Tulsa Community College Joins Effort to Expand and Diversify the IT Workforce

Tulsa Community College is partnering with CompTIA Apprenticeships for Tech, a program to increase the number of information technology workers across America and expand career opportunities to groups underrepresented in the tech workforce.

The collaboration with CompTIA Apprenticeships for Tech will provide Oklahoma citizens with new options for IT career training and help companies recruit tech talent.

“Apprenticeships are a proven method for building skills and preparing people to enter the workforce,” said Secretary Scott Mueller, Secretary of Commerce and Workforce Development. “This partnership will provide Oklahomans family-sustaining jobs in tech and employers the highly-skilled and qualified talent they need for continued economic growth.”

Through this collaboration TCC will offer Oklahoma residents new education and training options to prepare them for work in two high-demand IT occupations – cybersecurity specialist and network support specialist. The college will also work with employers to help them recruit and employ skilled tech talent.

“Through this collaborative effort, we are using best practices to combine classroom learning and demonstrated skills with on-the-job training gained through paid apprenticeships,” said Dr. Leigh Goodson, TCC president and CEO. “The information technology field including cybersecurity and computer networking is an in-demand job and this innovative partnership with employers, non-profits, government and TCC will help ensure we have skilled talent to meet the need.”

Several private and public sector organizations are joining TCC in this effort to help individuals overcome employment barriers to obtain fulfilling careers and help Oklahoma companies recruit and train skilled talent people. They include:

  • Urban Coders Guild, a Tulsa-based nonprofit organization that teaches coding to middle and high school students from historically underserved and underrepresented communities,
  • Green Country Workforce Development Board, which provides workforce services and resources to develop talent in 11 counties in northeast Oklahoma,
  • Oklahoma Works, the state’s workforce development initiative,
  • Tom Love Innovation Hub at the University of Oklahoma, a cutting-edge facility to foster the creation, development, and implementation of innovative ideas, and
  • Tulsa Community WorkAdvance, a sector-based program with a dual-customer approach to meet the needs of job seekers and employers in power sectors.

“We are honored to have Tulsa Community College join us in this effort to open IT career opportunities to more people and to help Oklahoma employers build a strong pipeline of tech talent now and for the future,” said Amy Kardel, vice president for strategic workforce relationships at CompTIA. “Apprenticeships are a proven method for building skills and preparing people for employment. The training regimens that we have developed and that TCC will implement are designed to produce candidates with the right mix of technical and business skills required in today’s digital age.”

The demand for IT professionals in the Tulsa metropolitan area is strong. Employers listed job openings for nearly 2,900 core IT occupations during the first six months of 2021, according to CompTIA’s analysis of Burning Glass Technologies Labor Insights data. The number of job postings increased by 31% from Q1 to Q2. Included in this total are job openings for IT workers in both cybersecurity and networking – the two career training paths that TCC will offer. Instruction will be built around the National Guideline Standards created by CompTIA and approved by the U.S. Department of Labor. These standards detail the competencies in both technical and employability skills that apprentices will need to join the IT workforce as network support specialists, who analyze, troubleshoot, and evaluate problems with computer networks; and cybersecurity support technicians, tasked with detecting cyber threats and implementing changes to protect an organization.

Tulsa area employers interested in building a tech apprenticeship program and individuals who would like to become an apprentice can find more information by visiting CompTIA Apprenticeships for Tech email Pete Selden, TCC vice president for workforce development.