In this episode of The Forum Podcast Irma Olguin Jr. (Bitwise Industries) and Michelle Skoor (Bitwise Industries) explore how the tech industry could use paid apprenticeships to approach systemic inequities in the tech industry and curb generational poverty.

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The tech industry has a workforce shortage and a major problem with the lack of diversity within its ranks. If companies look for talent in new places, they will find many people from underserved communities to fill these roles. The challenge is that many of these people can’t access the education needed to enter the industry. So how do we upskill people who can’t afford traditional training programs?

The simple answer is: Pay them to learn. Using the budget for existing IT projects, companies can instead build apprenticeship programs or work with firms that leverage apprentices to build the software. This allows people, who would otherwise have no way to afford training, to acquire hands-on technical experience.

Tech, as one of the fastest-growing industries, has the ability to change the lives of some of the most vulnerable in the U.S. When the tech industry leverages apprenticeship programs, people who were trapped in poverty have access to high-wage, high-growth jobs.

Learning Outcomes
  • Understand how companies that use apprentices benefit the most from the arrangement
  • See how having a diverse workforce leads to innovation and is a competitive advantage
  • Learn that apprentices can build infrastructure for outdated IT platforms while escaping systemic poverty

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