SLO Partners Leading the Way in Attracting more Women into Apprenticeship

SLO Partners shares how it has attracted more women into STEM programs ahead of National Apprenticeship Week

 [San Luis Obispo, November 4, 2020] SLO Partners, one of the leading providers of modern apprenticeship programs in California, has shared how it attracts more women to its programs ahead of National Apprenticeship Week (Nov 8-14). Women make up 25 percent of its students, a figure that is significantly higher than the national average of seven percent. “We’re extremely proud to be leading the way in attracting more women into apprenticeship”, said Paula Mathias-Fryer, Program Director of SLO Partners. “It takes a concerted effort to attract women into these programs, particularly STEM tracks. Researching how to write program descriptions which are more inclusive and proactively targeting women can really pay off and appeal to a more diverse talent pool.” 

 Using this knowledge Paula changed the way she wrote job descriptions when she was a recruiter to create a tech workforce made up of 40 percent women. She used words like “adaptable, collaborate, create” to make a job description more interesting and open to interpretation. Paula employed these strategies along with targeted scholarships for women at SLO Partners which resulted in their most recent coding bootcamp being 50 percent women, their most diverse ever. “Getting more women into these job fields not only benefits employers, it results in more equality as it gives women more earning power and influence, particularly in the tech sectors,” Mathias-Fryer added. To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, SLO partners has also announced that it will be offering Women in Tech Scholarships for its next Ticket into Tech bootcamp.  

 Amy Pruett is Chief of Operations at SoCreate ( shared how SLO Partners helped them with their hiring needs. “We love that SLO Partners is out there providing the foundation people need to get their foot in the door – it really levels the playing field.” The program has also helped SoCreate diversify their team. “The graduates always have such diverse backgrounds. They could have been massage therapists or mechanics and don’t realize how valuable their skills are.”

 Chris Smallwood, Vice President of Cloud Operations and IT at DELMIAworks also appreciated how diverse the class was. “There were a considerable number of women in the program that I didn’t expect to see. The high-tech industry is about 90-95 percent men and it can be difficult addressing that when the candidates you’re looking to hire are also mostly men. I wanted the best person for the job but it was also important to further our goals of gender diversification – SLO Partners enabled us to achieve both.”

Marlena Lewis, a graduate of the Precision Manufacturing bootcamp program added: “Without SLO Partners I would have never known these jobs existed in SLO County, or had been considered qualified for any of the positions. At the end of the course, I had three employment offers and was able to decide which one was best for my family and I.”

In total, SLO Partners has produced five apprenticeship programs over the last three years: ‘Ticket into Tech’ (FullStack Software Developer, Software Testing and IT Networking), ‘Ticket into the Trades’ and ‘Ticket into Precision Manufacturing.’ Together, these have produced over 125 graduates and employees for around 35 local companies. Those interested in learning more about the apprenticeship programs can visit or email [email protected]


 About National Apprenticeship Week

National Apprenticeship Week (November 8-14), is a nationwide celebration that gives businesses, communities, and educators the opportunity to showcase their apprenticeship programs and apprentices while providing valuable information to career seekers.

 About SLO Partners

SLO Partners’ mission is to engage business partners and educators in aligning workforce needs with career and college pathways that provide work experience opportunities to ensure that students have the skills and knowledge necessary for success in the workplace and businesses have the skilled workers required for a sound growing economy. SLO Partners was formed in 2014 as an initiative of the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education to address college and career readiness among the county’s student population. SLO Partners has over 100 apprentices working in SLO County in tech and manufacturing with a $4M annual impact to the local economy.