Ralph C. Wilson Foundation Awards WIN $1.5 Million to Fund Apprentice Training Through Apprenti, Nation’s First Registered Tech Apprenticeship Program

Nationally Recognized Program Attracts, Trains, and Places Diverse Talent into Tech Roles

Today, the Workforce Intelligence Network for Southeast Michigan (WIN) announced $1.5 million in funding from the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation to cover training costs for the first 100 apprentices accepted into the Apprenti program over the next three years. The funding will cover the intensive, front-end training associated with Apprenti, the nation’s first registered tech apprenticeship program that recruits, trains, and places women, veterans, and people of color into tech roles.

“Information technology skills building is increasingly important to employers across industries in Michigan,” said Michele Economou Ureste, executive director at WIN. “Apprenti provides a proven and reliable pathway for traditionally underrepresented populations to gain training, certifications, and job placement. This aligns with WIN’s ongoing efforts to help employers with workforce development solutions to close skills gaps widely recognized across the region.”

Apprenti, which was started in Seattle by the Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA) in 2016, launched in Detroit late last year as part of its national expansion. Nationally, the program has received nearly 6,000 applications and placed over 200 apprentices into tech positions. Apprenti’s national employer partners include Amazon, Microsoft, Avvo, Comtech, F5 Networks, Accenture, and Silicon Mechanics, where apprentices earn an average salary of $51,000. The jobs include web developer, software developer, network security administrator, systems administrator, cloud support specialist, data center technician and IT support professional.

“Our country’s tech industry has two big problems: we don’t have enough talent to fill jobs, and there’s very little diversity. Through Apprenti, our goal is to solve both challenges,” said Jennifer Carlson, executive director of Apprenti. “Today’s funding announcement ensures that our apprentices in southeast Michigan get the training they need without having to pay a dime.”

There were over 87,000 IT job postings in Michigan in 2017, and finding qualified talent remains the top challenge facing the growing technology sector in the state. To address this workforce issue in southeast Michigan, WIN has become an affiliate partner with Apprenti to bring the nationally recognized platform, supported by the U.S. Department of Labor, to the state. Apprenti fills a critical role by closing the tech talent gap and providing opportunities for underrepresented groups to secure careers in tech.

According to WIN’s interactive, web-based Return on Investment (ROI) calculator, for every dollar invested in an information technology apprentice, employers receive on average $9.44 in return on investment for an apprentice. This translates into more than $40,000 saved in year one of the apprenticeship. In addition, the occupations developed for apprenticeship through the Apprenti program are in demand across all industries. In 2017, there were over 13,000 job postings for software developers in advanced manufacturing, with similar numbers in both the healthcare and financial industries in southeast Michigan. WIN is currently in discussions with employers from all three of those industries to make apprenticeships a part of their long-term talent strategies.

The partnership with Apprenti is part of WIN’s apprenticeship expansion strategy through the Advance Michigan Center for Apprenticeship Innovation (AMCAI). AMCAI is a $4 million American Apprenticeship Initiative (AAI) grant through the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration with the goal of expanding registered apprenticeship opportunities through statewide innovation. AMCAI covers 30 counties in southeast Michigan and is comprised of seven community colleges in the region — Henry Ford College, Jackson College, Lansing Community College, Mid-Michigan Community College, Oakland Community College, Schoolcraft College, and St. Clair County Community College — along with many local and regional corporate and workforce and economic development partners, including the Michigan Works! Agencies.

WIN is also working with Ann Arbor SPARK and Michigan Works! Southeast to establish a pilot program in Washtenaw County. Employer partnerships are currently in development, and WIN hopes to start a cohort this summer.

For more information about Apprenti in Southeast Michigan – including how to apply – please visit ApprentiCareers.org or contact John Sullivan at john.sullivan@winintelligence.org or by calling (313) 580-6548.


ABOUT WORKFORCE INTELLIGENCE NETWORK FOR SOUTHEAST MICHIGAN (WIN)
The mission of the Workforce Intelligence Network for Southeast Michigan (WIN) is to help cultivate a cohesive talent system by facilitating data-driven workforce solutions to ensure responsiveness to changing labor market demands. WIN is a partnership of 10 community colleges and 6 Michigan Works! Agencies in southeast Michigan. WIN’s mission is to cultivate a comprehensive and cohesive talent system to ensure employers find the workers they need for success. WIN specializes in fostering collaboration among talent partners, including workforce development, community colleges, four-year post-secondary institutions, K-12 schools, economic development organizations, government, community based organizations, employers, and others.

ABOUT APPRENTI
Apprenti is a registered apprenticeship program powered by the Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA). Apprenti trains future tech workers with an emphasis on underrepresented groups including women, minorities and veterans. Apprenti is an industry recognized, state and federally accredited program. Apprentices receive two to five months of full-time, industry recognized training before beginning one-year of paid on-the-job training with one of the program’s hiring partners. The program is partially funded through a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) ApprenticeshipUSA contract and a grant from the American Apprenticeship Initiative (AAI), with support from the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I), and JP Morgan Chase. For more information on how to apply, donate or become a hiring partner, please visit www.ApprentiCareers.org.