26 APPRENTICESHIPS S ome of Oregon’s apprenticeship programs take a different approach by working with government rather than private industry. One of those programs is Apprenti, a growing model in Lane County that places candidates into dedicated apprenticeship programs. The programs are monitored by state and federal labor agencies, and each apprenticeship follows traditional workplace structures, including worker protection, benefits and minimum thresholds. Apprenti, Technology Association of Oregon (TAO) and Lane County work together to place students in registered apprenticeships that have external oversight and ensure their success. “We have more than 418 tech companies in Lane County, and employment opportunities in tech are expected to grow 28 percent by 2024,” said Jessica McCormick, a workforce project manager with Lane Workforce Partnership (LWP), a local workforce agency that has partnered with Apprenti. “We have an immediate need to find skilled individuals to fill these jobs. Registered apprenticeship is a great way for people to learn the skills necessary in a tech occupation in an accelerated format and immediately apply those skills in the workplace.” “LWP and TAO were drawn to the Apprenti model because it is industry-driven. Tech companies have a voice in the curriculum and the ability to add occupations that are relevant in a particular region,” said McCormick. “Apprenti’s existing, proven model allows LWP to invest more in apprentice training and to focus on filling critical open positions rather than reinventing the wheel and creating a registered apprenticeship program from scratch.” Apprenti increases diversity in the tech industry by prioritizing underrepresented groups.