Pioneering Tomorrow's Workforce Today


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San Manuel BMI

County of Riverside

FIT Solutions

California Computer Options

Inland Regional Center

Dynamic Computer Specialists

Forum Info Tech

Apprenticeship Graduates Transition into Full-Time Employment


IECI is sustained by a combination of employer support, a self-sustaining talent recruitment program, and state funding. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation (Talent Finance: A New Consensus and Return-to-Investment, 2020) advocates for a new public-private approach to talent  development that can bring innovative approaches like IECI to scale.

Employer Support

The U.S. Chamber’s white paper on talent finance points out that one contributing factor to a growing skills gap is the separation between work and learning, which IECI addresses. Employers are continuously seeking cybersecurity talent from community colleges and universities. IECI allows employers to tailor higher education requirements to their job needs in cybersecurity. But  tailored skills programs have additional costs because they are outside the normal curricular pathway. IECI asks employers to provide resources to the academic institution to fund these additional costs through project sponsorship and student sponsorship. In partnership with IECI, employers seeking a long term, prepared cybersecurity talent pool receives customized talent in exchange for financially supporting and sustaining the program that develops that talent. 

This model has economic advantages for employers, which we point out in materials to be developed by the IECI partners. To demonstrate the return-on-investment for an established IECI  apprenticeship program, employers could calculate their annual employee churn costs. For example,  employers experience an average churn rate of 26.3% , with 30-50 days average replacement time  (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019). The cost to replace an employee can be 50% to 60% of the departing  employee’s annual salary (Society for Human Resource Management, 2020). Thus, it will cost a business  $30,000 to $45,000 to replace an employee who makes $60,000 a year, plus overall losses that can push  the costs to 90% to 200% of salary (SHRM, 2020). Employers are able to easily calculate the potential savings by supporting IECI and hiring an IECI apprentice who has demonstrated competency to  the employer in the skills the employer needs. During the grant period, IECI demonstrates the cost benefits to regional employers in order to motivate them to financially sustain IECI.

Self-Sustaining Talent Recruitment 

IECI partner Tomorrow’s Talent has experience implementing  an innovative approach to talent finance. In this model, a talent company develops students’ skills in  career, curricular, and experience pathways while they are employed as apprentices. In IECI, the employer of record during the apprentice phase is Tomorrow’s Talent, which will charge the employer the prevailing wage for the student, with an additional cost-based markup that goes to supporting the student’s academic program and IECI activities. This method reduces risks for the  student and the employer, while making the costs of cybersecurity employees consistent. The employer  benefits from having the talent while students are earning academic degrees, with the option to hire a  well-trained employee upon graduation who already knows the work role in the business. The student  benefits from having a simpler education-to-career transition and a predictable employment path. The  educational institution and Tomorrow’s Talent benefit by receiving income to sustain the IECI career and  experience pathways. These capabilities will be developed over the three years of the program, leading to a sustainable model. 

State Funding

The passage of California’s Proposition 98 created a pool of funds for apprenticeships, primarily in the trades, which currently are used by community colleges and trade schools. IECI has sought  approval to use these funds for apprenticeships in cybersecurity as part of bachelor’s degree programs. No precedent exists for apprenticeships in four-year degree programs, so CSUSB, LAUNCH, and our community college partners will work with the California Secretary of Labor, CSU Chancellor’s office, and workforce development boards to obtain approval to tap into this funding as part of the IECI sustainability model. 

Once certified for use by IECI, Proposition 98 funding will provide additional tuition assistance and some support of administrative costs. The types of entities willing to work together to secure the state funds speaks to how unique and innovative IECI truly is. 

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