From CES: CTA and IBM Announce Apprenticeship Coalition to Help Close U.S. Skills Gap

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) and IBM  announce the launch of the CTA Apprenticeship Coalition, a major initiative that will create thousands of new apprenticeships in 20 U.S. states and help close the skills gap companies face in hiring new employees. IBM pledged to add at least 450 apprenticeships a year for the next five years. The announcement will be made by Ginni Rometty, president and chairman, IBM during her opening at CES® 2019 – the most influential technology event in the world.

“At IBM, being an open and trusted company means going beyond the technology and working to understand and address the societal impact of it,” said Rometty. “Our commitment – and our entire industry’s obligation – is to build a workforce that is ‘tomorrow ready.’ This new Coalition allows us to scale apprenticeship programs nationwide and prepare more workers for the surging number of new collar jobs that require in-demand skills, but not always a four-year degree.”

The technology sector accounts for 10 percent of U.S. GDP and is the fastest-growing part of the American economy. But there aren’t enough skilled workers to fill the 500,000 open high-tech jobs in the U.S. And according to CTA’s Future of Work survey, tech executives report that, in the next five years, they will struggle to fill jobs in software development, data analytics and engineering.

To help solve the looming shortage of workers and ensure the tech sector remains key to America’s success, the CTA Apprenticeship Coalition provides frameworks for more than 15 different apprenticeship for careers in fast-growing fields including software engineering, data science and analytics, cybersecurity, mainframe system administration, creative design and program management. New apprenticeships will be modeled, in large part, on IBM’s successful apprenticeship program, which launched in 2017, is registered with the United States Department of Labor and has grown nearly twice as fast as expected.

The apprenticeships created by the Coalition provide pathways to tech jobs in all parts of the country — from Kansas to Minnesota to Louisiana — not only traditional tech hubs on the coasts. Its goal is to widen the aperture when it comes to hiring by placing the focus on skills rather than specific degrees. From early-career professionals to mid-career transitions and everything in between, these apprenticeships represent a new pathway to success in 21st century careers, including the growing number of new collar roles where a traditional bachelor’s degree is not always required. They also offer an opportunity to build in-demand skills without taking on student debt.

“Tech innovations are creating new jobs and careers – and apprenticeships are one of the most successful types of work-based learning and will help revitalize the U.S. workforce from coast to coast,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CTA. “We’re excited to provide our members with a free resource that allows companies to establish and scale their apprenticeship programs. The future of our nation is based on ensuring Americans are prepared for jobs of the future that can be supported by a college degree, certification or apprenticeship.”

Coalition members – including A&K Robotics,, Bosch, Canon U.S.A., EVERFI, Ford Motor Company, Future Ready Solutions, LOOK, OperationsInc., Phone2Action, Postmates, SoftBank Robotics, Sprint, TeamPeople, Toyota and Walmart – are committed to building their own apprenticeship programs or expanding their existing efforts.


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