Digital Workforce Apprenticeship FAQ

Participant

What is ASU’s Digital Workforce Apprenticeship Partnership?

In February 2020, Arizona State University, named the most innovative university in the United States by U.S. News and World Report for five consecutive years, was awarded a $2M grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to increase apprenticeship opportunities for all American’s through the Apprenticeships: Closing the Skills Gap grant program. This grant is being managed by the W. P. Carey School of Business at ASU, and is a collaboration of several departments of the university.

ASU and its industry partners, through the creation of the Digital Workforce Apprenticeship Partnership (DWAP) will address the acute need for a skilled Information Technology workforce.

Our programs will specifically focus on programs leading to high-skilled, high-wage jobs in the field, including cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.

What is an apprenticeship? How is it different from an internship?

An apprenticeship is an industry-driven, high-quality career pathway where employers can develop and prepare their future workforce, and individuals can obtain paid work experience, guidance from a workplace mentor, classroom instruction, and a portable, nationally-recognized credential.

Although both internships and apprenticeships can lead to university credit, an apprenticeship is typically much more structured than a traditional internship. Apprenticeships are longer-term arrangements, requiring at minimum one year of participation. They also include a structured training plan, with a focus on mastering specific skills an employer needs to fill an occupation within their organization. Apprentices receive individualized training with an experienced mentor, and all apprenticeships must lead to an industry-recognized credential. Unlike internships, apprenticeships are always paid and more frequently lead to full-time employment.

Am I eligible to participate in the Digital Workforce Apprenticeship Partnership?

The Digital Workforce Apprenticeship Partnership (DWAP) program is for anyone looking for a pathway to a career in tech, IT, or programming. If you are 17 years or older, have a high school-level education or GED, and are eligible to work in the United States for the duration of the program, you are eligible to apply.

Characteristics of successful candidates include a willingness to learn new and complex skills, adaptability to new challenges and technologies, motivation, determination, and effective communication with people from a broad range of diverse backgrounds.

How many apprenticeships are available?

The number of apprenticeships and availability are fully determined by the needs of our employer partners. We will continue to add more opportunities on a rolling basis as we develop more partnerships and apprenticeship programs.

You are welcome to apply at any time of year, and we will assist you through the process when a position is available.

What type of positions are available?

Apprenticeship positions can be in areas including but not limited to: computer support specialist, data analyst, dev ops engineer, system administrator, cybersecurity engineer, network engineer, network administrator, database administrator, information security analyst, web developer, software developer and more.

Can I choose which apprenticeship program I apply to?

Yes, you can select which occupation types you are most interested in when filling out the application. Please only select occupations which you would be willing to join. We will look at these selections and your ranking when selecting candidates to interview.

Please note that should any employer require a specific geographic location to participate in the apprenticeship program, that will be a high priority consideration in the process.

Can I apply for an apprenticeship as a current college or university student?

Yes, if you are currently in progress of a degree program, you are welcome to apply for an apprenticeship position.

What type of training will I receive as an apprentice?

An apprenticeship consists of both academic instruction and on the job training. DWAP will assist employers in mapping their desired skills and abilities to academic instruction opportunities available within ASU to fulfill the academic instruction piece. These academic courses may be building toward undergraduate or graduate degrees, for-credit courses, non-credit courses, or coursework for a specific industry recognized credential.

On the job training will be structured by the employer’s targeted job description and competency requirements. Additionally, apprentices will have access to mentors at the place of employment and/or the university to provide additional high-skill training specific to their roles.

Is the apprenticeship guaranteed for one year?

Yes, apprenticeship programs are guaranteed to be at least one year in length. Please note that you will be regularly assessed to ensure you are meeting workplace performance and academic standards. You will have access to ASU support services as well.

How much do apprentices earn?

Employers will pay apprentices a training wage that is typically a bit lower than a full-time position in the IT role. These rates are reduced from the normal rate of pay for that occupation in recognition of the fact that you are still learning the job. You may receive a raise if you continue to meet competency requirements over the duration of the program. Depending on the employer and full-time status, apprentices may also be entitled to health and dental benefits over the course of their job training and potentially other company standard benefits such as 401k retirement savings, tuition reimbursement, or a health care savings account.

How much does the program cost?

If your program’s academic instructional component includes university credit-bearing courses, you would be asked to cover the cost of obtaining those university credits. However, depending on your apprenticeship program, these costs may be alleviated through employer assistance, federal aid, scholarships, or other means. The DWAP team is available to assist you in finding recommendations for funding.

Am I guaranteed a full-time position at the company after completing an apprenticeship?

Although many employers use their apprenticeship programs to onboard new employees, employers are not required to retain their graduated apprentices. However, completing the apprenticeship program will provide you with an industry-recognized credential and high-level work experience that can be leveraged to secure employment.

As a participant of the program, you will have access to ASU’s Career Management support services as well. Additionally, if you are not offered a full-time permanent role at your apprenticeship location, you may be eligible to apply for roles with other DWAP employer partners.

Employer Partner

What is ASU’s Digital Workforce Apprenticeship Partnership?

In February 2020, Arizona State University, named the most innovative university in the United States by U.S. News and World Report for five consecutive years, was awarded a $2M grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to increase apprenticeship opportunities for all American’s through the Apprenticeships: Closing the Skills Gap grant program. This grant is being managed by the W. P. Carey School of Business at ASU, and is a collaboration of several departments of the university.

ASU and its industry partners, through the creation of the Digital Workforce Apprenticeship Partnership (DWAP) will address the acute need for a skilled Information Technology workforce.

Our programs will specifically focus on high-skilled, high-wage jobs in the field, including cybersecurity and artificial intelligence. Together, we will promote the large-scale expansion of apprenticeships across the nation for ASU students, current employees, and new learners to address key talent acquisition needs of employers of all sizes.

How does the Digital Workforce Apprenticeship Partnership work with employers?

Our DWAP team will meet with you and your organization’s implementation team to discuss your current and future employment needs, organizational directives, and any potential solutions an apprenticeship program may provide. We are able to find instructional materials within ASU to build out the apprenticeship program, and can also discuss how your organization can structure the on-the-job learning experience that apprentices will complete. Together, we will establish the competencies required for apprentices to successfully complete their experience.

As the Sponsor and the Educator of the apprenticeship, ASU will work directly with the Department of Labor to complete the apprenticeship registration process for you and ensure that all requirements are met. ASU will also provide the educational components required for the apprenticeship program.

Throughout the apprenticeship, our team will stay in regular contact to provide any support you may need.

What is an apprenticeship? How does it differ from an internship?

An apprenticeship is an industry-driven, high-quality career pathway where employers can develop and prepare their future workforce, and individuals can obtain paid work experience, guidance from a workplace mentor, classroom instruction, and a portable, nationally-recognized credential.

Although both internships and apprenticeships can lead to university credit, an apprenticeship is typically much more structured than a traditional internship. Apprenticeships are longer-term arrangements, requiring at minimum one year of participation. They also include a structured training plan, with a focus on mastering specific skills an employer needs to fill an occupation within their organization. Apprentices receive individualized training with an experienced mentor, and all apprenticeships must lead to an industry-recognized credential. Unlike internships, apprenticeships are always paid and more frequently lead to full-time employment.

What is a registered apprenticeship?

A Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) is a proven model of apprenticeship that has been validated by the U.S. Department of Labor or a State Apprenticeship Agency.

RAPs enable and energize more employers to participate and provide them access to larger talent pools that have been trained for entry-level to management positions, thereby meeting industry demands and reducing unemployment rates across the country.

RAPs also offer benefits to employers, such as technical assistance from the Apprenticeship Office at no charge, confirmation of quality standards measured on a national level, recruiting incentives for populations such as veterans which may receive an additional stipend for participation, and access to federal resources from other programs. Additionally, in several states, businesses can qualify for tax credits by running RAPs.

Why should our company work with the ASU Digital Workforce Apprenticeship Partnership?

Arizona State University is the largest and most innovative public research university in the U.S. that has long been at the forefront of new ways of educating and promoting success. The university works hard to create ways for students to get the most out of their time at the university, whether it's using technology creatively or providing unique research and funding opportunities.

After being awarded the Apprenticeships: Closing the Skills Gap grant in February of 2020, the Digital Workforce Apprenticeship Partnership team has worked hard to build connections with government, employer, and community group partners to develop and structure the program for multiple pathways of apprenticeships. We are committed to working with our employer partners in highly individualized ways to develop the programs that meet their needs.

What other benefits are there in this program?

The Apprenticeships: Closing the Skills Gap grant is very focused on diversity and inclusion, particularly in fields such as IT that can have high barriers to entry. Arizona State University’s New American University model closely matches this core mission, defining itself not by who it excludes, but who it includes and how they succeed. We strongly believe that the apprenticeship model can help bridge that gap in providing opportunity to underrepresented populations in the U.S., to offer training, education, and certifications that open doors in IT careers while earning a salary.

If your organization is looking to diversify its talent pipeline and promote diversity, equity and inclusion, an apprenticeship program operated by the #1 university in innovation can be the perfect solution to meet those needs. Beyond that, apprenticeships can have a positive effect on individuals, companies, and the community overall.

