Demand for tech talent was already outstripping supply before Covid came along and changed everything. Now, with the world’s digital transformation accelerating in response to the pandemic, there are an even greater number of tech career opportunities waiting to be grasped.

However, in a country that puts so much emphasis on costly higher education, not everyone has the same opportunity to build the skills necessary to enter these careers. Nationally, just 4.7% of software engineers are Black, while 67% are male. This isn’t a talent issue. It’s an opportunity issue.

It’s stats like those above that drive our new partnership.

We’ve joined forces with Verizon to launch an innovative apprenticeship program that will provide new opportunities to develop in-demand digital skills. The partnership will provide an equitable pathway to a successful and fulfilling career in tech.

At Verizon, we believe the best and brightest minds can come from anywhere and that we are strongest when we lean in and embrace diversity as a potent competitive advantage,” said Sam Hammock, Senior Vice President, Global Talent, Verizon. “By developing an apprenticeship program with Multiverse, we can enable aspiring innovators from diverse backgrounds to succeed in a modern economy. Exceptional talent is out there and, by broadening our outreach, we can help people realize their ambitions. When we give people the space and support to work to their full potential, we create a more resilient workforce.”

Smashing systematic barriers

Over the course of the program, we’ll train apprentices at Verizon’s offices in Dallas and New York. The apprentices also will have completed boot camps and career training through Verizon’s existing partnership with Generation USA – an organization committed to preparing, placing and supporting people into life-changing careers.

During the year-long program, apprentices will be paid Verizon employees. Alongside their Multiverse coaching, they’ll put their new skills into practice from day one. Apprentices will also be part of a thriving community that can rival any college experience. We’re talking networking events, socials, mentoring opportunities, and talks from high-profile speakers from Fortune 500 companies and government officials.

Sophie Ruddock, VP, GM North America at Multiverse, said: “This partnership is an important sign that professional apprenticeships are on their way to becoming a viable alternative to the college system. They are fast becoming a reliable way for companies to diversify their hiring and make a meaningful contribution to equity in the workplace, whilst driving business and transformation goals.

“This is how we build and change the workforce-education ecosystem,” said Sean Segal, Generation USA CEO. “It’s time for companies to take action and affect change by working with organizations like Multiverse and Generation to offer new and different ways to get thousands of people not just jobs but fulfilling, sustainable careers.”

Another step towards our mission

The program kicks off this week – with a first pilot of over 20 software engineering apprentices beginning their journey. From former detention officers to firefighters, these are some of the most inspirational individuals you could hope to work with, and you can read more about their stories here.

It’s far from a one-off either. Our partnership is the latest in Verizon’s $44m commitment to significantly increase access to free, tech-focused career training to help reskill workers.

It’s commitments like this that make Verizon an ideal partner for Multiverse. For us, this is the latest step in our mission to turn apprentices into the outstanding alternative to the college system. An alternative that levels the playing field and creates a direct and meaningful career pathway for motivated individuals, particularly those from underrepresented groups.

There are so many tech career opportunities out there, everyone should have a chance to grasp them. With this partnership, another cohort of talented individuals will have their shot.

Euan Blair, Multiverse CEO, said: ““Professional apprenticeships are fast becoming an effective means for great companies to find and promote exceptional talent from underrepresented backgrounds. Verizon’s apprenticeship program is an investment that will give a new generation of talented software engineers accelerated career progression at one of the world's best companies” said Euan Blair, Multiverse founder and CEO. “The overall expansion of apprenticeships in America will dramatically increase career opportunities for underrepresented communities, who will no longer face the barrier of an expensive education to succeed.”