Apprentice Brigade is helping to solve socioeconomic problems in our community. While we will do some of the heavy lifting, as the proverb “It Takes a Village” goes, we can’t do it without support from our community. As our communities face gentrification, we need to empower our people to remain in the place they call home. While not everyone may be cut out for a tech job, we believe there is an ample supply of willing and able people who have aptitude and potential to work in the tech industry. There are a number of tech jobs on the Central Coast, with more employers moving into the region, and of course no shortage of jobs in nearby Silicon Valley.

Did you know that 69% of high school students enroll in college? Only 44% of those students enroll in a 4-year college. The US Census reports that only 33% of the population actually attain a college degree. The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) says that in 2017 only 63.4% of our population aged 25 – 54 enter the workforce without a traditional college education. To demonstrate why this is a problem in our region, additional EPI data shows that college grads on average earn 56% more than those with only a high school education.

While we encourage young people to obtain at least a 2-year degree, our local colleges offer technical curriculum in both Computer Science and Computer Information Systems which can be taken alacarte. These classes serve as prerequisite and ongoing education for the apprenticeship which can provide the 2-3 years of job experience most employers are looking for.

Unlike bootcamps or 4-year colleges which are expensive, apprenticeships instead provide a living wage with a twice annual pay increase. This allows the apprentice to cover living expenses while they learn a new career, and advancement as they progress through the educational process. For the potential employer this creates some practical problems in that the apprentice does not begin generating revenue for several months. There is also a “lost revenue” cost for the employer’s mentoring staff when they are providing training to the apprentice. This may make apprenticeships less attractive to employers, or limit the number of apprenticeships an employer could run concurrently.

We are taking a unique approach in the creation of a scalable apprenticeship program. With the help of the community, we believe we can fund all of the cost centers of the program, and work toward a self-sustaining model. This will require a combination of partnerships and investments. See where you fit in and how you can benefit.