New Effort to Grow the US Technology Workforce Launched by CompTIA and ConnectWise

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A new effort to expand the nation’s cybersecurity and technology workforce through paid apprenticeships was launched today by CompTIA, the nonprofit association for the information technology (IT) industry and workforce, and ConnectWise, the world’s leading software company dedicated to the success of IT solution providers.

CompTIA and ConnectWise made their announcement in conjunction with today’s Cyber Workforce and Education Summit at the White House, where Secretary of Labor Martin J. Walsh unveiled a Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Sprint, challenging industry and labor partners to help expand Registered Apprenticeships in cybersecurity.

The crux of the effort announced by the two organizations involves pairing new IT professionals, certified by CompTIA, with eager IT businesses, self-identified through the ConnectWise partner community, for registered apprenticeships.

“We focus so much on top level cybersecurity experts that we forget the majority of this work is done by rank-and-file cyber professionals,” said Todd Thibodeaux, CompTIA president and CEO, who participated in the White House summit. “They work with end users, maintain and secure networks and defend against phishing and other threats to keep everyone and everything working securely. It is with these frontline positions where the most sizable staffing deficits exist, something we intend to address with this program.”

“We have thousands of partners across the IT industry who regularly tell us about the challenges of finding qualified talent,” said Jason Magee, CEO, ConnectWise. “With the backing of the White House, and in partnership with CompTIA as an established educator of IT professionals, we have a unique opportunity to move hiring forward by matching trained workers with a robust group of potential employers.”

The apprenticeship effort comes at a time when demand is soaring for technology workers generally and cybersecurity workers, specifically.

U.S. employers deployed 714,548 job postings for cybersecurity job roles and skills during the 12-month period running through April 2022, according to data from CyberSeek™, a joint initiative between the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE), CompTIA and Lightcast. Almost 40% of those job postings were listed in the first four months of 2022, indicating that demand is speeding up as more organizations look to strengthen defenses against a multitude of threats.

As a newly designated National Program Sponsor for Apprenticeship, CompTIA will use its world-class education, training and certifications to equip apprentices with the skills and training needed for employment in technology occupations, including cybersecurity roles. More than 3.1 million CompTIA certifications are held by IT professionals around the world.

ConnectWise, through its extensive network of IT service providers, is the employer partner in the new apprenticeship initiative. These service providers deliver technology solutions and support to small, mid-sized and large customers in all industries and locales, placing them on the front line of cybersecurity and support for businesses. Dozens of service providers have already expressed interest in participating in the apprenticeship program.

CompTIA and ConnectWise will offer training, certification and employment opportunities in five high-demand tech occupations: Tech Support Specialist, Network Support Specialist, Cybersecurity Support Technician, Tech Project Coordinator and Data Analyst. Training is based on National Guideline Standards created by CompTIA and approved by the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL). These standards detail the competencies in technical and employability skills that apprentices need to join the IT workforce.

“The ability to anticipate, identify and respond to cyber threats is essential in each of these job roles,” said Amy Kardel, senior vice president for strategic workforce partnerships at CompTIA. “Apprentices will receive comprehensive cybersecurity training in the knowledge and skills they will need to protect American businesses.”

Additional details of the program will be shared later this year.

Today’s announcement expands CompTIA’s involvement with IT apprenticeships. Since 2020 CompTIA has partnered with the American Institutes for Research to grow the nation’s IT workforce across industries through apprenticeships, while simultaneously creating career opportunities for diverse populations underrepresented in the tech workforce, including women, individuals with disabilities and people of color.

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