Worksystems Launches New IT Support Apprenticeship Program

October 16th, 2019

Worksystems is excited to launch a new apprenticeship program later this month that is designed to develop highly-skilled IT Support Specialists. The 1-year apprenticeship program, called the Northwest IT Apprenticeship, has been designed by local tech employers and aims to train unemployed or under-employed people for careers in IT Support. Worksystems plans to place 80 apprentices by January 2021 and is recruiting employers to participate in the program.

Local employers Bridgetech, IT Assurance, and Pacific Office Automation consulted on the program design and have signed up to employ the first batch of apprentices.  

Chris Harris, Co-founder and President of Bridgetech, explained why his company is participating, “As a self-taught IT person myself, I see tremendous potential in this program. The apprenticeship model systematically builds a person’s skills through technical training coupled with paid work experience. One of my missions at BridgeTech is to open career pathways; participating in developing the apprenticeship program was a great opportunity to further this vision by providing a year long framework for participants to grow into careers and succeed.”

Kevan Acker, Director of IT Operations for Pacific Office Automation, added, “This program can produce a skilled and knowledgeable IT Support person in a really short time period. It complements my company’s existing talent development program and will benefit other organizations in the region.”

To qualify for the program, prospective apprentices must first obtain a CompTIA A+ certification and be sponsored by a participating employer. Once accepted into the program, apprentices work full time, get paid with benefits, receive additional training, and obtain additional industry-recognized credentials in networking and server technologies. 

Don Bosart, SQA and IT Manager for Vernier Systems, had this to say, “Apprenticeship is an ideal format to bring someone into a technical role because it allows you to apply what you’ve learned on the job right away. On top of that, these apprentices are going to get a really marketable set of certifications on top of the A+ certification.”

According to labor market information from Worksystems, there will be more than 5,000 IT infrastructure job openings in the next 10 years due to new positions created and workers leaving the workforce due to retirement. “With this program, we hope to produce workers with a really strong foundation in IT fundamentals. In a few years, these apprentices will have the knowledge and experience to move on to higher skilled jobs in IT,” said Kei Ishida, Tech Sector Lead for Worksystems.

Employers participating in the program can receive funds to cover the training cost of the apprenticeship as well administrative support through Worksystems. This cost is covered by TechRisePDX, a program designed to prepare young people from under-represented backgrounds for technology jobs. TechRisePDX is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Increasing diversity in the tech field is particularly appealing to Zac Cramer, CEO of IT Assurance. “Although women were the first computer pioneers, for decades the IT industry has struggled to attract and keep a diverse workforce. Programs like this open the door for a wide array of candidates to enter and succeed in an IT career. The benefit goes beyond the candidates, though, it’s also great for our existing team members. Often mentoring new employees is a first step towards a leadership role for a team member, and frankly it’s a delight to have energetic, excited, new IT people around!” said Cramer.

Employers interested in participating in the Northwest IT Apprenticeship can contact Kei Ishida for more information.