Computing for All provides intensive pre-apprenticeship training for youth ages 16-24, including wrap-around supports and stipends. One of its primary aims is to build bridges to highly-selective tech apprenticeship programs such as Apprenti.
The first cohort of the Digital Skills Youth Academy program, funded in part by a $40,000 grant from the City of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development, was held at the Delridge Community Center in West Seattle and drew students from West Seattle, High Point, Beacon Hill, and White Center. The pilot included 12 students, of which 80 percent were people of color. The 270-hour program is based on a Microsoft-designed curriculum and prepares students to take tests for Microsoft Technology Associate certifications.
For students who go on to pursue an apprenticeship via Apprenti, completion of Computing for All’s programs allows students to skip initial interviews and receive credit for up to 200 hours of Apprenti classroom instruction. For students who instead wish to pursue further education, Computing for All is working with Seattle Public Schools and Seattle Colleges on an NSF-funded program to create an “IT+3” pathway that enables high school students to complete an applied bachelor’s degree in three years.
Computing for All’s pre-apprenticeship program is new, but it is a promising and rigorous model and is the only IT-focused pre-apprenticeship program recognized by the Washington State Apprenticeship and Training Council.