Public-Private Partnership Launches Groundbreaking Apprenticeship Program

For governments and corporations, mainframe computers are essential tools. At their core, mainframes are high-performance computers with large memory capacities that process billions of simple calculations and transactions in real-time. The mainframe is critical to government and commercial databases, transaction servers and applications that require high reliability, scalability, compatibility and security. But, while we can marvel at the speed and dexterity of the mainframe, we can’t overlook an essential element: a trained IT workforce.

State Employees International Union 1000 estimates there is an 18.6% vacancy rate in state civil service IT positions; and not enough job applicants possess the right mix of skills to fill these jobs. However, a new, groundbreaking apprenticeship program, zSystems Apprenticeship Pilot Program, aims to fill the mainframe jobs pipeline with more skilled workers. Together with several other state agencies and using IBM’s gold standard apprenticeship framework, CDT is working to build a new corps of professionals with sought-after mainframe skills that can fill civil service and private sector jobs, as well.

Apprenticeship participants will receive on-the-job training, mentoring and classes – all while earning a paycheck in an “earn while you learn” model.

“We are looking forward to this apprenticeship program advancing our efforts to put more people in the mainframe jobs pipeline,” said State Chief Information Officer and CDT Director Amy Tong. “This program will offer those new to the workforce, as well as mid-career workers, an opportunity to acquire skills for in-demand public technology jobs as we move toward one digital government.”

Interested state employees can expect the application period to open this winter and anticipate coursework to begin in early 2020. The selection process includes an application screening, an oral interview and a written aptitude test. Participating state departments will select the most qualified applicants for the apprenticeship.

The program is a collaboration among several partners, including the California Government Operations Agency, Employment Development Department, California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, California Department of Technology, Franchise Tax Board, California Department of Industrial Relations, Department of Motor Vehicles, and SEIU Local 1000.

For more information visit the California Department of Industrial Relations and the California Department of Technology careers websites. You can also follow #NewCollarJobs, or visit for more information