March 20, 2018

Tech Apprentice: A 10-Year Retrospective

Tech Apprentice was launched in 2005 as a collaborative effort between the Boston PIC, BATEC, and Tech Boston. To-date, the initiative has facilitated more than 1,000 paid IT-related internships for Boston public high school students. The PIC's newly released 10-year retrospective study profiles the 734 students who had a Tech Apprentice internship between Summer 2006 and Summer 2016, examining their subsequent education and employment choices. 

While Tech Apprentice internships focus on IT-related projects, the employers that hire them represent a wide range of industries. The industry segments with the most Tech Apprentice internships were the finance, investments, and insurance industry (32%) and the professional, scientific, and technical services industry (17%). The table below shows those employers who hired more than 15 students through the initiative. 

State Street164Boston Public Library20
(cybersecurity training; CBO placements)
68Boston Public Schools19
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts47Red Sox18
Boston College32Partners HealthCare18
New England Sports Network (NESN)28Harvard University17
Vertex26Federal Reserve Bank of Boston16
Fidelity Investments23University of Massachusetts Boston15
John Hancock Financial Services23

After graduating high school, 85% of Tech Apprentice participants enrolled in college. Of these students, 83% enrolled in a four-year university. The most common fields of study in college among Tech Apprentices were computer science, information technology, engineering, or math.

Type of college where Tech Apprentice enrolled

Tech Apprentice fields of study in college

The top industries of employment for Tech Apprentice participants are health care and social assistance, professional, scientific, and technical services, finance and insurance, and manufacturing. Overall, about half of the participants that responded to a survey about their employment outcomes worked in the top three industries by total employment in Greater Boston.

As part of the study, past Tech Apprentice participants were interviewed to gather feedback about their experiences. Participants reported building both technical and soft skills during their internships, which benefited them as they moved on to postsecondary education and careers. Tech Apprentices noted that they were not exposed to as much coding and programming in high school as they would have liked, indicating opportunity for closer alignment between industry and classroom. In discussing what made an internship great, participants indicated good relationships with mentors/supervisors, workplaces that supported their gender, racial, or cultural identities, and having a meaningful level of ownership over projects as the biggest factors.   

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