Introducing FutureTech

Apprenticeships are a better path to tech jobs

Today I’m excited to announce that I’m teaming up with Boys & Girls Club of Portland Metro (BGCP) to launch FutureTech — an apprenticeship initiative focused on creating pathways to high-paying tech jobs, that will break down barriers for women and underrepresented people of color.

I firmly believe that coding is a trade skill, and like other trade skills (carpentry, floristry, welding, etc) there are better paths to securing jobs that don’t require four-year degrees.

While apprenticeships have been a timely topic — with Salesforce CEO, Marc Benioff launching a massive apprenticeship effort and LinkedIn launching their REACH apprenticeship program — this has been a top priority for me since I launched Treehouse in 2010 and I’m thrilled to be creating an official program dedicated to this cause.

Stats around unfilled tech jobs in the U.S. are eye-opening …

  • There are 500,000 open jobs in tech, right now, that don’t require a college degree¹
  • These jobs are growing at twice the rate of all other jobs²
  • Salaries start at $50,000, with no paid experience and no college degree.³ After 3–5 years of experience salaries can increase to $100,000+
  • Computing jobs are the #1 source of wage growth in the USA²
  • There will be 1,300,000 new developer jobs created by 2027⁴

The brutal truth is that women and people of color are not getting these jobs in tech.

As you look at the above chart, keep US demographics in mind: 72 percent white, 16 percent Hispanic, 12.6 percent black, 4.8 percent Asian.

These numbers are not acceptable, so the goal of FutureTech is to

  1. Invest in diverse communities so they have access to these jobs
  2. Raise awareness among companies across the country about alternative routes for hiring qualified employees

Today, we are launching our first FutureTech program in Portland, Oregon, where I have been working closely with BGCP to identify teens who have expressed an interest in tech, however, either 1) don’t want to pursue a Computer Science degree or 2) cannot afford the hefty fees and debt associated with traditional two or four-year institutions.

The fact of the matter is this: you don’t need to go to college to learn the skills necessary to secure these high-paying tech jobs and Treehouse’s Techdegree program can get students from zero, to job ready in six months.

Jeremy is a great example of this new pathway. He didn’t get a college degree and is now a highly paid developer.

Here’s how the program works:

  1. BGCP recruits their members or alumni who are interested in a potential job in tech. To-date, they have recruited 20 students, the majority of which are women or people of color.
  2. These 20 participants will be asked to complete two beginner Treehouse Courses on HTML, CSS and JavaScript in order to help us determine who enjoys coding and wants to commit to learning for the six-month program.
  3. We will select 10 finalists who will begin the Techdegree course on June 19, 2017. This six month course can be done at times that are more convenient for the student (evenings, weekends, lunch breaks, etc) and typically takes about one hour per day. This way they can continue to support their loved ones, while learning.
  4. Folks in the program will be mentored on a weekly basis
  5. Upon completion of the Techdegree in January 2018, graduates will enter a 3-month paid apprenticeship with a local company. We have created an “Apprenticeship-in-a-box” which gives the company a playbook to follow to make the apprenticeship successful.
  6. After the apprentices are placed, BGCP will enroll them in a multi-year program to support them as they might be the only person of color or woman in their work environment, which can eventually drive them out of the job or field all together.
  7. Providing the apprenticeship is successful, the apprentices receive an offer of employment starting at $50,000/year, including healthcare coverage and other great benefits.

In order to fund this pipeline of talent, we’ve been speaking with local companies, identifying those that are seeking employees for tech-related roles. We ask that each business invest the $1,500 fee to provide a student with access to the Techdegree program, then agree to interview (and likely hire) a graduate as an apprentice, for $15/hour.

We are also working with the hiring companies to do internal training on Diversity & Inclusion, so they create a welcoming work culture to all colors and genders.

If this initiative sounds like something you support, but aren’t in a position to hire an apprentice, you can still invest in the apprentices here. A $1,500 investment will allow one person to get the education, mentorship and support they need to get an apprenticeship. However, every dollar counts and all donations will be put toward closing this hiring gap.

In the future, we hope to expand this program across the nation — partnering with a vast range of people interested in tech jobs across all types of industries, as well as local businesses in these cities who need skilled employees. Stay tuned for updates as the program progresses!

More questions? Please contact us!

Ryan Carson
Treehouse, Founder and CEO
ryan@teamtreehouse.com

Colleen Showalter
Boys & Girls Club, Sr. Director of Development
CShowalter@bgcportland.org

Sources

  1. obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/node/325231
  2. code.org
  3. launchcode.org
  4. https://twitter.com/Andela/status/859863659085955073