Blog Post: Fans of IBM zSystems Hub

Event: IBM Z ® Apprenticeships for the Military Community

Event: IBM Z ® Apprenticeships for the Military Community

This is an excerpt of blog published on the Fans of IBM zSystems Hub to promote a Franklin event that IBM is sponsoring for the Military Community on June 29, 2022, at 12:30 EST. Register for the event here. 

By: Tim Fry, Success Coach and Military Community Outreach Manager, Franklin Apprenticeships

“As a 17-year combat veteran of the United States Airforce, I speak from firsthand experience when I say that the transition from the military to civilian life is one of the toughest challenges that men and women who serve our country will ever face.

The career paths in the military don’t always neatly translate to civilian life and the idea of starting over and learning a new field or pursuing a college degree can be daunting. For military dependents and spouses, it’s equally challenging. Unfortunately, many employers don’t want to hire someone who is going to be relocated every few years or who has the pressure of family commitments due to military deployments.

Over the past 18-months of being involved in the IBM Z® US Apprenticeship Accelerator program as part of the delivery team at Franklin Apprenticeships, I’ve had the opportunity to coach and support dozens of members of the military community – from veterans, transitioning service members and reservists to military spouses and dependents. In fact, one in five of the students that have been hired into IBM Z Apprenticeships are veterans. They have used the IBM Z Apprenticeship program to translate their military-learned skills and excel in a civilian career, while earning certifications.”

Read more on the Fans of IBM zSystems Hub. 

Register for the event here.

Sharing Insight from the U.S. and U.K.

Exploring Age Diversity In Apprenticeships

Exploring Age Diversity In Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships provide an excellent opportunity for individuals of all ages to explore new careers through an alternative path. Individuals who seek a new career path may lack the time and resources to pursue a college degree as a full-time or even part-time student due to familial and financial responsibilities. Apprenticeship programs that offer an “earn while you learn” approach helps apprentices avoid taking on debt but still gain the necessary skills to pursue their dream career.

Franklin Apprenticeships and the City & Guilds Group recently hosted a roundtable with both apprentices and employers from the U. S. and U.K. who are committed to breaking generational barriers.

Apprentices offered excellent insight from their experiences with generational differences in their apprenticeship programs, while employers explained the benefits of an age-diverse apprenticeship program.

Sharing Insight from the U.S. and U.K.

Building Gender Diversity through Apprenticeships

Building Gender Diversity through Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are an excellent opportunity to build gender diversity in a company’s early career pipeline. By providing a route to professional careers that does not rely on a degree, earn-and-learn apprenticeship programs are more accessible to people from all walks of life – and can be a powerful way for a company to improve gender diversity.

Franklin Apprenticeships and the City & Guilds Group recently hosted a round table with top apprenticeship employers in the U.S. and U.K. exploring how they have built gender diversity through their apprenticeship programs.

The participants included representatives from Siemens, T-Mobile, NatWest and The Urban Institute. They offered excellent insight into how to not only recruit apprentices to improve gender diversity within a team, but how to make sure they grow and develop their careers within your company.

Check out our highlight reel from the event and our infographic of five ideas we learned to attract and retain gender diverse apprentices. For a full event run-down, read more on City & Guilds’ website.

Getting Diversity Right: A New Approach

Getting Diversity Right: A New Approach

In a recent survey by the Consumer Technology Association, the vast majority of organizations expressed a goal of “greater diversity and inclusion.” Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts have been a high priority for most organizations, and never more than in the wake of the widespread social activism that marked 2020.

Yet a recent article in Fast Company states, “What has become clear is that many companies still have no idea what they’re doing when it comes to addressing DEI.” Why? There’s certainly more than one reason, but we think much of the shortfall has to do with the old saying about doing the same things and expecting a different result.

If your organization is seeking diversity but recruiting from the same sources you’ve always used, you’re unlikely to be successful. More and more candidates of varied backgrounds are seeking alternative paths to success, rejecting the traditional four-year college path and all its debt. So if your first instruction to a recruiter is to limit applicants for technology roles to those with a Bachelor’s Degree, you’re missing a huge and untapped pool of talent.

Similarly, those recruiting instructions might include a certain level of experience. That’s more than fair, but brings problems of its own: new hires bring bad habits with them from a previous job, their skills may have been overstated, and they tend to jump ship at the first opportunity when offered a few more dollars elsewhere. And the cycle repeats.

Think for a moment about the longer-term strategy of screening candidates for potential, not credentials. This is the foundation of the modern apprenticeship movement, and there are solid reasons for that. Organizations get candidates who can be molded to perform their duties in a way that meshes with the company culture from Day One. They work at a discount while they learn, and they’re remarkably loyal to the companies that share their journeys.

And yes, apprenticeships solve the DEI challenge as well, with a pool of candidates that’s far more diverse than traditional recruiting sources, and women represented at a rate nearly one-third higher than the industry average.

