The Path to a Successful Tech Apprenticeship Program

The Path to a Successful Tech Apprenticeship Program

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Employers about to take the leap into apprenticeship programs frequently ask us what actions they can take that will lead to the most successful outcomes. Here’s our advice for launching a program that maximizes the benefits to both your organization and its apprentices.

Think long term. As a hiring manager, you often need to plug a hole in your lineup, and quickly. We urge you to adjust that mindset and think of ten-year career paths, not just filling jobs. If you can show a new hire a career path from Day One and not just a job, you’ll stop paying top dollar for experience and fancy resumes and start investing in potential. That 12- to 18-month investment results in loyal team members who typically will stick around for years to come … so you can stop plugging holes.

Prepare to polish. Investing in potential means that you’ll need the ability to see diamonds in the rough. Your new hire will have some ground to cover before they can compete head-on with those high-dollar resumes you’re seeing. But they’ll cover that ground under your watchful eye (and ours), so in the end you’ll have a team member who’s fully versed in doing things your way instead of bringing along bad habits from a previous job. And they’re typically up to speed and adding value in 90-120 days.

Fill in the background. The more we know about your company culture and the way you conduct business, the better we can match candidates to your openings. Take the time up front to consider the qualities in a candidate that will fit in well at your organization, and the ones that won’t. Replicate the personality traits of the past winners, and don’t get too caught up in look-alike resumes.

Look in-house. Nothing contributes to a great company culture, and a loyal team, more than the knowledge that there’s an internal path to career advancement. Assess your current staff and consider who’s ready for a more senior role, then upskill them in an apprenticeship program. You can backfill the chair they leave empty with a new more junior apprentice, usually an easier person to find.

Communicate. You found the perfect apprentice? Be prepared to encourage them along the way, celebrating each milestone as they pass their certifications and enjoy the corresponding pay raise. An open line of communication with their assigned mentor / Success Coach is also vital. They have the ear of your new hire and can get right to work on polishing any rough edges. This communication loop keeps small issues from becoming bigger ones and will make both you and the apprentice happier in the long run.

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

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Bringing Women Back to Tech Through Digital Apprenticeships

Bringing Women Back to Tech Through Digital Apprenticeships

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In today’s world of a largely male-dominated tech industry, it’s remarkable to think that women played prominent— even critical — roles in the early days of computing.

Today, only 20 percent of tech jobs are held by women. In a sector experiencing a faster-than-average growth rate, it’s clear that something is wrong. It’s past time to identify and address the issues preventing women from pursuing careers in technology.

So where do we begin?

One creative approach: digital apprenticeships. This powerful and fully modernized pathway to earning while learning is a proven, reliable source for developing a highly-skilled — and tremendously engaged — workforce.

Download our article now to learn why modern digital apprenticeships offer a new path into a rewarding career in IT for women. We review:  

  • The strategies that companies can and must begin implementing immediately throughout their hiring and retention processes in order to increase the number of women in tech.
  • The pivotal role that recruiters can play in building bridges between female candidates and potential employers.
  • The importance of having a structured framework and support network in place to help apprentices achieve goals and promote development. 

Discover how Recruiters, Mentors, Supervisors, and a Success Coach can work together to provide each female apprentice with the support network they need to soar in a field that needs digital talent today more than ever.

Together, we can inspire more women to come back to tech. Contact us to learn more about our current digital apprenticeship programs: Franklin Digital and Missouri Digital.

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The Top Three Differences Between Apprenticeships and Internships to Ignite Your Talent Pipeline

The Top Three Differences Between Apprenticeships and Internships to Ignite Your Talent Pipeline

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The shortage of skilled workers is a significant problem in the U.S. that continues to grow. For many executives, talent shortages top the charts as the greatest emerging risk companies currently face. 

Apprenticeship programs offer a high-value solution to the growing skilled labor crisis, but are not considered as a natural talent acquisition option in our country. They are a proven model for successful employee recruitment and retention in other countries, however, they are severely underutilized in the U.S. But why? 

Much confusion still exists surrounding apprenticeship programs. When executives hear “apprenticeships,” they automatically think of “internships,” which are much more common in the U.S.  