Apprenticeship programs support social mobility by creating new and accessible routes into stable, highly-skilled and well-paying jobs. A central focus of the Department of Labor’s Apprenticeships: Closing the Skills Gap grant is to create opportunities for underrepresented populations such as veterans, women, people of color, and ex-offenders. Apprenticeships can reduce the skills gap that our country currently faces in the IT sector, while simultaneously offering opportunities to those that may otherwise face barriers in entering the field. Aligning with ASU’s pillars of access, excellence, and impact, we can enable the next generations of highly skilled, talented IT workers and future leaders to bring momentous positive change and prosperity to our society.

Is involvement restricted to Arizona only?

No. Thanks to the large portfolio of high-quality online learning degrees and certificates already developed by Arizona State University, we are able to support apprenticeship programs in any region of the United States. Apprentices will be able to complete the academic instructional component of their apprenticeship program remotely and asynchronously via online learning.

How can my company become an employer partner?

If you are interested in arranging a one-on-one meeting with our team, please contact digitalapprenticeships@asu.edu and we can arrange an initial meeting to discuss your organization’s focus area and opportunities.

What do employer partners need to do?

After working with our team to develop the apprenticeship program together, an employer partner would commit to supporting the program. The apprenticeships must be at least one year in length, with 2000 hours of on the job learning. Apprentices must be paid at or above the prevailing minimum wage. Apprentices also require mentorship that DWAP can assist in establishing. The DWAP team will maintain regular contact with employer partners throughout the apprenticeship to assist with any program support or modifications. The DWAP team will collect information from the employer partners quarterly in order to report on the program’s progress to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Is an apprentice considered to be a full company employee? How are they compensated?

Apprentices are hired as full employees of the organization. Depending on existing policies, apprentices would also be eligible for the same benefits as other employees in their role. You as the employer would determine the best training wage to compensate these apprentices, and the Digital Workforce Apprenticeship Partnership team can also assist with helping to identify a target compensation or appropriate job classification for the apprenticeship role if needed.

What type of training does an apprentice do?

An apprenticeship consists of both academic instruction and on the job training. DWAP will assist employers in mapping their desired skills and abilities to academic instruction opportunities available within ASU to fulfill the academic instruction piece. These academic courses may be building toward undergraduate or graduate degrees, for-credit courses, non-credit courses, or coursework for a specific industry recognized credential. On the job training will be structured by the employer’s targeted job description and competency requirements. Additionally, apprentices will have access to mentors at the place of employment and/or the university to provide additional high-skill training specific to their roles.

Are employers required to hire apprentices after they complete the apprenticeship program?

Employers are not required to hire their apprentices after completion of the program. Employment at the conclusion of apprenticeship is entirely dependent on the employer’s needs. However, employers find that their investment in job-specific training does pay off and statistically 94% of apprentices remain employed at their apprenticeship employer 6 months following the program’s completion.

What kind of jobs can the Digital Workforce Apprenticeship Partnership help me fill at my organization?

The Digital Workforce Apprenticeship Partnership is focused on creating registered apprenticeships in IT, including in areas of high need. We are able to create apprenticeship standards with specific competencies identified to match your needs. We can develop apprenticeships for any IT positions in any industry.

Positions can be made in areas including but not limited to: computer support specialist, data analyst, dev ops engineer, system administrator, cybersecurity engineer, network engineer, network administrator, database administrator, information security analyst, web developer, software developer and more.

Can the apprenticeship program be used to upskill or reskill current employees?

Absolutely. Apprenticeships can be used for incumbent workers, and are very successful models for filling skills gaps across the organization and in planning for skills gaps that can occur due to retirement, departmental layoffs or mergers and acquisitions.

How much does it cost to develop an apprenticeship program with the ASU Digital Workforce Apprenticeship Partnership?

Nothing at all. The Department of Labor Apprenticeships: Closing the Skills Gap grant was awarded to Arizona State University and partly funds the creation and development of apprenticeship programs. Our team will work with you to develop a program that fits your needs, have that program registered with the Department of Labor, and launch that program at no cost to you as the employer. As part of the program, you will pay the wages of the apprentices you hire. You may choose to provide additional support for education expenses which the apprentices will otherwise be expected to pay.

How would an apprenticeship program save my organization money?

Registered apprenticeships are a Department of Labor protected wage class that allows for a lower pay in exchange for investing in the training of workers who are not yet fully qualified for their positions. Employers are free to set apprentice pay anywhere between the state minimum wage and their regular starting salary for the role based on their desired level of savings. The ability to implement wage increases as the apprentice builds skill toward the normal qualifications for the position ultimately comes at a lower cost than hiring a full-time employee.

Studies show a huge return-on-investment from registered apprenticeship programs. Apprentices are 94% more likely to remain employed with a company long-term, reducing recruitment and turnover costs for employers. The ASU Digital Workforce Apprenticeship Partnership is also working with community programs with additional grants and services, employer tax credits where applicable, and other sources in order to pass those savings on to participating employer partners.