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NexusLA launches Louisiana’s first IT apprenticeship program in Baton Rouge

November 01, 2018
By: Robert Ksiazkiewicz

NexusLA announced the launch of Apprenti Louisiana –  the state’s first registered information technology (IT) apprenticeship program. NexusLA, a Research Park Corporation subsidiary, will partner with Apprenti to support the program. Apprenti, a Seattle-based apprenticeship model, was launched in 2015 by the Washington Technology Industry Association and is now expanding in communities across the U.S.

Once approved by the Louisiana State Apprenticeship Council, the first cohort will start coursework by January of 2019. During the 15 month program, participants will receive between three to six months of classroom instruction and one year of on-the-job training. In the first cohort, those that finish the program will earn Network+, Security+, and Certified Ethical Hacker credentials to help participants become cybersecurity analysts/information security analysts.

While the first cohort will focus on cybersecurity, future cohorts will help prepare participants for careers in IT support, software development and system administration. The needs of participating companies will help determine the credentials that cohort participants receive. In addition, leaders intend for the program to expand to other cities across the state such as New Orleans and Lafayette.

Due to the “earn while you learn” structure of apprenticeships, participants will receive compensation during their training with initial training wages beginning at $35,000 for the first six months and increasing to over $43,000 for the remaining 9 months of the program.

While the program requires that participants be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma to apply for the program, Genevieve Silverman, president and CEO of Research Park Corporation, says applicants are judged on their aptitude, attitude and cultural fit with the technology sector and company.

In an interview with SSTI, Silverman provided advice to other organizations interested in launching similar tech apprenticeship programs. She recommended partnering with a national organization such as Apprenti to help control costs. While there are still financial commitments to partner with Apprenti and other associated costs, Silverman highlighted that to build the program without of the support of national partner would lead to a significantly larger finical investment in the development of the program’s platform, curriculum, and other elements. Through the cost savings associated with the national partnership, she highlighted that NexusLA and its local partner can commit more financial resources to help support cohort participants.

Silverman also said that Apprenti was very helpful in helping address the regulatory requirements and other hurdles of launching a registered apprenticeship program. When first considering an apprenticeship program, NexusLA considered developing their own program. However, in addition to the costs, they realized that the organization lacked the institutional knowledge to launch a registered apprenticeship program. Through the national partnership, NexusLA was able to leverage Apprenti’s expertise to work through the registered apprenticeship process.

Other partners in the program include Louisiana Workforce Commission, the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, and four corporate partners including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana, TraceSecurity, General Informatics and EATEL Business. The program also was made possible in part due to funding from the U.S. Department of Labor.

 

 

Louisianaworkforce, apprenticeship