While both apprenticeships and internships are used to find workers, the similarities end there. When it comes to a company’s employee retention and growth strategy, apprenticeships are vastly different than those of internships.

So, what are these critical differences

Read our article to explore the top three differences between internships and apprenticeships from an employer’s point of view.  

Recognizing these three differences — and understanding the various benefits of apprenticeships — could make all the difference in finding ideal candidates to solve your company’s skilled labor dilemma. 

Interested in creating apprenticeship programs in your company? Contact us here to learn more about partnering with Franklin Apprenticeships to change the American workforce and unlock opportunities for your business. 

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Solving the IoT Skills Gap, One Apprentice at a Time

Solving the IoT Skills Gap, One Apprentice at a Time

PODCAST: Frank Valdivieso, President & CEO of Gryphon Consulting Discusses the Value of the New Digital Apprenticeships Program in Maryland June 11

PODCAST: Frank Valdivieso, President & CEO of Gryphon Consulting Discusses the Value of the New Digital Apprenticeships Program in Maryland June 11

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For the inaugural “Changing the American Workforce” podcast interview, Frank Valdivieso, President and CEO of Gryphon Consulting, discusses why he chose to be one of the first employers to participate in our new Digital Apprenticeship program in Maryland.

The shortage of skilled tech workers is a significant problem for Maryland business owners. Finding qualified candidates with the appropriate mix of company-specific skills and cutting-edge training on the technologies being used today has become a top IT workforce challenge.  

To address this issue, Franklin Apprenticeships recently announced that we have partnered with the Maryland Department of Labor to develop a Digital Apprenticeship program for the state. Our new program provides high quality, long-term employees for Maryland employers.

Gryphon Consulting, an IT services company that specializes in helping small and medium-sized businesses effectively deploy and leverage technology in their organizations, is an inaugural employer of our innovative apprenticeship program.

In this podcast interview, Frank Valdivieso, President and CEO of Gryphon Consulting, and President of the DC Chapter of the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP), discusses how our Digital Apprenticeship program will enhance his overall business success.

Our podcast provides insights into the following key topics:

  •      An overview of Gryphon Consulting, and the IT services the company provides. (.35)
  •      The top workforce challenges the IT sector faces today. (1.34)
  •      How modern apprenticeships can help solve employer challenges. (2.34)
  •      Why Gryphon Consulting joined the program. (4.45)
  •      What Gryphon Consulting hopes to achieve through the program. (6.28)

Discover how Franklin Digital can help build your IT workforce by visiting our program page here. Or, contact us to discuss starting a modern apprenticeship program in your company.

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Case Study Interview Part 1: Franklin Apprenticeships Co-Founder Reveals How Microsoft UK Tackles Skilled Labor Shortages with Apprenticeships

Case Study Interview Part 1: Franklin Apprenticeships Co-Founder Reveals How Microsoft UK Tackles Skilled Labor Shortages with Apprenticeships

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Summer, 2019

Franklin Apprenticeships co-founder Dominic Gill has developed some of the most successful skills management training programs for world leading IT companies.

Dominic discusses his work with Microsoft Apprenticeships to help solve the UK’s IT/digital skilled labor shortages in the case study interview below.

Company:

Microsoft UK

Challenge:

A shortage of skilled talent for Microsoft’s partners and customers.

Solution:

Microsoft Apprenticeships: A program designed by and for Microsoft partners and customers to cover the most in-demand ICT roles and requirements.

  • Develop a program that offers job seekers a solid foundation to a fast-tracked career.
  • Drive greater productivity and diversified skills for employers.
  • Train and equip the next generation of IT experts with the relevant skills and experience to strengthen the UK’s IT sector.

Impact:

  • Microsoft Apprenticeships have been offered by over 7,000 Microsoft Partner Employers since 2010.
  • From 2010 to 2018, over 20,000 people have started an IT/digital career through the program, establishing it as a mature and proven model that is a viable talent acquisition option for employers and an attractive career strategy for young people.

Goal:

  • Help more individuals access IT/digital careers.
  • Enable employers to widen their talent pool.
  • Address critical shortages of IT/digital specialists.

L&R Communications: When most think of apprenticeships, what comes to mind is more specific to trade unions, as opposed to IT programs. Wasn’t it unique to see a company such as Microsoft take this route?

