Apprentice programs give companies access to a large and affordable hiring pool, ranging from high school graduates to military veterans. Studies also show that apprenticeships tend to produce more loyal employees and boost company morale.
Hiring college graduates will always be important, Williams says, but it’s dauntingly expensive for many junior tech roles in tech. Because few college graduates come out of school with any serious training in cybersecurity, many must be retrained from day one anyway.
With apprentices, on‑the‑job learning is explicitly part of their compensation. The cost of their training is offset by lower salaries.
A growing number of organizations have popped up in the last few years to help companies set up apprentice programs. Groups like Praxis, GAN Global, and Jobs for the Future (JFF) are designed to provide assistance to both aspiring apprentices and the companies that want to hire them.
Deborah Kobes, deputy director for JFF’s apprenticeship center, says that these organizations can streamline the process and help companies “launch programs more quickly, and more effectively, if they work in collaboration with experts who know how program designs can help attract and retain talent.”
Williams can’t say enough good things about ATG’s program, noting that one of his apprentices even worked with the FBI on a malware investigation. “They’re doing real work,” he says. “From our perspective it’s been an awesome experience, and it’s bearing fruit.”