Tech Pre-Apprenticeship Programs Available at No Cost

A laptop showing lines of code sitting open on a white desk. Behind the laptop is a desktop monitor, an iPhone, and a tea cup.

Arkansans interested in starting a career in information technology can apply for free online pre-apprenticeship programs through a partnership between the University of Arkansas Professional and Workforce Development, Arkansas Division of Workforce Services, the Northwest Arkansas Economic Development District, the Arkansas Center for Data Science and the Northwest Arkansas Council.

The online pre-apprenticeship programs will serve as a pathway for participants to expand their knowledge of technology and potentially move into full apprenticeship programs.

“Pre-apprenticeship programs are designed to give individuals the skills and confidence they need to be successful in various jobs and industries,” said Tara Dryer, director of training, corporate development and academic outreach at U of A Professional and Workforce Development.

The apprenticeship programs, launched in fall 2019, provide participants the opportunity to expand their careers and knowledge in the technology sector through an “earn and learn” model that includes employer-provided, on-the-job training, classroom instruction and mentorship. Apprentices who complete the program receive a portable, nationally recognized credential. 

“This joint effort between state agencies, regional employers and education providers allows Northwest Arkansas employers to hire entry-level talent who can build a career while at the same time getting valuable training,” said Joe Rollins, workforce development director at the Northwest Arkansas Council. “Those who complete the program quickly become a strong asset to the Northwest Arkansas workforce and economy.”

More than 20 pre-apprenticeship course offerings include programs in web and software development, operating systems, networking and security. For a complete list, please visit All courses are available online, and participants often have the option to select from either a six-week instructor-led course or a three-month self-paced course.

The pre-apprentice program is open to Arkansas residents 18 years of age or older who hold a high school diploma or GED, are eligible to work in the United States, and registered with Selective Service, if applicable. Applicants must have a valid driver’s license or state-issued identification card, a Social Security card, and a Selective Service Registration Card, if applicable.

For information about how to apply, please visit the U of A training website or contact an Arkansas Workforce Center in Fayetteville or Rogers.

Upon successful completion of a pre-apprenticeship program, participants are encouraged to apply for a U.S. Department of Labor Registered Apprenticeship Program offered by the Arkansas Center for Data Sciences with curriculum provided by University of Arkansas Professional and Workforce Development.