Dom: I think the first thing that’s worth pointing out is: Apprenticeships in the UK are more established, especially in more nontraditional routes than they are perhaps in the US.  Apprenticeships have been around in their current format since the former Prime Minister Tony Blair era. In the UK, we have a pedigree in looking at nontraditional apprenticeships.

However, I would say in the IT sector, they were not necessarily a recognized route. The reason that Microsoft got involved was primarily to solve a talent acquisition issue in its partner channel.

L&R Communications: What made Microsoft decide to begin with the partner network?

Dom: Both in the US and the UK — and across the globe — Microsoft has channel partners that work to support, develop on or resell its technology. In the UK, that equates to in the region of 25,000 partners.

In order for these partners to grow and, indeed, for them to grow the Microsoft activity they share, Microsoft understood that it was critical for their partners to have access to talent with the right skill set. But they were finding that there weren’t sufficient numbers of new talent coming into the sector and, as a result, there was a smaller pond to fish in — especially in new areas such as cloud technology and cyber security. That smaller pond also resulted in salary inflation, which resulted in losing talent to competitive rivals. If Microsoft couldn’t help partners to bring new people into the sector, it was going to negatively impact their competitive advantage.

So, first and foremost, we addressed these problems as a business issue in the partner channel. We focused on identifying key common roles that went across the channel that could be, if you like, apprenticeable. Our objective was to bring new people in at the technician level – potentially straight from school. We would provide them the necessary learning they needed to become competent, and to perform the role that was required of them; but to do that in a structured way. So, that’s essentially the program that we built. And it’s been an incredibly successful program, today.

On the other side of it, of course, this has been a great way to attract new people into the IT sector. It gives young people a fantastic opportunity – young people who might have otherwise been overlooked. Maybe academic learning didn’t suit them at that time in their lives. That’s not to say they weren’t graduate caliber. But, for various reasons, it wasn’t an option for them. What we did was provide them the most fantastic opportunity to get a job from the start, to earn while they learn, and to develop a career. In fact, we find that 93% of the people who start these programs are continuing in employment with the same employer.

L&R Communications: Well that sounds like an obvious solution. Employers need skilled workers. Individuals want a path to a secure, high paying career without incurring lots of debt. Tell me a little bit about how the program works. Is the set up and recruitment similar to internship programs?

Dom: Actually, that’s a really interesting point. I’d say that the mechanics are similar to setting up an internship. But I think the practicalities are different. And I think there’s one conceptual difference in that an apprenticeship should be seen as a permanent talent acquisition strategy – so, a permanent talent acquisition solution. That’s not necessarily the case of an internship.

I think when employers are recruiting for apprenticeships, they need to consider whether candidates have the innate strength to go through an apprenticeship program.  One question should be: If they follow the structured training, support, and assessment that is included within the program, will they have a long-term future with our business? And if the answer is yes, then they’re definitely an ideal candidate. I would also argue that they shouldn’t expect these individuals to have bags of experience – because they won’t. That’s what the apprenticeship is there for. They need to identify candidates who’ve got that innate strength.

So, I would say that’s a bit different than an internship where you are expecting somebody who’s probably completed a year or so at university, already. Somebody who has some skills, and the internship is a way in which they’re going to build on those skills — and augment them.  From the company’s perspective, an internship also isn’t necessarily a permanent talent acquisition solution.

L&R Communications: Once you finish vetting the candidates, what’s next? You mentioned that most of the new apprenticeships are coming in with little to no formal skills, training, or experience.  It sounds fairly simple, but how did Microsoft determine the credential pathways for the apprentices, create scalable models, and then ensure the programs were the right ones?

How this program works is pretty simple. Microsoft itself has to date only taken on a very small handful. I’m only talking about 20 apprentices per year. We’re currently at a run rate of around 6,000 apprentices starting per year through the Microsoft channel. So, we’ve worked to brand these programs. We’ve considered: What would be the common roles that sit across Microsoft’s partners and customers?  What roles would be in demand and, consequently, what would then be the common and core Microsoft credential pathways to fit the roles?

