Cincinnati Chamber unveils the new five-year strategic framework to foster regional growth

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TQL Partners with Cincinnati Chamber to Implement Innovative Upskill Program

Total Quality Logistics (“TQL”), one of the largest freight brokerage and third-party logistics firms in the country, alongside Apprenti Cincinnati, a program offered by the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber (“Cincinnati Chamber”), have partnered to implement an IT apprenticeship upskilling program. The TQL IT Apprenticeship Program (“Apprenticeship Program”) is a unique approach to reskilling non-tech employees into tech roles by using a recurring cohort model.

The Apprenticeship Program taps into TQL’s existing 6,000+ employee base to upskill non-IT employees to become software developers. TQL’s need for IT talent stems from their focus on creating industry-leading proprietary logistics technology. The majority of TQL’s software is developed in-house, creating a significant need for software developers, which is an in-demand occupation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, software development demand is projected to grow 22% from 2019-2022, far outpacing other occupations.1

To meet the company’s need for software developers, Apprenti Cincinnati and TQL came together to create the Apprenticeship Program. This innovative program invested in existing non-IT TQL employees by sponsoring a coding bootcamp at TQL headquarters and providing 2,000 hours of on-the-job training. Over 60 employees applied for ten spots in the inaugural class, based on their IT aptitude and a series of interviews. Learn more about the apprentices’ stories and motivations in this video.

“Investing in people and technology has always been a core component of our growth strategy,” said President of TQL, Kerry Byrne. “This Apprenticeship Program perfectly aligns with that. Over the next two years, we plan to hire an additional 200 IT employees as we continue to significantly invest in building propriety industry-leading technology.”

The 10 selected apprentices previously held roles such as executive assistant, logistics account executive and financial analyst. The apprentices were released from their previous responsibilities and enrolled full-time in a 13-week coding bootcamp, taught by a third-party IT training company, MAX Technical Training.

TQL covered the cost of the coding bootcamp and kept the apprentices on salary during the technical training, allowing them to focus solely on learning. The funding was sponsored in-part by a variety of state and federal funding options including TechCred, Department of Labor funding and Apprentice Ohio grant funding.

The TechCred Program, and offerings like the Industry Sector Partnership (“ISP”) Grant, are key pillars of the Office of Workforce Transformation. Apprenti Cincinnati, in collaboration with Apprenti Ohio, received one of the inaugural ISP grants in 2020.

“TechCred and Industry Sector Partnership Grants help businesses build a workforce pipeline of the talent they need and provide Ohioans the opportunity to earn new skills that will improve their quality of life now and set them up for future success,” Lt. Governor Husted said. “Partnerships like TQL and Apprenti, with the support of state programs, are key to growing a strong tech-infused workforce in Ohio.”

The apprentices graduated from the bootcamp in July and are now receiving on-the-job training for the next 10 to 12 months as apprentices. Afterward, they will be placed in roles as IT employees. The second cohort of TQL IT apprentices will begin in the first half of 2022.

“The partnership with TQL demonstrates how employers can utilize registered apprenticeship to meet their strategic needs,” said Jill Meyer, President & CEO, Cincinnati Chamber. “TQL’s innovative approach to solving a skills gap is a practical example of how the Cincinnati region’s business community can retain and attract tech talent.”

“Our job is to make apprenticeship easy for the employer, allowing them to focus on what they do best – training their team,” said Christina Misali, Sr. Leader, Talent Connections and Apprenti Cincinnati Director.

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