How Diversity Has Strengthened Our Workforce
When Tech One IT started the Technology Apprenticeship Program (TAP) in 2016, we hoped to be recruiting a diverse group of talent and believed this would make the program stronger. Now, years later, we have monitored the diversity amongst apprentices and are able to clearly recognize how diversity of all kinds is beneficial to our talent, our own organization, and the business of our clients.
How We Classify Diversity
Diversity is ordinarily clarified as race, but we look at diversity as a much further-reaching definition. To us, diversity takes into consideration social constraints, including heritage, financial standing (or class), cultural background (should that differ from heritage), race, gender, sexual orientation, place of birth, disability, and more. Of course, we are unable to track every element of diversity, but we do believe that our apprentices are varied by more than just the color of their skin.
And this diversity is a fact we celebrate!
How Do We Attract a Diverse Group Of Applicants?
We reach a varied group of technology professionals that have either recently graduated or are early in their careers. Apprentices have come to us from feeder schools that focus on technology and offer fast-track programs that cater specifically to students that are unable to afford big university programs. Many of these students work while in college and come with a level of experience that is gained by work experience and pure drive. Other apprentices graduated but found it difficult to get a job without experience. Some were forced to take jobs outside of the industry and come to us with a high level of gratitude for the opportunity. And yet others graduate from one of the many stellar major universities in Arizona. These apprentices are well-versed in testing systems and working on applications, but have little or no real-world experience.
Even with the three different viewpoints laid out here, we have hustle, humility, and skill. We can already start to see the strength of the team over the individual.
How Does The Diversity We Attract Strengthen The Technology Apprenticeship Program?
Share Skills/ Mentoring
TAP apprentices find that they lean on their Tech One IT mentors for troubleshooting day to day issues with their job. They may speak to their client mentor for issues relating to company culture, but for skill sharing and working through tech problems, many of our apprentices lean on each other. Their shared experience on this specific project will strengthen the bonds between them, even though they are aware of the competition for a full-time job.
“It seems that the ability to integrate different points of view is what enhances individual creativity. In research by Carmit Tadmor, a Senior Lecturer at the Coller School of Management (Tel Aviv University), bi-cultural individuals who were able to identify with both their home and host cultures showed enhanced creativity. What Tadmor and colleagues found was that these bi-culturals had greater levels of integrative complexity, which is the ability to consider and combine multiple perspectives and points of view.” (Forbes.com)
By pulling from a variety of backgrounds, apprentices are able to view situations through different scopes and are more likely to solve problems using fresh and original ideas.
“Homophily” is the term for the human attraction to those with similar traits. Often, we as humans will gravitate to people from shared backgrounds, race, or gender, etc. This feels easy for us humans (New York Times), but in many respects, it diminishes our possibilities.
TAP pushes apprentices out of their comfort zone in many ways, and the focus becomes more singular: what can we learn from each other in order to grow?.
Apprentices are valued for their differences AND their shared skills. While we appreciate their differing backgrounds, the shared project, the shared goal, and the shared skills they have increases productivity. In fact, technology teams that are enhanced by TAP usually show better results (and therefore increased profitability) than similar teams without TAP. Why? Because our diversity brings together new viewpoints, but only serves to fortify the shared talent brought to each program.
“Diversity significantly improves financial performance on measures such as profitable investments at the individual portfolio-company level and overall fund returns.” (Harvard Business Review)
To succeed in a highly competitive environment, it pays to take risks. By sticking with the status quo, studies have shown that you will decrease opportunity, and along with that, profit. By engaging with a team with varied life experiences, you are more likely to gather opinions and ideas outside of the status quo. That’s a risk that will pay off.
How Does The Diversity Help Our Apprentices?
With an experience like TAP under your belt, you are able to draw on the knowledge, skills, and friendships you’ve built for the rest of your career.
TAP is somewhat akin to a fraternity or sorority and the teammates you meet will not only help you during your time on the project but throughout your career. You can call on your teammates to assist with a project, provide a reference, troubleshoot, or even help you in advancing your career.
At Tech One IT, we recognize our fortune for being in a diverse area of the country and we are so grateful to have the opportunity to learn and grow as a direct result of our apprentices. In all, we see only positive experiences from hiring and working with a diverse group of teammates.
If you are interested in TAP, please know that we are able to set up programs regardless of the situation: remote or in-office. Please contact us today!