SEATTLE, Sept. 9, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA), Washington state's unifying voice for the technology community, set a new industry standard today with the creation of the first-of-its-kind program to recruit, train, and place 600 registered apprentices over the next 5 years. Using federal and private investments from the American Apprenticeship Initiative (AAI) of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Washington State Department of Labor and Industry (L&I), Microsoft, and JP Morgan Chase; the WTIA's Registered Apprenticeship Program will deliver much needed skilled workers to the state's high-demand tech sector.
"Washington will be the first state to create an apprenticeship standard for the high-demand tech sector, which is a critical step towards bridging the current tech-talent gap we face, empowering us to build a stronger homegrown workforce representative of the diversity in our state," said Michael Schutzler, CEO of the WTIA.
Washington state is the top recruiter of tech talent in the country. Each year the state's tech industry adds 3500 new jobs that require a Computer Science degree, but generates only 500 new graduates to fill them. At the same time, the industry is leaving untapped talent on the table. Less than twenty percent of the tech workforce is female, less than one percent are Hispanic or African American, and there are an even smaller number of veterans.
In response, the WTIA launched this industry backed program to build the best possible homegrown candidate pool by emphasizing diversity and assisting those under represented in the tech sector in successfully entering this high wage, rapid growth industry. To find new talent, the association will turn to partnerships with programs at Joint Base Lewis McCord, Goodwill, and others to identify apprenticeship candidates.
"The employment needs of Washington's tech sector are in alignment with existing skills possessed by a segment of our underserved population," said Daryl Campbell, CEO & President of Seattle Goodwill. "Apprenticeships create inroads for those individuals to access sustainable wage jobs, achieve self-sufficiency, and grow their careers."
Candidates must pass a tech skills assessment to determine their skill level matched to tech industry roles, including their ability to learn computer science fundamentals through a series of questions and equations. Once a candidate is accepted into the program, they'll receive 3 to 4 months of pre-apprenticeship training in one of many industry recognized certificate programs such as Microsoft MCSE or CISCO, IT Security, and others.
The curriculum and general approach was developed by Microsoft to help transitioning service members and veterans compete for jobs in the technology sector. That program, the Microsoft Software & Systems Academy, operates in three states, including Washington.
"Our curriculum was developed to meet the needs of both the technology industry, which faces a shortage of trained professionals, and those who want to enter our field but are not presently in the pipeline," said Microsoft's Thomas Dawkins, Sr. Education Business Manager. "We're thrilled to see our education resources, like the Microsoft Virtual Academy, be used by the WTIA in a new and exciting way that expands its reach."
Participants who complete training enter a one-year apprenticeship in a full-time, paid, entry-level position with one of the WTIA's hiring partner tech companies, which include Accenture, F5, Impinj, Internet ID, Microsoft and the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners to name a few. Afterwards they're eligible for a full-time position.
"This apprenticeship program delivers a new path towards inclusion through on-the-job training, while providing companies like F5 with a sustainable workforce development program to meet our ever-growing need for qualified talent," said Karl Triebes, CTO and EVP of Product Development at F5 Networks.
For more information about the WTIA's Registered Apprenticeship Program, including how to become a hiring partner, please visit: http://washingtontechnology.org/workforce/.
About Washington Technology Industry Association
Founded in 1984, the WTIA is the unifying voice for 8,500 technology companies and 250,000 tech professionals in Washington. We inform and motivate industry, education and government leaders to help attract and develop the talent and capital required to make our region the leading technology community in the world. For more information visit: http://www.washingtontechnology.org.
SOURCE Washington Technology Industry Association