Mayor Lee Announces $2.9 Million Federal Grant to Provide Apprenticeships in Technology

Posted Date: 9/11/2015

Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced the U.S. Department of Labor has awarded San Francisco a $2.9 million American Apprenticeship grant to launch the TechSF Accelerator Program. The City’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development will partner with 20 leading technology companies through the Mayor’s TechSF initiative to provide more than 300 residents over the next five years with pre-apprenticeships and apprenticeships within the technology industry.

“Helping our residents gain the skills and training needed to succeed in the 21st Century economy is what TechSF is all about, and it’s already shown tremendous results,” said Mayor Lee. “Through the TechSF Accelerator Program, we will connect unemployed and underemployed residents, especially our veterans, women, and minorities, to apprenticeship training programs that will help them land a job while diversifying the technology industry. I thank the U.S. Department of Labor for selecting San Francisco to receive funding for training and job opportunities to build a stronger workforce.”

Through on-the-job learning, accelerated classroom training, mentoring and accelerated “bootcamp” and online education, more than 300 individuals will be connected to high growth occupations that include web developers, computer programmers, and data scientists. Half of the individuals will be employees who want to move upward within the industry. Individuals will be able to earn and learn on the job led by recognized tech companies within the industry. San Francisco companies committed to partnering with the City include: ModCloth, 12FPS, Pinterest, BonFire Labs, Zendesk, LinkedIn, Salesforce, Jawbone, Autodesk, TEAK and other leading technology companies.

“The Mayor and the City has built a nationally recognized model for bringing together private industry and nonprofits through its TechSF initiative,” said Zendesk CEO Mikkel Svane. “The American Apprenticeship grant will help companies like ours continue to build innovative and relevant career paths for San Francisco jobseekers, while diversifying and enriching the tech sector.”

Individuals will be placed in both pre-apprenticeships and apprenticeship programs with TechSF’s regional public and private sector partners and realize transferable college credits and wage gains as they develop portable, industry-recognized credentials and advance in their occupation. The apprenticeship program will further articulate pathways for individuals seeking four-year degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and will create new linkages between online training platforms and higher education.
In addition to the American Apprenticeship grant, the Mayor is also investing $1.5 million from the City budget to TechSF over the next two years to offset expiring Federal grants. TechSF is a committed partner to President Obama’s TechHire initiative, and its effective practices, strong employer partnerships and national recognition will create numerous opportunities for the dissemination and replication of the apprenticeship model.

“Apprenticeships are a tried-and-true job training strategy that offer tremendous value for both employers and workers, and can be particularly effective in high-skilled, high-growth industries like Information Technology,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “Programs like TechSF Applied Learning Accelerator are great examples of new industries utilizing apprenticeships to help more people punch their ticket to the middle class.”

According to the Department of Labor hands-on apprenticeships, where workers earn and learn at the same time, are a proven path to good, secure middle-class jobs. In fact, 87 percent of apprentices are employed after completing their programs. Studies from around the globe suggest that for every dollar spent on apprenticeship, employers get an average of $1.47 back in increased productivity, reduced waste and greater front-line innovation.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s American Apprenticeship grant awarded $175 million to 46 communities throughout the United States. Each grantee has pledged to train and hire more than 34,000 new apprentices in the tech industry over the next five years. Each grantee has also committed to expanding apprenticeship programs and to align apprenticeships with further education and career advancement, and to scale proven apprenticeship models that work.

About TechSF
TechSF is an initiative of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development which was launched in 2012 to provide jobseekers with industry-recognized skills and experience, and secure internships and employment in high-tech occupations. The program launched with an $8 million in Federal grants from the Department of Labor. Since the program launched in 2012, approximately 1,000 people have been trained, and placed in jobs and internships. For more information on TechSF and other workforce training programs, go to: