AT&T, NOVA unveil IT apprenticeship program

AT&T and the Northern Virginia Community College have jointly launched a new apprenticeship program with the goal of giving on-the-job training in IT to students and potentially create a new pool of national security talent.

NOVA and Virginia’s Department of Labor and Industry have joined AT&T’s Catapult program, which is designed to be completed in two years while students go through the process of obtaining security clearances.

Apprentices will become part-time AT&T employees that train at NOVA’s Reston complex while the on-the-job training will combine in-person and virtual courses at the company’s Oakton, Virginia hub, AT&T said Tuesday.

“Identifying and hiring qualified information technology talent continues to be a challenge for federal agencies,” said Jill Singer, vice president of defense and national security at AT&T Public Sector and FirstNet, in the announcement. “In particular, national security agencies face challenges such as high-level security clearances and a need for specific IT skill sets, which can make it even harder for them to grow their talent base.”

The program launches amid expectations that IT positions will increase at twice the rate of overall U.S. employment with Northern Virginia alone needing to fill around 11,000 jobs per year through 2030, AT&T said.

Classes will begin in January 2022, while applications will be accepted from Aug. 26 to Sept. 23.

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