You Just Graduated – Now What Can You Do?

You Just Graduated – Now What Can You Do?

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You spent the last 12, 16, or more years in school. You have invested a lot of hard work. You have an interest in the technology field.  Whether you have applied to colleges, or have just completed your college career — you have some important questions about what you can do to get a good job, today.

As an individual looking to start a fresh career, you have some big decisions to make — and several uncertainties to consider.

If you are a high school graduate, you might question whether the college choice will yield the same results as you once thought.

  • Do I go to college as planned?
  • What if colleges don’t re-open in the fall?
  • What if they open, but all classes are online?
  • What will my return on investment be for all of that college tuition?
  • Should I stay closer to home for now?
  • Are there any other, more immediate career options?

As a college graduate, you might question whether or not your degree will carry the same weight as you once thought.

  • How do I start my career in a job market that has dramatically shifted?
  • Should I consider temp work?
  • What will my return on investment be for all that college tuition?
  • Will my major be applicable in today’s business climate?
  • How will I replay my college loans and afford my household expenses when I can’t find a job?
  • Are there any alternative, immediate career options?

Consider this: An IT apprenticeship is a good way to spend a gap year or post graduate year. And it offers an immediate return for today, and beyond.

What can you have if you decide to pursue an IT apprenticeship?

We have answers to all of these questions for today’s high school and college grads.

  1. You can have a full-time, W-2 paid apprenticeship position in the lucrative IT industry as a help desk technician with a company that is close to home. This is NOT an internship.
  2. You can see if an IT career is the right fit for you with a one-year apprenticeship program before you consider investing the $100K+ expense on a four-year degree. Or, you can begin working to pay off your current loans while determining if an IT career is right for you.
  3. You can embark on an apprenticeship that leads to a long-term career path 94 percent of the time (as opposed to most college grads who jump jobs multiple times before they are 26).
  4. You can receive three Industry recognized certifications (Microsoft or CompTIA) in the one year program with documented IT skills that make you more valuable — all at no personal expense.
  5. You can have a personal Success Coach work with you every week to ensure you are on the right track — and that includes developing your professional skills as a complement to your technical skills.
  6. You can earn up to three pay raises in the first year on the job.
  7. You can work a typical 40-hour week and attend online training during working hours with no night classes.

You could spend the next few years going to college. You could spend the next year waiting to figure out how to market your degree. Or,  you can take another track and jump right into a lucrative IT career as a Digital IT Apprentice.  Apprenticeship is a great way to crack a hidden, in-demand job market and jump-start a full-time career.

Now might be the right time to earn while you learn in an apprenticeship.  Determine if an IT career is your best destination.

How can you learn more about what you can do with an apprenticeship? Contact us.  

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Make a Great First Impression!

Make a Great First Impression!

Automotive (or IT) Interview Tips that Will Make You Shine

You’ve done it! You’ve applied for the job and now you’ve got the interview scheduled. Congratulations!

And, chances are, you’re probably both excited and nervous.  If you are, it’s completely normal.  In fact, if you weren’t a bit of both, we’d say there’s probably something wrong!

What helps to calm those nerves and channel that excitement? Preparation. Being prepared is also the absolute best thing you can do to shine above the rest and nail that job interview.

So, let’s dig right into it!  Let’s talk about all the things — the obvious things and the not so obvious things — that you can do to prepare.

You know the old saying, “You only get one chance to make a first impression.”  Take the time to make a good first impression.  All the tips and tricks we outline below will make you shine brighter, and get you closer to winning the job!

Practical Things to Help You Prepare for a Successful Interview:

