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这种办法也许能填补美国的高技能人才缺口

Anne Fisher 2019年09月09日

长期以来,学徒制一直主要存在于建筑和制造业的技术人员间,但如今在白领人士中,学徒制也开始流行起来。

2008年底全球经济崩溃时洛伊达·维拉特正在愉快地打造自己的建筑师职业生涯。她所在的芝加哥公司原有100名员工,后来包括他在内的40人被裁掉了。接下来做什么呢?维拉特说:“当时我想找一份更有保障的工作,所以我决定回到学校去学些新东西。我问了一位科技行业的朋友,她告诉我,‘做网络安全吧。这方面的技术人员一直都紧缺’。”

实际情况证明这是一次很好的职业转换。如今,维拉特成了埃森哲负责内部客户的网络安全团队中的一名分析师。她在芝加哥威尔伯·莱特社区大学考信息技术证书时和埃森哲签约,并在2016年加入了学徒项目。

到目前为止,已有约350名技术新手以“边学边干”的方式加入了埃森哲。这家公司主要通过社区大学来招募有潜力的人才,支付他们工资,并在他们求学时掌握的基础技能之上,针对具体工作加以培训。经过六个月到一年的学徒期,他们就会成为正式员工。

这种做法正在流行开来。埃森哲已将其学徒项目从芝加哥扩展到了亚特兰大、波士顿、哥伦布、底特律、圣安东尼奥、西雅图和旧金山等地。该公司预计到2020年将在美国20座城市培训450名学徒。朱莉·斯威特曾是埃森哲北美业务首席执行官,今年9月1日成为整个埃森哲的CEO,同时也成为全球500强女性领导人群体的最新成员,这个群体很小,仅有15人。斯威特说:“我们已经证明学徒制可以扩展。”

斯威特策划了埃森哲学徒项目的基本模式,她说学徒项目“不光可以用于IT职位,还适用于所有大公司都需要的一系列其他工作岗位。”除了网络安全、数据分析和软件工程,埃森哲目前还在人力资源、财务和营销等其他领域培训学徒。

斯威特认为学徒制有可能同时解决两个问题。第一个问题最为明显,那就是培训有助于填补技能缺口,而正是这个缺口让用人单位陷入招聘困境。在此之外则是一个范围大得多而且更棘手的社会问题(更不用说是个政治敏感话题了),人们经常将其称为数字鸿沟,意思是技术把经济一分为二,其中大多数“知识型工作者”都一帆风顺,而且变得更为富裕,那些地位较低的人则被甩得越来越远。

斯威特指出:“我们人口中的某些群体完全被数字经济拒于门外。因此非常有必要提高包容性。”为解决这个问题,埃森哲的学徒招聘人员把重点放在找到背景不同的出色人士上,他们想跨越数字鸿沟,但未必负担得起大学本科学费。

当然,长期以来学徒制一直主要存在于建筑和制造业的技术人员间,但斯威特说,白领人士中的学徒制“仍刚刚起步”。她已经成为这种观念的传播者。2017年,斯威特和再保险巨头怡安CEO克雷格·凯斯共同组建了名为芝加哥学徒网络的团体,该团体仅去年就发展了25名新的公司成员,其中包括麦当劳、苏黎世保险集团、沃尔格林和摩根大通等重磅企业,并且计划在明年底前至少和1000名学徒签约。

与此同时,埃森哲和怡安还出版了一本学徒手册,其中有深度解析、最佳方案和具体而微的提示,任何公司都可借此设计并推出自己的学徒项目。

对有志于打算跨越技术鸿沟的技术人员和其他人士来说,获得拿得出手的技能可以为坚实的长期职业发展道路奠定基础。但学徒也可以在短期内做的相当好。大家可以考虑一下:刚刚结束学徒期的新员工的平均工资约为5万美元,而且没有学生贷款,这是美国劳工部的数据。而最近毕业的本科生的平均薪酬水平为4.4万美元,但他们平均还负担着大概3万美元的学生贷款。

有鉴于此,我们就很容易理解为什么通过学徒制进入公司的员工往往都是热心的招聘者。在埃森哲,曾经的建筑师洛伊达·维拉特正在催促三名社区大学同学申请成为学徒。她还通过全国性非盈利组织Girls Who Code辅导那些对技术工作感兴趣的高中女生。维拉特说:“对女生来说,在技术领域找到女性榜样很重要。有些东西她们是不会问其他成年人的,比如父母,但她们可以问我。”

