The Huan Hoang, cybersecurity apprentice at Robert Half.


By Jorge Marquez, Senior Vice President, Robert Half

There’s no question that apprenticeship programs are picking up steam in U.S. workplaces. More leaders realize the substantial value they offer in multiple areas and are working quickly to start their own initiatives, or better yet, tap into an existing program like the one offered by Robert Half.

In my previous post, I detailed some of the elements of strong programs. They:

  • Address critical labor shortages head-on by creating new pipelines of talent
  • Reach students in underserved communities to help them prepare for careers in highly marketable fields and “earn while they learn”
  • Provide continuous mentoring, support, and training
  • Enable firms to offer full-time jobs to apprentices at the conclusion of their program
  • Bring together the private sector, government agencies and educational institutions to refine the programs so they can meet the changing requirements of employers and students.

Overall, these programs are a win-win for those who participate in them. And while we often hear about firms hiring apprentices or those creating the initiatives, we don’t always learn about the apprentices themselves.

I want to share with you a bit about The (pronounced TAY) Huan Hoang, who is currently working as a cybersecurity apprentice for Robert Half.

The’s story

The immigrated to the United States with his family and attended community college before enrolling at Cal Poly Pomona. As a senior, he learned of Robert Half’s Apprentice Workforce Innovation Program at a job fair and was encouraged to apply. “I was extremely interested because the program offers paid, on-the-job training and remote, flexible work opportunities.” The ability to adjust his work schedule as needed is critical, as The continues to take classes and tries to balance work, family and school commitments.

The also was excited about the length of the program. Whereas many internship opportunities last for weeks, the apprenticeship lasts 12-18 months. “This gives me time to hone my skills and build relationships that could lead to a full-time opportunity, he said. “I get to work in a friendly, welcoming environment where everyone is willing to help me succeed.” Another perk he noted is being part of an international team. “As an immigrant, it’s comforting to have a global work family where everyone has different styles but still works well together.”

The support from various sources has made the apprenticeship an amazing experience. “Everyone at Robert Half has been very welcoming, and I feel like a valued part of the team,” The said. He mentioned that regular check-ins on his projects and meetings with his supervisor and mentor have helped him learn continuously.

The ‘It’ factor

As a longtime executive in the recruiting field, I’ve worked with many clients to help them staff their organizations. When interviewing job candidates, they’d often talk about finding the “It” factor. Beyond technical skills and education, these hiring managers wanted to see great interpersonal skills and proactive self-starters motivated to succeed from day one on the job.

In my current role directing the Apprentice Workforce Innovation Program, I can tell you that our apprentices – without question – possess the It factor. Many in the program, like The, have immigrated to the United States and worked hard to learn a new language and acclimate to a different culture. They’ve worked continuously through high school and college, often living at home and helping support their family. And they’ve earned their apprenticeship opportunities: Every student must complete a core group of courses, pre-apprenticeship work, and for the cybersecurity program, a 70-hour boot camp as well.

Students begin their apprenticeships with qualities they’ve developed throughout their lives. Their proactive approach, resilience and determination make them valuable additions to client teams. Managers often comment that their interpersonal skills and desire to work hard enable them to learn quickly and make solid contributions.

Looking ahead

The closed our interview by emphasizing how much he looks forward to what’s ahead. “I’m excited for what the future may hold and hope the work I’m doing could possibly lead to a full-time role,” he said.

We couldn’t be more excited to have The as part of our program. He is successful because of his commitment to work and determination, and his career prospects are exceptionally bright. We can’t wait to see what’s ahead for The and everyone in our apprenticeship community.

Jorge Marquez is the Southern California-based senior vice president for Robert Half Government, specializing in the delivery of consulting and talent solutions with federal, state, and local government agency clients and government contracting partners. Jorge also is the program leader for Robert Half’s apprenticeship and workforce innovation program.