By Kim Nichols, CEO.

A Proven Model for Sourcing and Growing Technology Talent

Employers face a tough challenge: Finding enough early career talent to address their technology needs. The US education system produces less than 100,000 computer science graduates per year, while the number of open tech positions in the US currently stands at 1 million.  There’s got to be a better way.

In the United States, the tech talent gap is not just significant, but growing. As of 2022, the U.S. tech industry was estimated to reach a market value of $1.8 trillion, with over 264,500 new tech jobs added in that year alone, signifying a 5.4% growth rate. This expansion represents a substantial 7.9% of the U.S. workforce, contributing to over 10% of the nation’s GDP. The demand for tech talent is evident, with 3.97 million tech jobs available as of 2022, yet the U.S. produced only 59,565 computer science graduates in 2021, a glaring discrepancy that underscores the acute shortage of qualified tech talent. Additionally, the industry is skewed towards older demographics, with 55% of employees over 40 years old. Such statistics not only emphasize the urgent need for innovative talent sourcing strategies like those offered by Franklin Apprenticeships but also the importance of diversifying and rejuvenating the tech talent pool to sustain the industry’s robust growth, including in rapidly expanding sectors like AI and cloud computing, projected to grow at CAGRs of 100% and 17.5% respectively by 2025.

Introducing Technology Apprenticeships 

Franklin Apprenticeships’ revolutionary earn-and-learn approach, rigorously built in cooperation with industry experts and employers, is reshaping the digital talent sourcing and upskilling environment. Franklin’s strategy is built around a dynamic curriculum that is always evolving depending on industry need and labor market findings. This guarantees that the programs, which develop individuals for careers in specific occupations such as Cybersecurity, Help Desk, IBM Z, Software Engineering, and Network Engineering, target the most severe tech skill needs.

The Franklin path into technology begins with a scientific evaluation and basic training that allows individuals to explore and validate their fit for a tech profession. This inclusive strategy, available to anybody with a tech interest and aptitude, democratizes entry to the tech sector, regardless of prior experience or background. Once applicants are qualified as job-ready, Franklin’s talent solutions division helps them find employment, with many gaining apprenticeships and others establishing independent work.

The constant support system is what distinguishes Franklin. Professional Success Coaches are essential in leading both apprentices and employers through a structured on-the-job training program. This guarantees that apprentices are useful team members from day one, gradually increasing their productivity as they gain competence and earn industry-recognized certifications.

Technology apprenticeship programs give employers access to an untapped well of technical talent, while job seekers gain the opportunity to pursue a meaningful and lucrative career in technology that was previously inaccessible. Successful technology apprenticeship programs have four key elements:

Technical jobs with a career path

Employers recruit and place apprentices in tech jobs with a market-based salary on day one. Apprentices have specific tasks for which they are responsible every day – going from simple to more complex as they acquire technical skills.

Structured technical learning

pprentices complete online coursework that dovetails with their role – for example, software developer or cybersecurity analyst.


Franklin Professional Success Coaches and Employer Mentors cover both how to perform well in a technical role and how to communicate and act in a business environment. 

Access to technical subject matter experts

Small and Medium enterprises provide domain expertise to answer questions, real-time instruction, and technical mentoring. 

Different Than a College Degree, But Just as Compelling and Way Less Expensive

Given the shortage of tech talent, why haven’t more employers embraced technology apprenticeships as a talent strategy? The answer is simple: Many employers require a four-year technical degree for new tech hires. Changing this requirement is surprisingly hard, but innovative employers who are approaching talent development strategically with an eye to the future are leading the way.  These innovators appreciate the competitive advantage to be gained by embracing the tech apprenticeship model alongside the four-year degree model:

Learning modes

Apprentices learn as part of a paying job, via technical instruction, and through interaction with coaches, their colleagues, managers and mentors, not just in the classroom.


Apprenticeships offer training for a defined technical role as opposed to delivering general technical knowledge.

Skills and competencies-based

Apprentices gain certifications as they progress and can immediately apply their knowledge in their jobs as opposed to amassing general technical knowledge.

Technical and Professional Skills training

Apprenticeships range from 12-18 months and are free to the learner versus paying an average cost of $140,000 over four years to obtain a technical degree.

Real time talent development

By providing both foundational and employer-specific technical training, Apprentices become productive quickly.

Enter Franklin Apprenticeships

Franklin Apprenticeships partners with employers ranging from the largest Fortune 500 companies to thriving small businesses to fill their mission critical tech roles and build more diverse tech teams. We developed our approach in collaboration with the world’s premier experts on apprenticeships, top specialists in technical training and education, and the nation’s best employers.  We deliver apprenticeship programs for over 100 employers, including 35+ Fortune 500 companies, and currently operate in eight countries. 

We believe that there are three critical success factors in creating a successful technology apprenticeship program: 

Innovative minded employers

that are serious about solving their talent challenges.

Ensuring the right candidates are hired

into the right role based on two key factors: 

  • attracting candidates with the aptitude and affinity for the career path
  • expanding the talent pool to include a variety of diverse candidates
Delivering structured technical learning

which helps apprentices rapidly build a skills base that they can apply in their work immediately.

  • Continuously providing technical and business skills coaching to apprentices to improve their on-the-job performance.
  • De-risking the process for creating and managing their tech apprenticeship programs.

