PA SMART Grant Awarded to Drexel for Registered Apprenticeship Program Development

A young man uses a tablet in a server room.

Drexel University recently received a two-year grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry to launch a program called Registered Apprenticeships for Middle-Skill Professionals (RAMP). The PA SMART Grant will fund two new occupation programs at Drexel: Certified Medical Assistant and Cybersecurity Support Technician. Each program will create opportunities for traditionally underserved adult learners and leverages Drexel’s experiential education expertise.

The RAMP program is a collaboration between Drexel’s Office of University and Community Partnerships, the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships, the Goodwin College of Professional Studies, College of Computing & Informatics and external partners. The two-year grant will enable 24 new professionals to begin or complete an apprenticeship at the university and earn Drexel credits that can be applied in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree.

The Cybersecurity Support Technician Apprenticeship will prepare apprentices for in-demand and high-paying careers as cybersecurity support technicians. Cybersecurity support technicians play an essential role in safeguarding all aspects of their employers’ information technology systems.  

Certified medical assistants are listed as one of Pennsylvania’s 2021 “High Priority Occupations,” — a list generated to align workforce training and education investments with occupations that are in demand by employers, have higher skill needs and are most likely to provide family sustaining wages. The grant will support the ongoing development of the Certified Medical Assistant Apprenticeship, which will prepare students for well-compensated jobs with advancement opportunities in the field.

Apprentices begin working immediately with employer partners, earning family sustaining wages, industry certifications and gaining new workplace skills. The competencies and certifications earned in the apprenticeships have been evaluated and approved for up to 15 credits in the Computing Security and Technology (CST) degree program in the College of Computing & Informatics.

“Apprenticeships are a learn and earn model that is common in construction and manufacturing. The rise of nontraditional apprenticeships such as cybersecurity creates access and opportunity for all, no matter where one may be on their academic and career continuum,” said Kena Sears-Brown, director of Continuing Professional Education & Workforce Initiatives in Goodwin College. “Cybersecurity and health care are two in-demand and growing industries where you can begin a pathway to family sustaining, stable careers with or without a college degree. Employers benefit from apprenticeships by gaining access to a pool of talent to fill immediate openings.”

The program follows the national guidelines for apprenticeship standards for CompTIA that have been approved by the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration (US, DOL, ETA), Office of Apprenticeship (OA). 

The funding will support the University’s continuing education and lifelong learning goals by developing a shared service model that uses existing Drexel resources for corporate continuing education and workforce development.

For more information on the program and to become an employer partner, visit this link, or email  

To RSVP for the Apprenticeship Virtual Information session on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022, visit this link. 


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