The Grand Circus Apprenticeship Program: Building a Pipeline of Detroit Tech Talent

students enjoying their tech apprenticeship at Grand Circus

Grand Circus is excited to announce the upcoming Pre-Apprenticeship Program for Detroit residents, a partnership with the Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation, Detroit’s workforce agency. The program model is simple: After a free pre-apprenticeship bootcamp, apprentices interview for a paid apprenticeship position at a local company. For 10 to 12 months, apprentices work as a developer, gaining more skills and experience until receiving their apprenticeship credentials.

Why is this training model so important? How does a tech apprenticeship program benefit both the city and her residents?

Well let’s go back to March 2015. President Obama and the White House announced the launch of TechHire, an initiative to get more Americans trained for an exponentially growing technology sector. It’s projected that the number of jobs for software developers alone will grow by 27% by 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Unfortunately, many people are being left out. Without the relevant skills or a college degree, adults who live in cities with a growing number of tech jobs, like Detroit, can’t tap into this job market. However, many IT jobs don’t require college degrees. Non-traditional models, like our coding bootcamp, rapidly train adults in the skills critical for their job function.

Students learning during the Grand Circus apprenticeship program
Students in the March 2016 cohort of the Grand Circus apprenticeship

Apprenticeships offer adults without college degrees or significant work history the opportunity to build skills on the job with the support of their employer and sponsor (in this case Grand Circus). In addition to mentoring at their apprenticeship placement company, apprentices go through ongoing training and regular check-ins. Most importantly, apprentices walk away with the credentials that tell future employers they have the skills to do the job and they have real-world experience.

Detroit’s tech scene is only going to continue to grow. Over the last 5 years, IT job postings grew by 55% in Metro Detroit10% more than the growth in Silicon Valley, according to the Workforce Intelligence Network of Southeast Michigan.

If residents of the city are not a part of this growing tech workforce, then we’re missing the mark. For Grand Circus, a fundamental part of our DNA is to develop tech talent that reflects both the nation and city we live in. (It’s even in our core values!)

So what’s it like to be in the Grand Circus Pre-Apprenticeship bootcamp? As one apprentice stated,  “The focus at Grand Circus on teamwork, team-building and  problem-solving prepared me for a workplace that focuses on  continuous improvement and collaborative projects.”  

Help us spread the word about this opportunity to both prospective apprentices and local companies looking for talent. Let’s train Detroiters for careers in tech and continue to build our economy.  

Apply to be an Apprentice