Philadelphia is a vibrant city—residents come from all different kinds of backgrounds—which makes it an exciting place to live. The City of Philadelphia recognizes that government becomes stronger when it hires and supports people with diverse opinions, experiences, and input. City government should reflect its community and ensure opportunities for underrepresented groups to rise into higher positions.
Thanks to funding through the City’s new Operations Transformation Fund, the Office of Innovation and Technology (OIT) is taking the lead to meet this goal. The OIT Apprenticeship program looks to address inequity in OIT’s higher paying positions and match the diversity of the City of Philadelphia’s population. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are the driving factors of this program.
About the program
Created and led by OIT, the OIT Apprenticeship Program is a career development opportunity for current City employees to get higher paying roles, specifically in Software Engineering and User Experience.
The two-year program will:
- Upskill existing, high-potential City employees
- Provide training, mentorship, and support
- Open the door to opportunities for higher paying positions
Before the start of the actual apprenticeship, selected applicants will participate in a full-time 3-4 month high-quality bootcamp in software engineering (with Launch Code) and user experience (with General Assembly). After this training period, these employees will be placed on high-impact, resident-facing projects to get hands-on experience. After this training period, these employees will be placed on high-impact, resident-facing projects to get hands on experience.
The apprenticeship, paying $60,000 per year, will be open to City employees and preference will be given to individuals who make at or below $50,000 per year. The monetary support for the first year of the program came from the Operations Transformation Fund, an initiative that supports projects focused on government efficiency and equity as well as bettering City services
At the conclusion of the program, apprentices will have two years of industry specific work and a portfolio that demonstrates their ability to work on various projects. Apprentices will be qualified for a variety of mid-level roles in the technology industry.
A unique opportunity
The OIT Apprenticeship Program is a unique program in government and the tech industry. By targeting existing employees, the teams will benefit from diverse perspectives, institutional knowledge, and the lived experiences of City employees.
Teams with diversity in experiences, background, and other dimensions build better products. To build applications that residents can use, designers and engineers need to understand what Philadelphians need. More diverse perspectives in the process allow for better understanding of how to match the City’s needs.
Investing in the City’s current employees also means investing in the Philadelphia tech community. The OIT Apprenticeship Program aims to help create pathways for progress for both communities.