Organizations and technology companies in New Mexico are focused on making a positive change to the level of available tech talent. One example of a coordinated effort in that change is the New Mexico Information Technology Apprenticeship Program (NMITAP).
Developing Something New and Innovative
The NMITAP is run and maintained by CNM Ingenuity, Inc., a branch of the Central New Mexico Community College. The program was started after CNM received a 3 million dollar grant from the Department of Labor.
The NMITAP team has been working hard in its first year and a half with employer partners and the State Apprenticeship Office to create the training programs.
They’ve created the first Information Technology (IT) registered apprenticeship program in the state. In addition, most apprenticeships are run from a company or support organization. However, in this case, NMITAP has the resources of a community college behind them.
Offerings in the Program
NMITAP currently offers three different program tracks:
- Customer User Support Specialist
- Network Support Technician
- Applications Developer
The team is working on the training and approval process for:
- Cyber Security Support Technician
- Medical Coder
Sue Buffington, Director of the NMITAP, says “There’s so much potential. We’re looking at sustaining this beyond the five-year grant. Plus, we’re looking at adding more tracks like advanced manufacturing, and health IT.”
Technology Training Process
The NMITAP team does most of the work. The process runs like this:
- The NMITAP recruits individuals to apply to the apprenticeship program. The program’s target market includes women, veterans, and the unemployed.
- The NMITAP recruits a business that’s interested in hiring apprentices.
- The business creates or has an open position for the apprentice, and pays them a wage.
- An apprentice starts at the business as a paid employee, receives on-the-job training, also receives program specific training in the form of free classes through NMITAP.
Companies can also talk with NMITAP about signing on current employees who could use training in the programs offered.
Working the System
How is it working so far? Melissa Huerta, HR Director at UnityBPO says, “We love it and it’s been really fruitful in fulfilling the job roles we needed.”
UnityBPO hired six apprentices through the program for Computer User Support Specialists. They use job shadowing and on-the-job-training to teach new employees. The most important thing they’ve found is that these apprentices must have the ability to problem solve and are interested in learning.
NMTC Added Value
Buffington says she really appreciates her connection with New Mexico Technology Council (NMTC). Initially, NMITAP contracted with NMTC last year to promote the program. The NMTC set up information sessions; utilized their contacts, talked to employers, and got some employer interest. The NMTC also helped recruit potential apprentices.
More recently, the NMITAP is partnering with the NMTC on marketing. The NMTC will promote them on social media in order to spread the word about the beneficial program. “They’ve been wonderful to work with,” says Buffington.
The NMITAP is looking for more companies to sign on. If you’re a company and you need workers with knowledge in the tracks that NMITAP offers, contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org to see if this is a partnership for you.