Tech apprenticeships are new to most employers. Tech apprenticeship programs that gain traction get buy in from four types of stakeholders:

Human Resources/Talent Management

view tech apprenticeships as a new way to source and retain quality tech talent.  


seek to leverage early career tech talent from non-traditional recruiting sources to drive productivity and innovation.

Technical Managers

that will mentor apprentices through to graduation.

Head of Diversity

see apprenticeship programs as an asset to achieving corporate diversity goals.

Franklin casts a wide net to attract candidates with the aptitude, desire, and drive to build in-demand careers.  We evaluate candidates based on four factors:

Aptitude and fit for the role

We ensure that we are delivering candidates to employers that have the technical aptitude, affinity and desire for the role.  Every candidate we recruit takes a scientific aptitude assessment to determine which technical roles are a fit for their skills and abilities.  The purpose is to route candidates into roles where they will be successful, not screen them out. We then place our candidates into a “pre-apprenticeship” program that includes 75 to 100 hours of online technical instruction in their chosen profession, to give them foundational skills that will build confidence and get them off to a great start when they begin work.  The pre-apprenticeship provides candidates with a preview of what it is like to work in the profession and a foundational technical certification that they can put on their resumés.

Where they live

Employers may want to hire apprentices with roots in the local community or find those committed to remote or hybrid working. Ensuring the desires of the candidate match the requirements of the employer results in better retention and satisfaction for all.

Underserved communities and populations

We attract candidates from underserved communities and populations that corporate recruiters can’t easily reach. We believe that there is hidden talent everywhere.  Our numbers bear this out; 92 percent of our apprentices come from communities and populations that are under-represented in tech.

Interview preparation

We provide training and coaching to candidates that helps them perform well in the interview process, and we work with employers to help them select the apprentices that will be best fit for their organization.

The bottom line is: We deliver better, more prepared candidates, which leads to better hires and outcomes for employers and individuals. Our apprentices execute well–defined technical tasks as part of their jobs every day; they also spend a minimum of 144 hours receiving technical instruction during their apprenticeship. 

The instruction comes in two forms: On the one hand online technical coursework that we source from best-in-class industry providers. On the other hand live, interactive online instruction from experienced subject matter experts who have been there, done that in their chosen fields.

In total, most apprentices spend about 20 percent of their work hours receiving technical instruction.  Every Franklin apprenticeship program includes instruction that covers foundational knowledge for the profession.  We then work with employers to structure the more advanced content to match the needs of their work environment.  This enables apprentices to be more productive in their roles and employers to address their real-world technical needs successfully.


Many companies employ coaches to improve the skills of senior executives and managers.  Franklin employs success coaches to make sure apprentices and apprenticeship programs are successful.  Our coaches are essential to the success of our programs in six ways:


Success coaches know their apprentices well because they work with candidates from pre-apprenticeship through graduation.


Success coaches meet with apprentices weekly and their managers and mentors monthly to keep the program on track.


Every coach completes a Professional Success Coach apprenticeship, including advanced training in coaching and assessment techniques.

Skills Focused

Success coaches meet with apprentices weekly and their managers and mentors monthly to keep the program on track.


Success coaches collaborate with managers and mentors to promote productivity and alignment with business objectives.


Success coaches provide the structure, support, and accountability required to achieve outstanding results.

As they progress through their apprenticeships, our apprentices earn industry-recognized certifications in their chosen fields.  On graduation, our apprentices achieve certifications that demonstrate their proficiency and give employers confidence that they are fully qualified to perform in their roles.  

Franklin’s employers report that their apprentices are 80 percent productive within six months on the job and 100 percent competent in the occupation by the end of their apprenticeships. 94 percent of Franklin apprentices successfully complete their apprenticeship and are retained by the employer.

The Future of Technical Upskilling: The Franklin Model Works

For many employers today, the challenges of securing, developing and retaining the talent they need are pressing and continuous. The skills and knowledge needed to succeed in many tech roles are rapidly evolving; traditional talent pipelines cannot fulfill these needs and offer nothing in terms of the rapid upskilling and reskilling that is required on the job. Apprenticeships are one part of the solution and Franklin is seeking to replicate in the US the value apprenticeships have demonstrated in many other countries. With US apprentices representing only .3% of the workforce, the opportunity to leverage apprenticeships as a talent development tool is both enormous and imperative.

Looking ahead, Franklin is extending our apprenticeship programs, introducing new specializations and partnerships. Apprenticeships are also increasingly only one part of our offer. Shorter, focused upskilling programs, technical and behavioral coaching and reskilling programs to support effective internal talent marketplaces are now all part of our core offer too. The depth and breadth of our offer is expanding in response to client demand. Our clients value the structure and support we offer and are increasingly asking us to bring the same quality approach to support their own internal programs. As we expand into new markets, sectors and countries, we will be providing opportunities to an ever more diverse candidate pool and adapting solutions for an increasing number of employers. This strategic expansion is not just about numbers; it’s about significantly impacting the tech talent landscape, fostering innovation, and driving economic growth.

Author: Kim Nichols
CEO, Franklin Apprenticeships

This project was created in collaboration with:

The Proeduca Group:

PROEDUCA’s objective is to provide the best online higher education to its students and it achieves this through educational commitments at three universities: The International University of La Rioja, the Online University of Mexico (UNIR Mexico), and CUNIMAD. It also offers studies located in Peru, at the Newman Postgraduate School, and in the United States, where it has a presence through MIU City University Miami.