Mayor London Breed Announces 300 New Tech Apprenticeships for Underrepresented San Franciscans
San Francisco celebrates National Apprenticeship Week from November 11th through the 17th
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed and the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) today announced the expansion of the City’s TechSF Apprenticeship Initiative. Through a partnership with Twilio, the initiative includes a new, innovative pathway for software engineers. TechSF’s nationally recognized model supports pathways for Information Technology Administrators, Salesforce Analysts, and Cybersecurity Analysts, with an emphasis on creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce by removing barriers to the tech industry and providing apprenticeship opportunities for people of color, women, people with disabilities, and veterans.
This announcement comes at the beginning of the U.S. Department of Labor’s National Apprenticeship Week (NAW), which takes place from November 11th through November 17th. TechSF will host a series of events throughout the week that focus on creating more opportunities for people in underserved communities.
“TechSF was created to close the skills gap in the tech sector by developing talent right here in San Francisco,” said Mayor Breed. “This partnership with Twilio allows us to provide additional opportunities for San Franciscans and gives people a chance to learn and grow in a career they might not otherwise have access to. With TechSF and our other apprenticeship programs, we can make our city more equitable and ensure that all San Franciscans benefit from economic growth—no matter their background or their zip code.”
Apprenticeships provide career pathways in industries that are difficult to enter without experience and a formal education, while creating an industry standard recognized by employers in partnership with training and labor organizations. The highly competitive tech industry is especially difficult to enter, and the average cost of a computer science degree is approximately $150,000. In contrast, TechSF apprentices earn a living wage while they learn technical skills, gain experience, and receive placement assistance.
Over 90% of TechSF apprentices remain employed with their company after their apprenticeship, with many receiving promotions to higher, management-level positions. TechSF apprenticeships also lower barriers to employment by not requiring a college degree in computer science, allowing curriculums to be adjusted to meet employers’ needs, and getting apprentices job-ready in eight to 12 months.
“TechSF apprenticeships create pathways to success for San Franciscans of all backgrounds, many of whom have not been given a chance to participate in this historically strong economy,” said Joaquín Torres, Director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “Key partners like Twilio have helped us create a comprehensive model that thoroughly prepares apprentices to succeed in technology jobs, ensures a high return on investment for employers, and creates diverse talent pipelines that advance racial equity and support economic mobility.”
OEWD’s TechSF Apprenticeship Initiative aims to close the skills gap by tapping new talent for the industry from underserved communities through training and work-based opportunities. TechSF will develop pathways approved by the California Division of Apprenticeship Standards and U.S. Department of Labor for 300 apprentices by 2021 with community and tech partners including City College of San Francisco and Twilio. TechSF also registers apprentice participants in Twilio’s Hatch Program, a software engineering apprenticeship that provides access to career opportunities for persons with non-traditional backgrounds.
“At Twilio, we aim to remove barriers and find talent where other companies may not be looking. Partnering with TechSF’s Apprenticeship Initiative is critical for us to identify and harness a pipeline of applicants who not only have the technical skills, but also the diverse professional and life experiences that truly add value to our workforce,” said Vivek Nair, head of Twilio’s Hatch Apprenticeship Program. “At Twilio, we are looking for apprentices who will add new ideas and contribute to Twilio’s culture, instead of assimilating to it.”
“It’s hard to sell your potential to an industry where you’re older than the average engineer, where only 3% of the people look like you, where academic pedigree is often seen as the be-all, end-all for ability,” said Omar Contreras, TechSF participant and full-time Twilio employee. “Twilio’s Hatch program recognized my differences as strengths. Thanks to the training I got at Twilio and the workshops at TechSF, I wake up every day grateful for the team I work with and the amazing Hatch community that helped me break into tech.”
The apprenticeship model is part of California Governor Gavin Newsom’s “Cradle-to-Career” education plan that encourages businesses to become creators of talent by establishing earn-and-learn apprenticeships and creating a pipeline of highly skilled workers. To meet this goal, San Francisco’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development is working to expand TechSF apprenticeship opportunities, while also cultivating apprenticeship career pathways in construction, hospitality and health care.
National Apprenticeship Week is a nationwide celebration between companies, trade and industry groups, nonprofit organizations, unions, labor-management organizations, and educational institutions to highlight how apprenticeships prepare American workers for the jobs of today and the future. TechSF is hosting events as part of NAW’s 2,000 apprenticeship events by more than 200,000 participants across the country. In addition to expanding TechSF, OEWD is cultivating apprenticeship pipelines in construction, hospitality, and health care.
For more information about TechSF, visit: https://oewd.org/tech-sf.