A new partnership among companies and organizations has formed to increase the number of technology apprenticeships offered in the greater Milwaukee area.
The MKE Tech Hub Coalition has partnered with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development’s Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards as well as Apprenti, a Seattle-based apprenticeship program to build the region’s tech workforce.
Apprenti will be launching operations in Milwaukee as part of the partnership. The company will provide training for the apprentices before they transition to local employers for on-the-job training.
The DWD’s Registered Apprenticeship program offers apprenticeships in a variety of occupational areas including agriculture, finance, health care, industrial/manufacturing, information technology, service and utilities. The program allows individuals to earn a wage and college credit while learning a trade.
The Department of Labor recently awarded DWD a $9 million grant to expand its apprenticeship program. Wisconsin was one of 12 states to receive additional funding to support its apprenticeship efforts that go above and beyond the basic structure, according to a DWD press release.
Since launching four years ago, Apprenti has placed over 1,000 apprentices across 16 markets, according to a press release. Of those, 62% are people of color, 48% are veterans, almost 25% are women, and 14% are people with disabilities.
“Building capacity for registered technology apprenticeships is a critical strategy for increasing the diversity of our tech workforce and demonstrates a collective commitment to develop local tech talent.” said Laura Schmidt, chief talent development officer, Milwaukee Tech Hub Coalition.
the MKE Tech Hub Coalition was launched in October of 2019 by six founding companies – Northwestern Mutual, Kohl’s Corp., Rockwell Automation, Advocate Aurora Health, Johnson Controls and Accenture. These companies pledged to fund the nonprofit coalition with a combined $5 million two-year commitment.
The primary goal of the coalition is to double the tech workforce in southeastern Wisconsin by 2025 to fulfill the tech talent requirements of employers as well as drive economic success and innovation in the region.
The coalition has grown to 57 members including Milwaukee Tool, We Energies, American Family Insurance and Molson Coors.
“We are especially grateful to member employers, many of whom have already signed the MMAC Region of Choice pledge, for being a part of building this program together,” Schmidt said. “We are simply unable to advance key talent development strategies without employer support.”