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Training targets mid-level tech jobs

Benjamin Franklin Institute, Apprenti team up to offer data analytics training,

Yawu Miller
Yawu Miller
Yawu Miller is the Banner’s senior editor. VIEW BIO
Training targets mid-level tech jobs
(left) Aisha Francis of BFIT. COURTESY PHOTO (right) Lauren Jones of Apprenti. PHOTO: CITY OF BOSTON

Tech firms in Greater Boston are looking to fill jobs, and the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology is ready to help.

Last week, the South End-based college announced a partnership with Apprenti, an apprenticeship program partially funded by U.S. Department of Labor and affiliated with the Washington Technology Industry Association’s Workforce Institute. Under the new partnership, six BFIT professors will train 14 apprentices in business analytics during the fall semester. Following the training, the students will receive paid apprenticeships through the program’s employer partners, with a goal of landing them in mid-tier jobs in the technology industry.

“Apprenti and BFIT are providing relief for employers struggling to fill middle-skills tech jobs, specifically in IT business analytics, as well as giving folks in our underserved communities a chance at economic empowerment,” says Aisha Francis, chief of staff at BFIT.

One likely role for student apprentices is information technology data analyst.

“Essentially, this is a person who has analytic skills,” Francis says. “They collect information specific to whatever business they’re working in and use analytics software to solve a business problem.”

In Massachusetts, 10 percent of the labor force works in technology and 23 percent of all job postings in the state are in tech-related applications, according to Francis.

Francis says she expects that the students trained through the program will be able to move up the career ladder at the tech firms they’re placed in — and can expect decent pay.

“These are family-sustaining wages,” she says. “These are the types of jobs that put people into the middle class.”

Apprenti is operating in Massachusetts through a U.S. Department of Labor contract, with support from the Boston-based One8 Foundation.

Since its inception in Massachusetts last year, Apprenti has established programs across industries, securing partnerships with top employers such as Wayfair, Carbon Black, Cengage, Harvard University Information Technology and PTC computer software and services company.

Additionally, Apprenti works closely with industry organizations statewide, including the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council and the Massachusetts Workforce Skills Cabinet, to support economic growth efforts throughout the commonwealth.

Lauren Jones, Massachusetts director for Apprenti, is enthusiastic about the new partnership with BFIT as a training provider, which she hopes will help expand the apprenticeship model as a tech career steppingstone as well as contribute to the state’s economic strength.

“Together, we are delivering the technical instruction to advance adoption of registered apprenticeship throughout the commonwealth — and meeting the tech talent needs of leading Massachusetts employers,” she says.

Longstanding institution

BFIT was founded in 1908 and works to provide technical career paths to Greater Boston young people while keeping costs and time commitment to a minimum and ensuring that the instruction is geared toward real industry needs.

“Our mission is to make sure the students we’re training are going into fields where there is high demand,” Francis says.

BFIT offers certificate and degree programs in fields including automotive management, biomedical engineering technology, computer technology, construction management, electronics engineering technology and medical engineering technology. Francis says all of the school’s programs place an emphasis on management.

The school’s most recent job placement figure is 93 percent. Over a five-year span, 85 percent of graduates were working full-time in the fields for which they were trained.

“The majority of our training is middle-skills training for jobs that do not require a four-year degree,” Francis says. “There are evolving needs in the high-tech field for workers, and we’re meeting those needs.”

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