One way the Labor Department is bolstering the U.S. technology workforce
Under a grant from the Labor Department, the technology trade group known as CompTIA, the Computing Technology Industry Association, has been working to establish technology apprenticeships. The general aim is to help fill workforce gaps in both government and industry. For details the Federal Drive with Tom Temin turned to CompTIA’s Senior Vice President for Workforce Relations Amy Kardel.
Tom Temin: Ms. Kardel, good to have you on.
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Amy Kardel: Good to be with you, Tom.
Tom Temin: Tell us what you’re doing here. IT workforce, is that beyond simply cybersecurity, because everybody’s chasing the cybersecurity workforce?
Amy Kardel: It sure is. So computer careers, obviously are quality jobs and as a trade association for the IT industry we’re really excited to have a contract with the U.S. Department of Labor with a partner, American Institutes of Research, to expand tech apprenticeships across the U.S.
Tom Temin: What is a tech apprenticeship versus an internship versus just an entry-level wire puller?
Amy Kardel: You’re so right to ask that question. An apprenticeship is an entry-level trainee job. It has three components: You have a mentor showing you how to do things, some things are best learned by doing including cyber and IT; you have a classroom instruction component; and you have a learn-by-doing work experience. So that three-legged stool makes it an apprenticeship. It’s a job, but it’s a trainee job. And this changes the mindset of tech employers from being people who buy talent, poach it from other employers, to people who train talent. And that’s really our big goal here is to make the pipeline bigger into entry-level tech jobs.
Tom Temin: Alright, so you’re CompTIA, you have member companies and they have needs, how does this all work functionally?
Amy Kardel: We address the needs of our members and have the certifications to go with that. The A+ certification, network certification, network+ and security+ are those training certifications that people work through to prove their competencies in these apprenticeships and in our industry. So our member companies are hungry to hire. We publish a report and it’s no secret that shows the gap of supply and demand in these key industries. And we’re trying to meet that gap with quality jobs that pay well and have upward mobility.