A new approach like this requires an organization to think and behave differently, and that can be intimidating. But we have seen over and over again that the apprenticeship model does far more than check the DEI boxes. Apprenticeship change organizations – and lives – for the better.

Ready to learn more about an apprenticeship program for your organization? Contact Franklin Apprenticeships.

How Apprenticeships Help the IT Industry Attract and Retain Female Talent

Where Have All the Women Gone?

Where Have All the Women Gone?

How Apprenticeships Help the IT Industry Attract and Retain Female Talent

For a growing number of women, the tech industry is losing its charm – even though it is one of the highest paying growth industries in America.  More than half the US workforce is women, but only 20% of tech jobs are held by women. And, that number continues to decline. How can the IT industry attract and retain female talent?

Why do we have this growing gender gap? A recent smallbiztrends.com infographic offers insight into the question: Where have all the women gone?

Experts believe that women participate in growth industries when career opportunities & personal interests, economic security & advancement, and financial compensation align. Let’s explore, briefly:

  • Career Opportunities/Personal Interest:

Several factors prevent women from pursuing a tech career. Eleven-year-old girls, once interested in tech careers, soon lose interest.  Experts say lack of female mentors and gender inequality are partially to blame.  And, perhaps unintentionally, many tech companies exercise gender bias and foster a culture that fails to encourage women to consider a career in tech.

  • Economic Security/Advancement:

 NCWIT’s 2016 report on Women in Tech found women are twice as likely to quit their jobs in the high-tech industry. Data suggests that women in the technology industry face more issues of…“ gender inequality compared to the overall population of women in the workforce (and even compared to women who simply work in the technology industry, but who work in non-technical roles such as sales, PR, marketing, and finance, for example).”

  • Financial compensation:

Women who pursue high-paying IT jobs earn less than men. In the United States, women in computer, engineering, and science occupations were paid an estimated 79.2% of men’s annual median earnings in 2016.

Apprenticeships – A Solution Armed to Answer Crititcal US Workforce Issues

As discussed in our post The Growing Technological Skills Gap in the Wake of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the global shortage in IT talent has jumped from seventh to second position, with nearly 600,000 IT openings in the US alone. As technological disruption advances, this gap will continue to widen. Yet, given that women today hold a lower share of IT positions than they did in 1980, how can IT companies work to attract and retain female talent to help fill the gap? One approach is to address workforce gender diversity issues and increase the number of women willing, interested, and able to enter the industry.

Apprenticeship programs are built to tackle all issues concerning women’s attraction to the IT industry. Yet, recent studies indicate that US apprenticeship programs, overall, lack diversity. While companies often point to diversity as a goal of the programs, the overall picture shows that women make up a small share of apprentices nationwide (7.3% in 2017). And, sadly, studies also indicate that wage discrimination is bleeding into the white-collar apprenticeship market. Females and African Americans are earning less than their peers, and female apprentices in male-dominated professions (such as IT) are being paid less.

Modernized apprenticeship programs represent a tremendous opportunity for the US to alter years of workforce challenges – challenges that erode our country’s ability to compete globally.   We must strive to eradicate inequality in recruitment, compensation, and advancement, and prevent it from bleeding into the US IT apprenticeship model.   Apprenticeship programs must maintain race and gender-neutrality. Recruitment, training, and wage progression models must remain consistent for all cohorts.  Awareness programs supported by educators, employers, and communities must work together to educate young women on the professional values and opportunities the industry offers in a language that makes these jobs appealing to women.

Apprenticeships Help the IT Industry Attract and Retain Female Talent

In an effort to inspire women to achieve their career aspirations and potential at all levels and disciplines within the IT industry, we have developed The Franklin Apprenticeships IT Academy for Women. Employment and gender gaps can be filled by establishing apprenticeship programs serving women who are:

  • Unable to afford secondary education
  • Unconventional learners or school leavers
  • Stuck in dead-end jobs
  • Saddled with college debt, but left with no job prospects
  • Re-entering the job market (Returnees, Veterans, etc.)

And, the 4th Industrial Revolution – because it allows for workers with little or no college education –represents new opportunities for all women. This includes the minority, disadvantaged, and low-skilled female jobseekers.  Together, we can:

  • Educate disadvantaged female cohorts about IT Apprenticeship opportunities
  • Make the transition to IT jobs possible for those whom the educational system has failed
  • Mentor female cohorts with clear paths to equal upward mobility and equal economic mobility

By focusing on an IT apprenticeship initiative specifically for women, we can build employer awareness of apprenticeship programs to:

  • Attract, train, and retain talent
  • Address diversity imbalances
  • Create a future workforce
  • Strengthen the economy
  • Preserve and protect our nation’s competitive position

A long time has passed and yet interests have only moved in one direction: down.  Let’s bring back the charm for women in IT.

Want to find out more about The Franklin Apprenticeships IT Academy for Women, become part of the movement, or learn about how to launch digital apprenticeships programs in your company?  Contact us, here.