As employers clamor for a workforce versed in science, technology, engineering and math, state leaders are gearing up to build an apprenticeship and career-connected learning system across Washington to help young people land jobs in STEM and other high-paying fields.
A job in STEM — and in technology in particular — was something Washingtonian Shawn Farrow wanted. Farrow was working as a crew lead at a moving company, but he dreamed of a career that challenged him.
He enrolled in a two-year associate program at a technical college, yet upon graduation, struggled to get his foot in the door in the technology sector. He applied to the nonprofit Apprenti program in late 2016 and was placed as a web development apprentice at Seattle-based Avvo.com, a website that helps people find attorneys.
Learning on the job at Avvo meant Farrow was learning the latest skills in a quickly evolving field. He excelled and soon transitioned to a fully qualified journey-level employee ahead of schedule. The 31-year-old is now a permanent member of Avvo’s development team.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do it without Apprenti,” said Farrow, while sharing his story with members of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Career Connect Washington Task Force today at South Puget Sound Community College.
“They gave me the training and placed me in a place that got me ahead in the game,” Farrow said. He added that he wants people to know that “you don’t need to be a genius or the smartest person in your class to be able to have a nice, successful, sustainable career.”
Task force members were visiting SPSCC to share their recommendations with Inslee for improving Washington’s apprenticeship and career-connected learning programs to create more opportunities like the one Farrow received.