America Is Getting Proactive About IT Apprenticeships

On September 10, 2017, a new Congressional bill was introduced in Senate, and this one has us really excited!

S. 1518: “To direct the Secretary of Labor to enter into contracts with industry intermediaries for purposes of promoting the development of and access to apprenticeships in the technology sector, and for other purposes,” was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

We all should be excited about its fruition, as it will work to help modernize American IT apprenticeships.

Coined the “ CHANCE in Technology Act” – which is short for the “Championing Apprenticeships for New Careers and Employees in Technology Act” – this bill gets right to the heart of the core issues we American’s face regarding skilled labor shortages suffered today¬– and forecasted for future – in the IT industry.

Rather than attempting to paraphrase the Congressional Findings, I am directly citing them, below. The findings are solid with facts that speak volumes.

SEC. 2. CONGRESSIONAL FINDINGS.

Congress finds the following:

(1) During any given 90-day period there can be more than 500,000 information technology job openings in the United States.

(2) Employment in the technology sector is growing twice as fast as employment in the United States.

(3) Jobs in the technology sector tend to provide higher pay and better benefits than other jobs and have been more resilient to economic downturn than jobs available in other private sector industries.

(4) Information technology skills are transferable across nearly all industries.

(5) Exceptional education and on-the-job training programs exist and should be scaled to meet the demands of the modern technology workforce.

(6) Adoption of existing employer-driven intermediary models, such as ApprenticeshipUSA under the Department of Labor, will help grow the information technology workforce.

(7) Career pathway education should start in high school through pathways and programs of study that align with local and regional employer needs.

(8) Preparing a student for a job in the technology sector is essential to the growth and competitiveness of the economy in the United States in the 21st century.

(9) Nearly 800,000 information technology workers will retire between 2017 and 2024.

(10) In 2016, the average salary in the information technology sector was $108,000, while the average salary among all other sectors was $53,040.

We have shared our insights on the need for IT apprenticeships as it relates to the pending 4th Industrial Revolution. This is a Revolution, much like those before, that is critical to our country. Just as in previous Revolutions, we are encountering a critical shift to keep pace with job skills. Some will completely go away, and others   do not even exist, yet. It is an exciting time, but one that must be met with action.

We have also provided a two-part case study that outlines how Microsoft UK has leveraged apprenticeships to help solve their skilled labor shortages. There is much we can learn from countries who are further along the path with these programs.

Progress can take time, but there are ways to fast-track apprenticeship adoption.

It is time for America to pick up the pace and prioritize Apprenticeship programs. And, the CHANCE in Tech Act represents a movement in that direction. The bill addresses our ability to remain competitive as a nation, accelerates our adoption of shifting trends as they unfold, and allows for economic success in our communities.

If you want to learn more about the emergence of the 21st century IT apprentice, contact us, here.