We then work with focus groups of relevant Microsoft Partners to align the roles to the certifications. This not only gives the apprentices globally recognized industry credentials but ensures they acquire a skillset that will enable them to be productive more quickly for the employers who are investing in them – essentially providing significant ROI for employers!  We then work with a select group of Microsoft Learning Partners to interpret these specs into deliverable programs and support them in rolling the programs out into the Channel.

L&R Communications: Wow. You’re giving companies the opportunity to build farm teams — much like in the minor baseball leagues — where employers can recruit young talent and train them directly under the tutelage of the organization, so that they are better prepared to perform a job. The results so far have been positive? Can you expand a little bit on some of the future goals?

Dom: Yeah. Definitely. I’ll just quickly point out that the way that these programs are delivered are through a group of intermediary training providers. We equip these providers to deliver the programs, but you’re absolutely right. These are ways in which companies can build their future workforce. I mentioned that we’ve now hit 6,000 apprentices through programs across the UK partners, per year.  In 2017, Microsoft announced a further ambition – a continued commitment that between 2017 and the end of 2020 – to add 30,000 more apprentices through this route. That meant doubling the current year-on-year run rate. We feel strongly obliged to honor that ambition and are excited about the possibilities it represents.

L&R Communications: Microsoft released a white paper at the end of last year in which they interviewed employers and apprentices to gather updated program feedback. Can you provide some insight into the research findings?

Dom: Sure. The impact of the program on businesses is significant. In fact, companies hiring apprentices have noted a significant increase in the monetary impact from 2015 to 2018: £11,782 in 2015 to £36,840 in 2018.

And, since 2015, the program has improved in all comparable measures, including enabling more diversity. Employers experience a broader skills base, better client services, and more inspired and committed workforce.

  • 83% of employers say they would recommend the program to other employers.
  • 74% of employers say the program has allowed them to gain highly committed staff.
  • 77% of employers say the program has made their employees more diverse overall.

A fascinating finding is that over the past three years, the reason employers cite for joining the program has shifted from cost-saving to value creation. While the cost-saving was the initial attraction – and a significant benefit – 69% of employers now cite training and supporting young people as a top driver.  And 60% are vested in bringing on their people to fill the industry’s future workforce.

  • Current apprentices estimate that they earn 31% more annually because of the program, equating to approximately £5,200 more in annual salary.
  • 75% of current apprentices say the program gives them more financial independence compared to their peers, i.e. the opportunity to start their career free of university debt.
  • 90% of current apprentices say the program gives them the opportunity to jumpstart their career.
  • 86% of current apprentices also said the program gives them a strong knowledge base.
  • 72% of current apprentices believe the program will help them achieve a higher socio-economic status than their parents.

L&R Communications: I understand your company, Intequal, will be providing the technical training component to Franklin’s US Digital Apprenticeship programs. How do you think the experience gleaned and lessons learned from these UK programs could benefit US employers?

Dom: Although the training content delivered should not be greatly different from that currently offered in the US, Intequal is able to structure the training to ensure it meets the knowledge requirements of apprenticeships.  This means aligning with occupational competency milestones agreed with employers to ensure the apprentice properly applies what they learn in the workplace, and are able to incrementally build their bank of knowledge against the training they receive.  This way they gain a deeper understanding of what they need to do to become fully productive in their chosen role in as short a time as possible — essentially learning whilst doing. Employers benefit from more technically proficient employees who not only fully understand their role and skillset, but are also embedded within their company culture.


To learn more about Microsoft UK’s Apprenticeship program and how Franklin Apprenticeships is leveraging the UK model for their expanding Digital Apprenticeships program in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Missouri, please contact us.

Next up: In part 2 of our interview, Franklin Apprenticeship’s CEO, Kim Nichols, discusses the current state of middle skill IT apprenticeships here in the US: What opportunities exist to offer quality program funding, planning, support, and execution to American business owners and job seekers, today?

Also, in our new podcast series, we interview Frank Valdivieso, President and CEO of Gryphon Consulting in Maryland, and President of the DC Chapter of the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP), to discuss how our Digital Apprenticeship program will enhance his overall business success. Listen to our podcast here.

