Apprenticeship programs helping Columbus State students land in-demand tech jobs


Some Columbus State students are getting a leg up on a career in the tech industry.

New research from Accenture finds that apprenticeship programs are helping connect students to technology companies looking for talent.

The students get hands-on training and a foot in the door, and the companies get help growing their own skilled workers.

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But Accenture didn't just do the research on the need for more apprenticeships — it's actually in the second year of a partnership with Columbus State Community College.

Last year's four apprentices were all placed in full-time jobs. This year, the company has a class of 10 apprentices.

"What we are trying to do here is less than four-year degrees, people of diverse backgrounds, underserved communities, and giving them a shot. Giving them access to that technology. Because where you live, your zip code, who your parents are, what you have access to, shouldn't define the opportunities you have in this country," said Joe Chenelle with Accenture.

"This was a career change for me," said Nicolas Kisor, Columbus State Student and Accenture apprentice. "I'd been doing random odd jobs here and there, and I got into technology, which is always an in-demand field, which is going to be a big leg up for me and my family."

Wednesday, the group was training for an Amazon Web Services "Deep Racer" Event.

They're training a robotic vehicle for a competition to see who can complete a course in the fastest time.

"It's all about teaching the machine, like you would teach a pet, to move around the track as fast as possible," said David Kise with Accenture's Innovation Hub. "It is machine learning. It's a robot basically, and really while it's a fun activity, it's all about teaching our apprentices as well as our people, how to apply that in all different kinds of scenarios."

According to the survey, only 15 percent of Columbus community college students have participated in a professional apprenticeship program. But more than 69 percent are interested in participating if such a program was made available to them.

You can find more information here.