Geekwise Academy

Students at Geekwise Academy listen to their lesson for the evening at Bitwise Industries in this 2019 file photo.

published on November 17, 2022 - 12:28 PM
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Bitwise Industries has announced a partnership with the first statewide online community college to support paid tech apprenticeships for underserved Californians.

The 12-month apprenticeship program through Calbright College will provide paid opportunities that offer workforce training, education and employment in designated tech disciplines such as customer relationship management software Salesforce and IT support, according to a Bitwise news release.

Calbright, through its workforce development programs in IT Support and Salesforce Administration, will provide pre-apprenticeship training. Then the program will place graduates under the direction of Bitwise senior level developers, providing hands-on experience with real work projects.

“This partnership aligns with our mission of providing pathways to high wage, high growth quality tech jobs through training of in-demand skills,” said Michelle Skoor, chief workforce officer, Bitwise Industries. “This type of collaboration is an example of how organizations across sectors can directly invest into creating a diverse and equitable workforce with underserved individuals.”

Bitwise has trained more than 10,000 people from “underestimated communities,” with about 80% going on to find technical employment, according to the release.

The partnership also aligns with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s goal to expand the Golden State’s apprenticeship system to serve 500,000 students by 2029.

“This collaboration brings together two of California’s mission-aligned entities to support residents of the state, nurture a vibrant economy, and advance a key component of Governor Newsom’s ambitious workforce strategy to expand the state’s apprenticeship system,” said Ajita Talwalker Menon, president and CEO, Calbright College. “Our students are parents, struggling with unemployment, and/or working multiple jobs to make ends meet. Bitwise Industries and Calbright’s investments will provide a vehicle to upskill adult learners, further align the needs of industry and higher education, and advance the development of quality tech talent and jobs in fast-growing and underestimated areas of the state.”

Established by the State of California in 2018, Calbright is the first statewide, online community college district. As of February, it had 1,000 actively enrolled students. It’s programs — which also include cybersecurity and medical coding — are geared toward workforce development.

Calbright students and alumni who would like to learn more about this program, email  the College’s Workforce Development team at partnerships@calbright.org.

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