  1. Dress for Success. If you feel good about the way you look, statistics say you’ll perform better.  What should you wear?  It’s simple.  Look professional.  Iron that shirt and try not to wear strong cologne or perfume.  Do you smoke?  Try not to smoke before the interview because the smell can really be offensive to a non-smoker.  Are your nails clean?  Are your shoes presentable?  Looking your best will speak volumes and make you a more confident interviewee.
  2. Take These Things with You.  Take copies of your resume, a notepad & pen (to take notes), and breath mints.  Consider chewing a mint before you walk into your interview.  Fresh breath certainly will make you feel more confident!
  3. Research the Location. Do you know exactly where your interview will take place? If not, do a bit of research to plan out your route and how you’ll get there.  And, if your interview happens in a city center, make sure you know in advance where you’ll park.  This way you don’t have to stress about getting lost, being late, and starting the interview with an embarrassing apology.
  4. Arrive 15 Minutes Early.  Yep.  Do it.  This always makes a great first impression.  If you’re late, you’ll never get a chance to adjust that first impression.  If you are early, you’ll appear conscientious, excited, and well planned.  Be early!!
  5. Turn Off Your Phone.  While waiting for your interview to start, turn off your phone.  Ringing cell phones in an interview are a big no-no.  Besides, you might be nervous, so you don’t need to be distracted by the buzzing or vibrating of a cell phone in your pocket.  How annoying!  Don’t just silence it.  Turn it off!
  6. Give a Firm Handshake.  There’s nothing worse for a first impression than a limp, lazy handshake.  Make your handshake purposeful and powerful.  This conveys the message that you are excited about being there and confident about the opportunity in front of you.  Oh, and don’t forget to use eye contact when you shake hands.
  7. Research the Company.  Go to the company website and try to learn about the team and culture.  Has the company been in the news lately?  Inform yourself as much as possible before the interview.  You’ll show that you are engaged and interested.  This goes a long way!
  8. Prepare Your Pitch.  What sets you apart? Create a list of things that you can bring to the organization in advance.
  9. Be Prepared to Answer.
    • Tell me about yourself.
    • Why do you want to work for our company?
    • Why are you looking for a new job?
  10. Stay Away from the Negative.  When you answer any of the questions above, be careful to prepare answers that aren’t negative.  Things like, “While I enjoyed my time at my last job, I’m looking for a chance to grow and learn in a position that offers career growth,” is an easy way to explain a career change.  And, most important, don’t ever speak negatively about previous managers or positions — this will only create a negative reflection of you.
  11. Don’t Ask About Money.  You want the job and a new career and that’s the impression you need to make.  Asking about money and benefits can make it seem like that’s all that matters to you.  Yes, these things are important, but for now, you’ll want to stay clear from asking about how much the position pays or the benefits offered.  There will be time for that, and your Franklin Career Coach will be able to offer you some of this information in advance.  The objective of the interview is to get a second interview or to get the job offer.
  12. Use the Right Body Language.  When practicing for your interview, practice using eye contact.  Don’t cross your arms, and be sure to lean into the conversation.  All this shows active listening which tells your interviewer that you are engaged.
  13. Slow Down.  It’s not a race.  Take the time to really listen and take the time to prepare thoughtful answers.  If you take the time to prepare thoughtful answers in advance of your interview, chances are you’ll be prepared to give thoughtful answers during your job interview.
  14. Be Prepared to Ask Your Own Questions.  Hiring managers will usually close an interview with, “Do you have any questions for me?”  Consider a question like, “Mr. Jones, please tell me, what is your perfect hire?”  Actively listen for the answer and respond with you are that person.  Something like, “OK. Yes, I understand. I can do all those things. And those I can’t, I can learn. I just know that I am the right person for this position.”
  15. Close the Interview.  Ask about the next steps and let the hiring manager know that you are excited to be considered for the position.  Consider bold statements like this, “Based on everything I’ve heard today, I am confident that I am the right person for the job. When can I start?”  Bottom line: don’t be afraid to ask for the job.
  16. Follow-up. Ever hear the expression, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease”?  Send a thank-you email.  Remembering this important step can get you closer to the job offer!  Take the time to create a thoughtful thank you email or letter.  It should be brief, but you want to thank the interviewer for their time and consideration, and to express that you are very excited about the opportunity.  Let them know you are available to answer any additional questions they may have for you.  Squeak-squeak!

And there you have it! All things to help you prepare and nail that interview! So, here’s to you! Good luck —and rest assured, if you take the time to prepare for your interview, we know you’ll shine brightly!

The “Chicken or Egg” Debate Among HR Leaders: Credentials or Potential When Hiring?

The “Chicken or Egg” Debate Among HR Leaders: Credentials or Potential When Hiring?

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Last spring, Learning House and Future Workplace surveyed 600 human resource leaders about the nationwide skills gap crisis, the state of hiring processes, and the difficulties of identifying qualified candidates. As job openings in the U.S. continue to rise, nearly half of the HR leaders questioned blame higher education for the skills gap. Approximately 47 percent of leaders surveyed state that colleges are not properly preparing students for the working world. The survey also reveals that 35 percent of employers feel it is the responsibility of colleges and universities to make potential employees “work-ready”.

However, higher education leaders believe they are taking the necessary steps to prepare students for a workplace that is constantly changing. With 85 percent of jobs that today’s students will perform in 2030 not even in existence yet, educational institutions are making strides to adapt programs that will address the disconnect between what students learn, and what students actually do in the workforce.

So as employers work to close the talent gap, and educators adjust programs, this brings to light a critical dilemma for hiring managers. No different than the age-old “chicken or egg” mystery, which should take precedent when hiring a candidate — their hard skills/degree/technical certifications (credentials), or their soft skills/ability to train (potential)?

Difficulties of Hiring for Credentials/Hard Skills

According to the survey, technology and IT jobs are the hardest to fill, followed by management jobs. These positions correspond to what employers believe are the in-demand college majors — computer information systems, finance, and economics. Again, this also reinforces the importance employers are placing on educational institutions to prepare the future job market.

Difficulties of Hiring for Potential/Soft Skills

The survey also identified the top three soft skills sought out by employers: teamwork (38 percent), the ability to adapt to change (37 percent), and leadership (37 percent).

However, the survey also highlights many challenges that exist to address the soft skills gap. Budget shortfalls and a lack of both external and internal talent being available to train employees top this surmounting list of setbacks. But, as a result, employers are becoming more open to innovative ways to address their skills gap.

