Oregon’s First Journey Level Software Developers


(L-R) 2018 Apprenti Graduates Sharon Miller, Alex Hanson and Connor Crossley | Photo courtesy of East Cascades Works

Central Oregon graduates of Apprenti, the state’s first registered tech apprenticeship program, are now training on the job with two of the area’s most well know companies. After completing five and a half months of in-class training at Central Oregon Community College, these apprentices will continue their program requirements as an employee for the next twelve months. Upon completion, graduates will be Oregon’s first journey-level Software Developers.

According to a forecast by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a surge of over 1.3 million new computer programming and computer support specialist jobs by 2022. Software developers have the highest occupational growth with a 40 percent increase over the next ten years. Five Talent and CBT Nuggets, now employing all of the apprentices, see Apprenti as a way to meet business demand for skilled workers in the midst of continued growth in the tech industry.

“The market is extremely tight for software developers. Graduates from the Apprenti program will help us address our hiring needs and will be an integral part of our ongoing growth strategy,” said Preston Callicott, CEO of Five Talent.

Apprenti, started by the Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA) in 2016, continues to gain traction nationally. East Cascades Works (EC Works) saw Apprenti as a natural fit for Central Oregon early on.

“We became interested in bringing Apprenti to Central Oregon after hearing about their initial success in providing industry recognized training,” said Heather Ficht, executive director of EC Works. “We knew that it was a must when we learned that they have a very specific focus on providing training to underrepresented groups, women, minorities and veterans.

In partnership with Technology Association of Oregon, Heather Ficht and her team at East Cascades Works, identified and secured funding and support in order to bring Apprenti to Central Oregon. Once here, they worked to secure a training provider equipped to deliver the 22 week certified technical training. They were successful in their search, ultimately partnering with Central Oregon Community College Continuing Education (COCC CE). DevStation | COCC also offers non-credit basic to advanced Software Development courses for individuals absolutely new to programming to professionals looking to learn advanced skills.

 “Apprenti was a perfect fit for COCC Continuing Education because it gives us an opportunity to partner with East Cascades Works to address technology industry workforce demand in close cooperation with the employers,” said Rachel Knox, program manager for COCC CE. “Apprenti allows for collaboration where COCC can support the success of students in a short period of time and allows employer the opportunity to hire locally the diverse employees with the skill set required.

Once the apprentices demonstrate the required competencies and completes their course work, they begin working and training on the job as a junior software developer for one year of full-time employment. During the first six months they are paid 70 percent of the salary of a full-time software developer, which increases to 80 percent during the remaining months. At the end of the 12 months they are considered journey-level software developers and continue full-time, at full salary with their current employer.

Apprenti is a great opportunity for individuals 18 or older looking to pursue their first career in software development or for those looking to make a career change. While experience is not necessary, Apprenti is a hybrid competency and time-based program, therefore individuals interested in participating, must have a strong determination to completing the rigorous training program.

 “I chose the Apprenti program because it offered the incredible opportunity to pursue a career in technology,” said Sharon Miller, Apprenti 2018 graduate. I had spent the past ten years working from home as a graphic designer and raising my three children. I was looking to get back into the mainstream workforce and realized my skills were somewhat limiting me. I was very interested in software development as it would give me the opportunity use my design skills and desire to solve problems to create and customize websites and software applications. Apprenti offered to provide the technical training and partnered with Five Talent to offer a year-long apprenticeship to further my skills. This was unheard of in Central Oregon prior to this program.”

The next Software Development course at COCC is scheduled to begin in September 2019. If you or someone you know in interested in a career as a software developer in the Bend area, applying for the programs is simple.

If you are an employer and are interested in hiring an apprentice, contact Teri Hockett at teri.hockett@techoregon.org




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