Co-designed with equity champions in tech, the Equitable Tech Apprenticeship Toolkit is a one-stop resource offering tech workers, leaders, and policy professionals actionable guidance on how to increase racial and educational inclusion through apprenticeships.
What It Is
The toolkit explains how to maintain a focus on equity and inclusion for Black, Latinx/e, Indigenous talent who are skilled via alternative routes than bachelor’s degrees in tech apprenticeship program design and implementation. It addresses six core practice areas impacting the apprentice experience: (1) gaining program buy-in, (2) sourcing talent, (3) assessing talent, (4) structuring the learning journey, (5) creating a culture of mentorship and support, and (6) converting talent & sustaining future equity work. Each module includes templates, tools, and tips to explore.
Each tool is grounded in direct learnings from seasoned tech workers and leaders who have ushered in equitable apprenticeship programs at their own companies. The toolkit offers practical guidance based on an understanding of the tradeoffs tech companies need to consider to develop racially and educationally equitable standards in apprenticeships for core, high-paying career paths, such as software engineering and product design.
Who It’s For
The toolkit is for tech employees interested in creating new equitable standards in technical talent development as well as innovation that leads to more inclusive products. Whether you’re at a large scale tech company or new startup, in technical business units, recruiting, or an employee resource group, the toolkit can help you take action.
We designed this resource specifically for tech workers after learning that 80% of tech apprenticeship programs the Kapor Center analyzed (from interviews with 30 tech companies) were started not by executives, but by tech workers who organized to gain leadership buy-in.
Policy professionals will also benefit from this resource through an increased understanding of the unique opportunities and challenges of implementing equity and apprenticeship work within tech workplace culture.
The toolkit is meant to be applied, tested, and iterated upon by tech employees over time and varying contexts. We encourage feedback in the comments section of each tool!
In addition, for those interested in joining a future community-of-action and in learning how to apply these tools at your tech workplace, please fill out this interest form.
Why Use It
Progress towards an equitable tech ecosystem has been stalled for decades, and in many respects is regressing. Between 2014 and 2021, there was only a 1% increase in Black representation in large tech companies’ technical talent. This is why new and inclusive hiring approaches that move beyond one-off corporate responsibility campaigns, and instead sustainably embed in the core tech business model are urgently needed.
Skills-based apprenticeships present a compelling solution for tech company teams to access talent at scale, while boosting diversity and inclusion. These opportunities combine coursework and paid, job-based learning with structured mentorship and clear milestones tied to job conversion. In tech, they’re one of few entry paths accessible to individuals who are skilled through alternative routes (STARs) instead of a bachelor’s degree (76% of Black adults and 83% of Latinx/e adults).
But apprenticeship adoption alone is not enough. Improvements in diversity and inclusion rely on intentional, holistic program design. From 2000 to 2016, for example, 70% of STEM apprentices were White, whereas from 2017 onward, minority representation increased as awareness of the importance of equity has grown. You, too, can join the movement to help tech build the talent it needs, while building an industry that prioritizes racial equity and inclusion…the time for action is now!
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The Tech Apprenticeship Equity Toolkit was created by the Kapor Center and co-designed with Opportunity@Work
About the Kapor Foundation
The Kapor Foundation works at the intersection of racial justice and technology by removing barriers in order to make the technology ecosystem more diverse, inclusive, and impactful for communities of color. The Kapor Foundation is a recognized leader in the movement to transform the technology ecosystem by expanding access to tech education, conducting research on disparities in the technology pipeline, supporting nonprofit organizations and initiatives, and investing in gap-closing startups and entrepreneurs. For more information on the Kapor Foundation and the Kapor family of organizations, SMASH and Kapor Capital, visit www.kaporcenter.org.
Opportunity@Work is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to enable at least 1 million working adults in America to translate their learning into earning — generating a $20 billion boost in annual earnings. Opportunity@Work engages with corporate, philanthropic, and workforce partners to directly address the barriers that STARs face, recognize STARs talent and remove bachelor’s degree screens. Learn more at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have questions or comments about the Equitable Tech Apprenticeship Toolkit? Send us a note.