Alternative Methods to Address Hiring for Both Credentials and Potential 

Discovering creative ways to address the skills gap has become a top priority among hiring managers. Employers are beginning to seriously consider hiring candidates without traditional four-year degrees based on the survey results — which may allow job seekers to search for alternative credentialing.

Registered apprenticeships offer an alternate model. While not always thought of in the U.S. as a natural option, registered apprenticeship programs can offer employers numerous benefits, such as structured training, streamlined recruitment practices, increased loyalty and retention, and enhanced performance. 

At Franklin Apprenticeships, we help employers build their workforce, so companies can focus on growing their business. We have the tools, technology, and network necessary to build, execute, and manage modern apprenticeship programs that fit specific organizational requirements. 

Employers will need to continue thinking outside the box today to train and retain the workforce of tomorrow. No different than the “chicken or egg” debate, the “credentials or potential” discussion remains as a top topic of interest among HR leaders.

Fortunately, employers now have more options to think outside the box, and influence the direction of this ongoing conversation.

Are you an employer hiring for IT Helpdesk and/or Network Engineer positions? Narrow your skills gap, fill your talent pipeline, and obtain assistance with company-specific training by partnering with Franklin Apprenticeships. Contact us today to learn more about our current digital apprenticeship programs: Franklin Digital and Missouri Digital.

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Gearing Up for a Shift in the Automotive Workforce

Gearing Up for a Shift in the Automotive Workforce

We live in a world inundated with technology, so it comes as no surprise that consumers seek similar digital access and advances integrated into their driving experience. These range from the obvious — navigation, entertainment, climate control, and hands-free access — to innovations in safety, performance, and diagnostics.

So much has changed within the automotive industry in such a short period of time. Repair bays — once filled with grease-covered tools and parts — now more closely resemble labs, complete with the advanced (and expensive) equipment needed to repair the increasingly complex array of components that power today’s vehicles.

These rapid advances force us to wonder: does the U.S. have enough qualified professionals ready to keep our automobiles running smoothly?

Labor Shortage

The simple answer is no: we don’t have anywhere near the numbers needed for a robust and specialized automotive workforce, either today or in the immediate future.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. will need 46,000 additional automotive service technicians by the year 2026 to keep up with industry needs. There are already as many as 75,000 automotive service technician job openings in any one year. Causes vary, from older workers aging out of the workforce to employees switching jobs to the creation of brand new positions.

Further, Donny Seyfer, Executive Officer of the National Automotive Training Task Force, notes that fewer high schools offer automotive shop programs, further diminishing the potential supply of technicians. And, even when such classes are available, he adds, there is often a disconnect between what they teach and what service departments need.

Attaining Relevant Skills

Assigning young students to tear down an engine or repair a transmission is a bad fit in an industry where the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) estimates that maintenance accounts for 70 percent of a technician’s work, Seyfer adds.

So, whether you are a new worker, or a seasoned worker making a career change, how can you quickly gain the real-world skills necessary to provide exceptional technical service? And, in an industry where the average automotive technician is 40 years old, with 19 years of experience, how can the existing workforce stay current as technology rapidly evolves?

The High Costs of Turnover

The National Automobile Dealers Association’s 2017 Dealership Workforce Study found that the annual turnover rate for the most skilled automotive technicians rose 2.1% in a single year. Some leave for different dealerships, others leave for different industries.

If jobs remain unfilled, losses accrue at an alarming rate: experts estimate that a typical automotive technician brings in an average of $1,000 per day. Consider what that means for 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, and more. Suddenly filling current vacancies — and retaining current workers — becomes exponentially more critical to your bottom line.

The Road Forward

The road forward for the automotive industry is filled with both intense challenges and remarkable opportunities. A lack of skilled candidates for an increasing number of highly specialized positions calls for an innovative approach to crafting a brand new pipeline for finding, training, and keeping talented automotive service technicians.

Which is why Franklin Apprenticeships is partnering with the State of Missouri to offer Missouri AutoMOtive!, an ingenious solution for accelerating the growth so essential to making the State’s automotive sector thrive.

Modern apprenticeships create opportunities for both employers and employees, offering a fully developed framework for success as candidates earn while learning the very skills and knowledge needed to be a top-notch technician. For Dislocated Workers, in particular, such an approach allows them to hit the ground running: instead of incurring debt for programs that might get them ahead, they begin as paid workers eager to learn and grow into competitive positions that help them — and your business — get ahead.

With AutoMOtive!, Dislocated Workers from industries that have experienced layoffs and downsizing have an opportunity for a new career in the automotive industry, which includes ASE certification and other technical certifications, as well as a mentor and a peer-supported community. Further, program recruitment, placement, training, coaching, and certification costs are subsidized for participating employers.

Let us help you put your search for qualified automotive service technicians in first gear, ensuring your ability to keep everything about today’s technologically advanced vehicles — from music to guidance to safety — running smoothly. Contact us to learn more about Missouri AutoMOtive! today.

 

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.