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In an effort to address the widening technology skills gap and put Americans to work, Woz Enterprise–a division of Woz U–and the University of Phoenix have partnered to launch a US Department of Labor Registered Apprenticeship Program. The program trains community college graduates in STEM fields with day-one skills and places them in entry-level apprenticeship jobs, while setting them on a path to earn a bachelor’s degree in an in-demand field, Woz Enterprise said.

SEE: The most in demand jobs and skills as a result of COVID-19 (TechRepublic)

The program offers seven tracks with key skills taught:

  • Software development – Java12 or .net core JavaScript, Angular SQL Server, Scrum/agile
  • End user computing – incident response, operating systems networks, VPN troubleshooting
  • Cybersecurity – monitoring/logging network appliances, penetration testing, network defense
  • Software testing – testing automation selenium, continuous integration, scripting
  • Application infrastructure – cloud hosting, AWS, Azure development, logging, monitoring
  • Network administration – network configuration, network monitoring, network diagram scripting
  • Application support – incident response logging, monitoring, querying, scripting, troubleshooting

The tech, education and government sectors needed to come together to make this happen, Woz Enterprise said.

“We have all heard about the tech talent gap. Hundreds of companies have been trying to address it, yet here we are in 2020, and the gap remains,” said Chris Coleman, president of Woz Enterprise, in a statement. “Truly offering relief to this talent-starved industry, at scale, requires collaboration from the private, education, and government sectors. This apprenticeship model is the game changer we have all been looking for.”

Through this program, apprentices learn while receiving a salary and gaining valuable work experience, according to Woz Enterprise, which builds and delivers the customized technology curricula that can result in credits toward a University of Phoenix Bachelor of Science in Information Technology (BSIT).

“This unique program comes at a critical time as companies today are looking for solutions to adapt the skills of their workforce to match the velocity of change of their businesses,” said Raghu Krishnaiah, chief operating officer at the University of Phoenix.

He said the partnership provides “an unprecedented education pathway that includes validated learning outcomes for community college graduates.”

The apprenticeship model launched this spring in 11 states in partnership with Infosys, a provider of digital, IT, and consulting services. Selected candidates completed an intensive, eight-week training program in one of the seven technology tracks to gain essential day-one skills to start a career with one of Woz Enterprise’s recruiting business partners.

Then they become full-time junior associates, and the individuals participate in a structured online learning program for 12 months, Woz Enterprise said. During this time, they continue working and earning a salary, which increases as they gain key competencies. Training hours can be applied for college credit at University of Phoenix, potentially shortening the time to obtain the BSIT.

“We believe it is a great value proposition for all involved, allowing us to supply quality training to meet the staffing needs of the technology industry in America while providing income and great, flexible higher education opportunities to individuals,” Coleman said. “We are embracing new perspectives and forming dynamic alliances to inject creativity and ingenuity in the technology sector.”

The company said it will build on this initial alliance with the University of Phoenix and Infosys to expand and broaden the scope of the apprenticeship program.