Code for America Announces 2021 Apprenticeship Program

We’re dedicated to equitably expanding opportunities in tech to people whose identities are underrepresented in the field
An announcement slide for the apprenticeship that says

Code for America is dedicated to building a team as diverse as the nation we serve. Together, we work to break down barriers to government services and make government programs accessible to all people. We’re made up of people-centered problem solvers: technologists, advocates, storytellers, and organizers from many different backgrounds and communities around the country. We believe the best way we can solve tough problems is to include the communities impacted by them. To that end, we’re dedicated to broadening our job applicant pool and placing equity at the center of our hiring practices.

But we know access to opportunities in tech isn’t always equal. Many people find jobs through networks or hear about opportunities through word-of-mouth, a system that inherently relies on privilege. We want to help level the playing field—so in 2018, we launched our first apprenticeship program.

Since then, we’ve run several successful rounds of apprenticeships. Apprentices are paired with a mentor and work side by side on some of the most exciting and important problems Code for America is working to solve.

“When I started the apprenticeship, I was excited to work with experienced UX researchers in the field. My mentors were supportive and helped me throughout the entire process. Not only did I gain enough experience to build a portfolio, but I also worked on things that matter to me.”
Betsy Valu Rohney, 2020 apprentice and now Jr. Qualitative/UX Researcher for GetCalFresh

We’re offering two software engineering apprenticeships this year. Apprentices will work collaboratively on an engineering team to help build open source software dedicated to making government services simple, effective, and easy to use. Some of the projects apprentices may work on include Integrated BenefitsGetYourRefund, and GetCalFresh.

We’re also offering an apprenticeship focusing on UX design in our service design group. Opportunities for entry level UX work are few and far between, and though there are a handful of UX apprenticeships offered across the country, few focus on civic technology and how to use design to better serve the public and ultimately change systems for the better. We hope to see applications from people who are motivated to work closely with impacted communities and organizations, collaboratively design and test their work, and make sure what we deliver respects, includes, and informs people who choose to use our products and services.

The apprenticeship is a paid, full-time, 8-month program beginning in early August. Our teams are enthusiastic about working with fresh talent, helping them build new skills, and making sure they gain confidence in the workplace and their career path. The apprenticeship also provides Code for America and the broader tech landscape with a more diverse candidate pool for hiring. Code for America aims to convert apprentices to full-time employees at the conclusion of the program, and if not, is committed to providing our apprentices with support in their job search.

"My apprenticeship at Code for America allowed me to grow as a Software Engineer while working alongside and learning from my peers and senior engineers. My mentors and teammates were invaluable resources and I felt like I had space to ask all the questions I wanted while absorbing knowledge and working on projects that made a meaningful impact on so many people experiencing hardship during the pandemic. The apprenticeship was an amazing opportunity and I would encourage anyone considering to apply!"
Alex Gonzalez, 2020 apprentice and now a Software Engineer on Integrated Benefits

Here’s who we’re hoping to see applications from:

  • Recent graduates from degree or bootcamp programs
  • People returning to the workforce and wanting to update their skills
  • People early in their career and looking to gain more experience
  • People changing career paths

We are especially looking for candidates who have a connection to our mission through lived experience with the government programs we work on. You may be an especially good fit for the program if you or your family has, for example: relied on social safety net programs such as SNAP, Medicaid, TANF, or WIC; accessed federally-funded workforce training programs; filed for the Earned Income Tax Credit or obtained tax help through a VITA volunteer tax clinic; or been engaged with the criminal legal system, been incarcerated, or lost out on opportunities because of a criminal record.

Does any of this sound like you? Learn more about what it’s like to be an apprentice at Code for America and apply online here. Think this might be a good fit for someone you know? Share with your network! Applications open April 26 and will be accepted until May 3. Apprenticeships start on August 4 and are based in Code for America’s office in San Francisco.

We’re proud to be in the company of other organizations growing early career opportunities in civic technology like Coding it Forward and Nava. We also want to thank the Bay Area Video Coalition and the San Francisco Office of Workforce Development for assisting us in getting each apprenticeship recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor.