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Talent Management -- the ability to consistently recruit, hire, train, and retain qualified people -- is a need that is shared by every American organization of every type. You need the right talent, whether you're picking teams for a game of kickball or selecting staffers to develop the next great app.  Indeed, the demand for talent exists irrespective of the sector, industry, size or nature of the entity -- and poses significant challenges regardless of the strength of the economy at any given time.

The universality of this challenge is reflected in any number of places:  PWC's Annual Global CEO Survey ("63% of CEOs are concerned about finding talent with the right skills"), Korn Ferry's Global Human Resources Officers 2019 Pulse Survey ("46% of respondents say that talent management is top strategic priority"), and the Society of Human Resources Management's 2019 Skills Gap Survey (83% of respondents report difficulty recruiting suitable candidates) are just a few.

While every company struggles with Talent Management, the needs are particularly acute with respect to tech jobs:

First, there is a huge number of unfilled tech roles across the country. Technology has become an integral part of every business, which means that both tech and non-tech companies struggle to meet their needs. The average annual number of unfilled tech roles since 2012 has been 2.4 million, and we expect to learn that this number ballooned to over 3 million in 2019. The average replacement rate for tech jobs is projected at 7.5% annually, or almost 600,000 jobs, meaning that the anticipated tech workforce needs will exceed 8.5 million by 2026.

Second, the concept of "degree inflation" -- the belief that individuals need a college degree is all-too-prevalent in the tech sector.  The requirement for 4-year degrees for roles that simply do not require them is self-defeating -- employers who do so shrink their pool of talent to the roughly 35% of the U.S. population that possess college degrees.

Third, far too many companies not only require 4-year degrees but also only recruit specific types of degrees from a limited number of colleges, which shrinks the talent base even further.

Fourth, state investments in education and training have not kept pace with the tech talent need.  Therefore, salaries rise from a much larger demand compared to available talent -- and it excludes entire populations who should have access to these open jobs.

All of the above have significant and widespread consequences, including: 

  • hindering the nation’s overall tech capabilities, productivity, and competitiveness on the global scene;
  • eroding the strength of the U.S. IT “ecosystem”; 
  • hampering individual companies’ access to the broadest possible pools of talent; 
  • impeding individual companies’ efficiency and growth because of the competition for the same narrowly-defined – and therefore shallow -- pool of tech talent;  
  • frustrating communities’ economic and workforce development efforts; 
  • preventing talented, experienced, non-degreed individuals from accessing jobs that provide a decent standard of living; and
  • disproportionately hurting underrepresented and/or underemployed populations (e.g., Blacks and Hispanics, age 25 years and older, etc.) with graduation rates lower than the national average.

In short, the traditional path to IT jobs is woefully failing to meet a demand that isn’t going away. While the coronavirus pandemic will have a significant impact on our nation’s economy and job market, we believe that the tech sector will take a lesser hit than will other sectors and that the tech job market will remain strong. The gap between available tech jobs and the number of college graduates qualified to perform these jobs will only continue to grow. 

Our national challenge, therefore, is to find new ways, outside the traditional college STEM path, to identify, train, and re-train the IT workforce of the future. Fortunately, WTIA’s Workforce Institute has identified a very successful and more practical path toward meeting organizations’ tech talent needs: apprenticeships. 

In short, our program 1) greatly expands the pipeline of new and existing talent, 2) helps equip that talent with the requisite skills, and 3) delivers that talent to organizations, all in about a quarter of the time it takes an individual to earn a STEM college degree.  It’s a solution worthy of another Michael Lewis (Moneyball, The Blind Side) book about the revolutionary benefits of taking a disruptive approach to the traditional identification of talent.  Learn more at 



Choose a market to explore:

Home to giants like Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, and thousands of other world-class employers of technology talent, the beautiful Seattle metropolitan area is the fastest growing tech hub in the United States, and the second-ranked market for tech talent overall.  The “Emerald City” region is a critical center of innovation helping to transform our world and society.

Seattle’s tech labor pool grew by 20% between 2012 and 2017 and shows no signs of slowing down.  Indeed, companies continue to relocate to the Seattle area to take advantage of the area’s rich mine of talent.  This increase in demand creates at least two significant challenges for employers: the need for a larger, more sustainable supply of talent, and the ability to retain that talent.

Apprenti began in Seattle and helps companies meet the rapidly growing demand for talented, capable, and diverse tech talent for hard-to-fill roles like Software Developers, IT Business Analysts, Cybersecurity Analysts, and more!  And with retention rates in the mid-80% range, the Apprenti Program helps employers to stay off the poaching carousel. 

2019-2020 private healthcare annual cost increase: 8% (U.S. average: 7.4%) 
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Cloud Operations Specialist

Seattle MSA

Cloud Operations Specialist 1:  Supports business’s cloud infrastructure and relies heavily on data, networking, and systems administration skills.  Typical certification sequence: CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Linux+.

Cloud Operations Specialist 2:  Adds customer service and presentation skills to Cloud Operations Specialist 1 role.  Typical certification sequence: CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Linux+, AWS Solutions Architect Associate.

Software Developer

Seattle MSA

Maintains, tests, and updates software products under the supervision of experienced developers, engineers and architects. Role provides more flexibility through a shorter and more focused training phase to allow for positions with a lower required experience level, or where specialized training will be a major component of OJT. Related roles include software and DevOps specialists/network operations developers.  Typical certification sequence: none.

IT Business Analyst

Seattle MSA

Collects, analyzes, and interprets data to help IT department/business units make operational decisions. Related roles include cybersecurity analysts.  This is not a general business analyst position and focuses on systems analysis and not the full IIBA BOK.  Typical certification sequence: ITIL Foundations, Database MTA or DevOps Foundation exam, Tableau Associate.

Network Security Administrator

Seattle MSA

Protects and provisions business networks, primarily a business’s sensitive data. Related roles include network technicians (network infrastructure and connectivity troubleshooting) and cybersecurity analysts (protecting system from external intrusions.)  Typical certification sequence: Cisco CCENT, Cisco CCNA, Cisco CCNP security exam (full certification not required.)

IT Support Pro

Seattle MSA

Installs and configures workstations, servers, and IT services, as well supports end users. A generalist position that may branch into specializations of data center or network technicians. Related roles include more advanced systems administrators and network security administrators.  Typical certification sequence: CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Linux+.

Systems Administrator

Seattle MSA

Manages IT services and infrastructure, as well as escalation tier for IT support staff.  Although a generalist position, it may branch into specializations over time. Related roles include IT support professionals (lower technical requirements) and network security administrators (focus on networking infrastructure.). Typical certification sequence: CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Linux+, Linux Professional Institute LPIC2.

Network Operations Developer - CRM

Seattle MSA

Configures and customizes customer relationship management (CRM) or content management system (CMS) platforms. Typical certification sequence: Salesforce Administrator, Salesforce App Builder.