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December 8, 2021

Western Governors University Launches Software Developer Registered Apprenticeship Program

The nation’s largest nonprofit, competency-based university, Western Governors University (WGU) recently announced the Southern Nevada Software Developer Registered Apprenticeship Program. The first of its kind in Nevada and unanimously approved by the State Apprenticeship Council, the program was developed through a collaboration with the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance (LVGEA), the College of Southern Nevada (CSN), NV Workforce Connections, Global C2 Integration Technologies (GC2IT), and IONnovate. Students enrolled in the program, benefit from the “earn and learn” approach which will help them master essential technical and behavioral competencies on the job while helping Nevada businesses meet workforce development needs and retain a highly skilled workforce.  

According to the 2019 Workforce Blueprint 2.0, developed by LVGEA in partnership with Workforce Connections - Vegas Chamber, the recent growth of the technology industry has resulted in a corresponding increase in workforce demand. While software developers top the list of most in-demand occupations in Southern Nevada, current regional programs are forecasted to supply just 25% of the skilled workers to fill these critical positions. This apprenticeship program directly addresses this gap. The initial cohort of 10 apprentices, recruited from a pool of students who have completed an Associate of Applied Science degree (or the equivalent), will be enrolled as registered apprentices with participating employers such as GC2IT, while they complete a Bachelor of Science, Software Development degree at WGU at no cost. WGU’s online competency-based model provides the flexibility to enable students to complete their degree and related certificates in only 18 to 24 months.  

In the year spanning September 2020 to September 2021, Nevada had the second-largest increase in job growth in the nation, creating an immediate need for highly-skilled workers. “Cities throughout the US are competing not only for job growth, but also for work-ready people. Developing our community’s workforce pipeline has never been more important. Southern Nevada is one of the fastest growing economies in the US and WGU’s apprenticeship program is critical to increasing our competitiveness for this growth,” said Jared Smith, Chief Operating Officer at LVGEA.  

This program not only expedites filling in-demand roles, but it also increases equity and inclusion by focusing on the recruitment of women and people of color into software developer positions. According to the US Department of Labor, registered apprenticeships help increase diversity in the workforce by expanding opportunities for skill attainment to traditionally underserved populations. Students enrolled in this program will no longer have to choose between employment or education, opening the door for a more diverse student population. The ability to earn money while upskilling or obtaining a bachelor’s degree allows communities to build inclusive and stable workforces by addressing equity gaps and barriers to degree attainment.

As Nevada’s workforce needs continue to change and evolve, WGU’s affordable, flexible and competency-based model is ready to educate and support current or aspiring software developers wherever they are on their career path. Rick Benbow, WGU’s West Region Vice President explains, “One of the greatest challenges for students is aligning education with work experience. The faster you can connect the two, the quicker you can realize your value in the labor force. While the concept of apprenticeship programs is not new, the application to the software development profession is unique in Nevada and will prepare students to accelerate this opportunity in a high demand field. This opportunity is transformational and will enhance the career trajectory of participants.”

Together with our apprenticeship partners, we are dedicated to developing a talented, stable, and skilled workforce that contributes to the exponential economic growth in Southern Nevada.

See additional information or apply to the Software Developer Apprenticeship Program.

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Leslie Reed, Director, External Communications
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