Business Performance Improvement Driver
Introduction to the IT Apprenticeship System
By Alice Rowland
The National Information Technology Apprenticeship System (NITAS) is a 21st Century apprenticeship system that reflects the state of the art in apprenticeship. The system was created jointly by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) to provide American corporations and American workers with the benefits of high productivity and economic value through voluntary participation in a nationally recognized and industry-validated system of apprenticeship. A major objective of the NITAS program is to ensure that the U.S. IT workforce possesses the required skills and offers the necessary value to be competitive in a global economy.
NITAS contains seven apprenticeship programs. These programs are designed to ensure that the U.S. IT workforce maintains global competitive advantage across the full range of wage-proficiency price points in the labor market.
The guideprovides an overview of the National Information Technology Apprenticeship System (NITAS).
IT workers and employer organizations can participate in NITAS by registering
Apprenticeship as a Training Methodology and a Business Performance Improvement Driver
⦁ Apprenticeship is a proven training strategy that involves both On-the-Job Learning (OJL) and Instructor Led Training (ILT) provided by classroom instruction or Computer Based Training (CBT).
⦁ The uniqueness of apprenticeship as a training methodology lies in the coordinated and combined use of structured OJL and related ILT.
⦁ Individuals master the practical aspects of work by performing work tasks under the guidance of a more experienced or journey worker coach.
⦁ Theoretical aspects of work are mastered during the related ILT.
This arrangement ensures the individual's employ-ability and guarantees competent workers for an employer by providing for the learning of a complete range of relevant skills and knowledge during training.
The synergy resulting from the combination of ILT and highly contextualized OJL delivered through the apprentice-coach interactions and other methods shorten the time required to bring a worker up to predictable productivity.
In the traditional model of IT training, classroom education is followed by on-the-job experience whereby an individual first spends a substantial amount of time in general schooling with little or no hands-on experience prior to employment.
Under the traditional model, the worker’s credentials are based solely upon the fulfillment of the classroom training, which can be very general and non-specific to the work at hand, requiring workers to extrapolate general principles to specific work activities.
Quite often workers find these kinds of extrapolations difficult, which reduce the value and relevancy of their training and make the credential an incomplete indicator of competency.
The apprenticeship approach overcomes such training deficiencies. Under apprenticeship ILT, highly contextualized OJL, competency validation, certification and performance measurement are combined elements in a worker’s credentialing process. The result is a better-trained worker who becomes fully productive in a shorter time.
Apprenticeship is changing the workforce educational paradigm in America. To be competitive in a 21st century global economy, workers’ credentialing must include demonstrated competency on the job. Classroom instruction remains an important part of a worker’s training, but performance on the job remains the target measure of competency.