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Baltimore Business Journal Highlights New Partnership Between Franklin Apprenticeships and the State of Maryland

Baltimore Business Journal Highlights New Partnership Between Franklin Apprenticeships and the State of Maryland

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This Monday, Franklin Apprenticeships officially announced that is has partnered with the State of Maryland to provide local employers with a solution to their lack of qualified applicants in the IT arena – where the demand for tech workers is projected to be among the fastest growing.

The Baltimore Business Journal covered the news, and highlighted how the shortage of skilled tech workers is a significant problem in the U.S., with hundreds of thousands of unfilled cyber positions at firms across the country. It was also noted that Franklin Apprenticeships is initially delivering an IT help desk program in Maryland, and plans to soon offer training for network engineers and cybersecurity specialists as well.

As quoted by Kim Nichols, Franklin Apprenticeships will launch the first apprenticeship cohort in July – with new cohorts being added each month. Groups of 50 apprentices will also be designated a “success coach,” who will monitor each apprentice’s progress as they work through the education and job training sessions.

Nichols said the IT help desk program will act as a pilot for Maryland companies to become more familiar with the concept of apprenticeships, while training employees for an important but relatively low-risk position.

“We see this as a great opportunity to build a skilled pipeline. We hear from lots of employers all the time who are struggling to find talent,” Nichols told the Baltimore Business Journal. “This way, they may have to be open to bringing someone in who may not have all the skills they’re looking for, but though an apprenticeship program can be trained up to meet their needs.”

Click here to read the press release and here for the full article.

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Solving Your Digital Workforce Crisis With An Innovative Approach

Solving Your Digital Workforce Crisis With An Innovative Approach

Solving Your Digital Workforce Crisis with an Innovative Approach  

Is your organization facing challenges finding, hiring, and retaining tech talent? Are you finding applicants with the skills and knowledge needed to support your IT help desk? And, are you identifying candidates with the talent and experience required to move your IT help desk or engineer networks forward?  All so critical to business success today?

The Perfect IT Help Desk Support, Data, and Security Storm

The challenges are real: in the ever-evolving world of technology, it’s hard for business support teams to find employees who can keep up, much less stay ahead. New applications, varied devices, network security, data storage, and maintenance – each piece integral to helping customers streamline operations, provide the necessary tools to be effective, and meet the expectations of savvy consumers. Who keeps it all running smoothly?

Trained Help Desk Technicians and Network Engineers are crucial to economic success across sectors – they keep the data flowing. Yet finding the right balance between hard and soft skills can be elusive. Qualified applicants are difficult to find, candidates lack the right experience, and successful employees unfortunately leave.

Global Talent Issues

It’s not just you. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the number of job openings in the U.S. rose to 7.5 million by the end of March. And according to 43% of employers, IT positions remain the most difficult to fill.

This makes perfect sense when you consider that there are ten open positions in the technology sector for every one graduate. Fierce competition for such limited resources results in key positions remaining unfilled, allowing digital infrastructures to degrade and decay, and technical support to lag.

Global Training Issues

Those unfilled positions cost more than time and productivity, they cost money – an average of $800,000 annually, according to CareerBuilder.

Why is it so difficult to find digital talent? Close to half of employers blame higher education for the widening skills gap, alleging that four-year institutions aren’t preparing enough work-ready candidates for available positions. And given that 54% of all U.S. jobs require more than a high-school diploma but less than a four-year degree for success, now is the time to consider innovative solutions.

Global Turnover Issues

Maintaining a digital workforce current on new trends and emerging technology isn’t only imperative for your business, it’s essential for worker retention. Over half of digitally talented employees are willing to change jobs to keep their skills from stagnating.

And, Americans are quitting their jobs at the fastest rate in seventeen years, seeking positions with higher pay, better benefits, or opportunities to get ahead. When you consider the cost of losing a worker can range from one-and-a-half to two times their annual salary, suddenly retaining talent and experience becomes a priority.

The Solution

A variety of factors play into the digital workforce crisis: a limited pool of exceptional candidates, a lack of critical training opportunities, and an inability to retain talented employees. The data points to a national issue with a stunning impact right down to the community level.

Fortunately, there’s a solution. Apprenticeships offer an innovative approach to finding, training, and retaining talented Help Desk Technicians and Network Engineers.

