In the fall of 2018, Navy veteran and Illinois-native, Joram Howard, found himself in the Puget Sound area exploring what to do with his post-military career. Joram had always been interested in IT but was not sure how to make the leap. His experience as an Electronics Technician was a good foundation in technology, but not easily transferable into an IT career.
Joram sought a program which would help him quickly bridge the skill gap without putting his life and family on hold for years while he pursued training. The WTIA’s Apprenti veteran and diversity-oriented training mission sparked his interest, along with the potential of cost-free training.
Joram started the process by taking Apprenti’s online assessment. Similar to the GMAT, this assessment is comprised of a variety of questions and problems which includes basic algebra, critical thinking, and soft/communication skills. In the competitive Seattle region, one needs to score an 85 or above to be considered for the program. With 6000+ applicants and more individuals testing every day, the competition is fierce. Joram’s score was high, but not quite high enough to guarantee an Apprenti apprenticeship.
Frustrated, yet committed to his path in IT, Joram expanded his Apprenti application outside of the Seattle region and into Camp Murray, WA. As a training partner with Apprenti at Camp Murray, TLG Learning was able to offer an alternate track with their Washington State approved IT Pre-Apprenticeship program.
Joram happily applied for the Data Center Technician program, was accepted and joined the cohort which comprised of 15 Apprentices and Pre-Apprentices.
After completing the accelerated and intensive training, Joram’s cohort emerged with industry standard certifications and foundational knowledge in IT. As a Pre-Apprentice, Joram was guaranteed to interview with Apprenti and one of their hiring partners.
Though other opportunities were available, Joram set his sights on Apprenti’s largest hiring partner: Amazon. He waited until Amazon was ready to hire and seized the opportunity to interview for a System Development Engineer Apprenticeship at AWS.
In the spring of 2019, Joram landed his dream job at Amazon. In addition to a salary close to triple his Navy pay, Joram will enjoy the perks and benefits of full-time employment, as well as the invaluable on-the-job training and mentorship baked into Amazon’s apprentice program. This has been a transformative year for Joram!
Below is an interview on his experience with the program and his transition from Pre-Apprentice to employee:
Q: What was the training like?
Joram: Hard, fast-paced. But there was a good group to lean on.
Q: Benefits and challenges?
Joram: One benefit was ability to learn a trade and use GI benefits to supply income. The GI benefits include a monthly housing allowance and living stipend, which made living stress-free while I focused on my studies. One challenge was being alongside students who already had their apprenticeships secure which, if anything, made me focus on the pre-apprentice program even more like a job.
Q: What job will you be taking as a result of your training and how does it compare to your previous work?
Joram: I’ll be a System Dev Engineer at AWS. The work itself will be completely different than what I did in the military, however, the conditions will be similar as I learn and work in on-the-job training.
Q. What advice would you have to offer individuals who are considering the program?
Joram: Worth it! This is a nice way to network, learn, and then make career connections.
Q: And advice for someone once they’re in the program?
Joram: Find your own pace and then work ahead of yourself and keep your own pace. As much as possible, stay ahead!