Apprenti Cincinnati

Apprenti Cincinnati

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See how you can easily and quickly switch to a tech career -- at no cost to you -- through a registered apprenticeship with technical training and paid, on-the-job experience.

Where you’re headed, not where you’ve been. That’s the focus for Apprenti Cincinnati, a registered apprenticeship program designed to recruit and train professionals — based on their aptitude, not their background — helping to fill Greater Cincinnati’s shortage of skilled tech talent.

“We take individuals that have different backgrounds and help move them into careers in technology,” says Apprenti Cincinnati director, Christina Misali. “In about a year and a half, you can completely switch careers and take on no tuition debt in the process.”

Apprenti Cincinnati was brought to the region through the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber and the CIO Roundtable. Thanks to a generous investment by JPMorgan Chase and support from the Duke Energy Foundation, they’re leading this tech talent collaborative designed to expand and diversify the region’s IT workforce. Since the program launched in February 2019, Apprenti Cincinnati has placed 46 talented professionals into a variety of IT roles.

Maria Konerman is one of those professionals. “I was working in non-profit management. I started to realize it wasn’t a good fit for me,” recalls Konerman, now an Associate Application Analyst/Developer at Great American Insurance Group. “I just had this nagging voice that I wanted to pursue a career in IT.” 

At first, Konerman says, thinking about a career change, the education costs and starting from scratch in a new field seemed too daunting. That is, until Apprenti Cincinnati made her dream a reality. “I could not be more grateful to have this opportunity. It’s changed my life and I’ll always be profoundly grateful,” she says. “Sometimes I wake up and get on my computer to do my development work and I can’t believe it. I’m like ‘How did I even get here?'”

Konerman, like many other candidates and apprentices like her, got there through Apprenti Cincinnati’s non-traditional solution to drive more tech talent in and to the Cincinnati region. Apprenti was launched by the Washington Technology Industry Association, headquartered out of Seattle, in 2016. It now has multiple locations across the country with more than 1,000 apprentices placed in a variety of tech roles.

To get started, candidates take the aptitude assessment to measure math, soft skills and critical thinking abilities. Then, there’s a multi-level screening process. “The entire process can be 3-5 weeks. Some, we talk to over a six month period,” says Misali. “It depends on where our employers are in their hiring process and where the candidates are in their career journey. We meet people where they are.” 

After interviewing with an employer, the apprentices participate in certified technical training ranging from 10-15 weeks through one of several local training partners: Cincinnati State, Tech Elevator, MAX Technical Training, Per Scholas, Kable Academy and the University of Cincinnati.

After training, they start work with their hiring partner – local employers, such as Kroger Technology, Procter & Gamble, CVG and Great American Insurance Group. Employers pay for the technical training and continue to educate their apprentices through paid on-the-job training for one year. Roles currently offered include: software developers, IT business analysts, network security professionals, IT support admins, cloud specialists, cybersecurity analyst and more.

Local employers are eager to fill their tech positions, Misali says. In fact, more than 37,950 IT roles were posted in the Cincinnati Region in 2019. Apprenti Cincinnati works with companies large and small to fill open positions with tech-interested individuals, regardless of educational or professional background. 

Recent events have only accelerated this need. “We’re depending even more on tech for everything. People are finding themselves unemployed or they’re thinking about what really matters to them and reconsidering career choices,” Misali says. “We help companies lean in to meet demands of un- and underemployed professionals, and we help candidates who have more than ever on their plates step toward a new career.”

According to Misali, 46 percent of Apprenti Cincinnati apprentices were unemployed for less than 27 weeks prior to starting the program. “That leads to a municipal investment for the region as the average salary post-graduation in our area is $50-70k,” she adds, “Some people are seeing over 100 percent increase in earnings. And we have 100 percent retention to date for our region.”

Apprenti Cincinnati also helps to diversify employer’s candidate pipeline. “Women, minorities and veterans are a focus for this program. We’ve placed apprentices from age 18-49. Our inaugural class was 55% women,” Misali explains. “Given everything going on in the world right now, especially with recent racial injustices, employers can partner with Apprenti to increase diversity within their tech teams. This is a community. This has always been about offering support.”

Apprenti Cincinnati is for the broadest range of candidates possible – no IT experience is required, just interest, aptitude, and work ethic. To learn more, or register, visit apprenticareers.org.

Amy Scalia
Publisher & CEO - Amy Scalia, a Cincinnati native, is the editor in chief and publisher of Cincy Chic. Send her an e-mail at ascalia@cincychic.com. From growing up in the cornfields of Harrison and getting a Mass Communications B.A. degree in the bubble of Oxford, to living on the NKY side of the river in Newport and then Ft. Thomas, Amy Scalia has embraced Cincinnati with her presence. Her major life accomplishments include: being a mom of two girls and a boy, a 2010 "40 Under 40" recipient from the Cincinnati Business Courier, winning the "Best New Product/Service of the Year" Award from the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce and a national Web-writing award from ASHPE in 2007, a national feature writing award from ASBPE in 2006, and running three Flying Pig Marathons.

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