Report by LinkedIn found that 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career. With apprenticeship programs, companies create their own funnel of talent, where they can tailor employees to specific skillsets that directly relate to a job. And that cycle doesn’t end with the apprentice, because their managers now have a unique experience and learning opportunity of their own that did not exist before.

To learn more about Apprenti and registered apprenticeships, contact Lauren Jones, Massachusetts Director, Apprenti: lauren@apprenticareers.org