谁知道呢?随着时间推移,学徒制或许能成为一条有用的途径,不仅填补一些技能缺口和技术鸿沟,还会把恶名在外的IT性别鸿沟也填上。(财富中文网)

译者:Charlie

审校:夏林

Loyda Villate was happily building a career as an architect when the global economy collapsed in late 2008. The Chicago firm where she worked laid off 40 of its 100 staffers, including her. What was her next move? “I wanted a career with more job security, so I decided to go back to school and learn something new,” she says now. “I asked a friend of mine in tech, and she told me, ‘Go into cybersecurity. There are never enough skilled people to go around.'”

That proved to be a good career change. Fast forward to the present, and Villate is now an analyst on a cybersecurity team that works with internal customers at Accenture. The company signed her up while she was studying for an information-technology certificate at Wilbur Wright Community College in Chicago, through an apprenticeship program Accenture launched in 2016.

So far, about 350 novice techies have joined Accenture as "earn while you learn" apprentices. The company recruits promising talent mainly through community colleges, then pays them while they add further, job-specific training to the basic tech skills they've acquired in school. After six months to a year as apprentices, they're hired as full-fledged employees.

It's catching on. Accenture has expanded its apprenticeship program beyond Chicago to Atlanta, Boston, Columbus, Detroit, San Antonio, Seattle, San Francisco, and elsewhere. The company expects to have trained a total of 450 apprentices in 20 U.S. cities by 2020. "We're proving that apprenticeships can be scalable," says Julie Sweet. Formerly CEO of Accenture North America, Sweet took over as CEO of all of Accenture on September 1st, making her the latest addition to the tiny list of just 15 women who head Global 500 companies.

Accenture's basic model for apprenticeship programs, which started as Sweet's brainchild, "can be adapted not only for IT jobs but for a range of other roles that all big companies need to fill," she says. Besides cybersecurity, data analytics, and software engineering, Accenture is now training apprentices in other areas like HR, finance, and marketing.

Sweet sees apprenticeships as having the potential to solve two problems at once. First, and most obvious, the training helps narrow the skills gaps that make it tough for employers to fill jobs. Beyond that, though, is a much broader and thornier social issue (not to mention a political hot button) often referred to as the Digital Divide: technology has split the economy in two, with most "knowledge workers" thriving —and getting more affluent— while the less privileged fall further and further behind.

"There are whole segments of the population being left out of the digital economy," notes Sweet. "So there is a pressing need for more inclusiveness." To address that, Accenture's apprenticeship recruiters focus on finding bright people from diverse backgrounds who want to cross the Digital Divide but can't necessarily afford a four-year degree.

Apprenticeships have long been a staple of the skilled trades in construction and manufacturing, of course, but the white-collar kind is "still in its infancy," Sweet says. She's become an evangelist for the idea. In 2017, with Greg Case, CEO of reinsurance giant Aon, Sweet cofounded a group called the Chicago Apprentice Network that has brought on board 25 new members in just the past year. Those companies, which include heavy hitters like McDonald's, Zurich Insurance, Walgreens, and JP Morgan Chase, plan to sign up at least 1,000 apprentices by the end of next year.

In the meantime, Accenture and Aon published an apprenticeship "playbook" that offers insights, best practices, and nuts-and-bolts tips that any company can use to design and launch its own program.

For aspiring techies and others who want to leapfrog the Digital Divide, getting marketable skills can lay the foundation for a solid long-term career path. But apprentices do pretty well in the short term, too. Consider: The average salary of a new employee who has just completed an apprenticeship is about $50,000, with no student debt, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Median salary of a recent graduate of a four-year college: $44,000 —with an average of roughly $30,000 in student loans to pay off.

Given stats like that, it's not surprising that apprentices-turned-employees are often enthusiastic recruiters. At Accenture, erstwhile architect Loyda Villate urged three of her former community-college classmates to apply for apprenticeships. They did and were accepted, so she's now an informal mentor to all three. Villate also mentors high school girls interested in tech careers, through the national nonprofit Girls Who Code. "It's important for girls to have female role models in tech," Villate says. "They can ask me things they wouldn't ask another adult, like a parent."

Who knows? In time, apprenticeships might be one way to help narrow not only some skills gaps and the Digital Divide, but the infamous IT Gender Divide as well.

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