Apprenticeships provide a nimble, adaptive workforce fully prepared to excel within your organization. They’re the answer to the skilled labor shortage, the path to middle-skills recruitment, and the solution to attracting – and retaining – talent.

Franklin Apprenticeships offers employers, workforce development, job seekers, and educators with an innovative, modernized approach to solve the digital workforce crisis head-on. For instance, we are partnering with the State of Missouri to offer Missouri Digital, the State of Maryland, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to offer Franklin Digital, our apprenticeship programs built for Computer Help Desk and Network Engineer positions.

Let us help you to take the first step in keeping your data, communications, processes, and business flowing smoothly. Contact us today to learn more about the opportunities available through Missouri Digital and Franklin Digital.

 

Franklin Apprenticeships Brings Its Digital Apprenticeships Program to Maryland

Franklin Apprenticeships Brings Its Digital Apprenticeships Program to Maryland

Franklin Apprenticeships announced today, May 20, 2019, a press release communicating the benefits of a new partnership with the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation to bring its Digital Apprenticeship program to the State. The program is a response to the growing demand from Maryland employers who need assistance filling their talent pipeline with skilled tech workers – one of the most important workforce issues facing businesses, today.

The Digital Apprenticeships program applies a proven model that builds a motivated, skilled workforce by attracting, training, and certifying a diverse pool of career ready, job-ready candidates.  Program participants receive recruitment, on boarding, and mentoring support — including certified Success Coaches to maximize apprenticeship completion, industry certification, and success rates.

Initial candidate roles are focused on IT Help Desk, but plans are underway for expansion into Network Engineer and Cyber Security Specialists.

Interested employers and job seekers are encouraged to apply.

Contact us to learn more about Franklin Apprenticeships or read the full press release.

Apprenticeships: The Answer to Your Organization’s Latest and Greatest Emerging Risk

Apprenticeships: The Answer to Your Organization’s Latest and Greatest Emerging Risk

Speed of innovation, increasing regulations, and the pace of digitalization all remain as top risks facing organizations. But what is the latest and greatest emerging risk to enter the board room that is here to stay? Staff shortages.

That’s right – you read this correctly. The top emerging risk facing organizations isn’t responding to cybersecurity threats, or addressing GDPR – it’s the talent gap.

The Talent Gap Is the New Top Risk   

According to Gartner, Inc.’s latest Emerging Risks Survey, global talent shortages now top the charts as the greatest emerging risk facing organizations today after surveying  137 senior executives in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Many leaders find themselves at a crossroad where they need to shift away from traditional external hiring strategies, and consider internal training efforts to mitigate supply and demand issues.

Apprenticeship Programs Offer a Risk Mitigation Strategy   

In Gartner’s press release about the survey, Matt Shinkman, Managing Vice President and Risk Practice Leader, stated that “a common denominator here is that addressing these top business challenges involves hiring new talent that is in incredibly short supply.”

But, what if you had the ability to train and retain your own ideal workforce?

Apprenticeship programs offer an alternative solution to the growing talent crisis. Apprentices can create a high-value alternative for employers to:

  • Attract the best employees
  • Reduce turnover
  • Decrease training costs
  • Increase productivity
  • Ensure availability of skilled professionals
  • Improve community and employee relations

Partnering to Reduce Risk and Build Your Talent Pipeline

The talent gap is a national crisis that threatens America’s competitive edge. Franklin Apprenticeships is a consulting firm that partners with businesses and economic and workforce development agencies to offer custom learning programs that solve workforce supply issues.

Founded by professionals in the U.S. and U.K., the Franklin Apprenticeships team is passionate about applying the timeless practice of apprenticeships to create new training and retention solutions for employers.

For instance, Franklin Apprenticeships is currently working with the State of Missouri, the State of Maryland, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on new apprenticeship programs to close the IT talent gap for employers – Missouri Digital and Franklin Digital. Missouri has also released AutoMOtive!, a program focused on developing Automotive Service Technician talent. 

With each program, the States offer tax benefits or subsidies to lighten the costs of training and services so employers can focus on growth without the worry of recruitment, training, and program development costs – a win-win situation for all involved.

Discover how our apprenticeships can benefit your organization by visiting each program’s dedicated web page: AutoMOtive!, Franklin Digital, and Missouri Digital.