Oct 16, 2018
When Nashville's new program to address demand for tech talent, Apprenti, launches in November, the class will be comprised of 15 Nashvillians seeking a new path to a highly paid field. They include a pharmacist from India, whose credentials didn't translate in the U.S., a former robotics operator and a truck driver who wants a career closer to home.
While the goal is to help these individuals succeed in the tech field, the Nashville Technology Council's Apprenti program initially was driven by employers' needs across each sector in Middle Tennessee.
The need for tech workers with tech skills spans far beyond a traditional technology company,” Nashville Tech Council CEO Brian Moyer said. “Every company in town is looking for that skill.
Nashville is home to more than a dozen colleges, but in many cases, graduates of those schools studying technology are not sticking around once they are trained. At Vanderbilt University, recent graduates with tech skills flocked to Washington, California and New York to work for IBM, Microsoft, Amazon, Google and Facebook. Those states attracted 58 tech graduates; Tennessee kept 12. Among overall graduates, most stayed in Tennessee or moved to New York.
The trend is what local employers have observed for years and what has spurred them to embrace the Apprenti model which calls on them to offer year-long, paid apprenticeships to participants. The salaries are below market rate, but allow apprentices to be paid as they learn. If successful, employers will retain the workers they train, allowing them to shift resources to training instead of recruiting.
Nashville Apprenti participants will receive three to six months of classroom training at the Nashville Software School before they begin their apprenticeships. The courses are funded by the Nashville Technology Council's foundation, not the students. They don't receive a stipend though, so they must still cover living expenses.