A new apprenticeship program for computer science and engineering student developers is springing up in the hopes of retaining more high-quality programming talent in Connecticut.

The program, called A100, combines hands-on training with paid internships at Connecticut technology companies. The training portion runs concurrently with the internships through the summer and will be facilitated by New Haven-based developer Independent Software.

Independent Software CEO Derek Koch says that the training component will help students apply the theoretical knowledge they are learning in the classroom to the type of real-world development work small startups need. Koch says that this transition from school to startup can be difficult and often recent graduates and their employers are not ready for that learning curve.

“While there are a lot of great students in Connecticut, the startup community and smaller companies in Connecticut don’t really have the wherewithal to tap into them as a resource.  Even if they do it takes much too long to get those students up and running.”

Often, those students go to work in New York City or Silicon Valley where larger communities of technology companies exist and have the resources to transition new hires into working in small, agile startup teams.

Koch says the program has about 50 student applicants so far and he expects about 15 to 20 will be accepted this cycle. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis so students are encouraged to get their applications in so they can be placed as new cycles are started. More than 15 local companies have agreed to participate and will offer paid internships to the apprentices.

The program is not limited to computer science majors. Koch says math and electrical engineering students also should consider applying. Students with other academic backgrounds but who have coding skills also are encouraged to submit an application.

Koch says more than half of the A100 training component is funded through the New Haven Grid — a program announced last year as part of Connecticut’s $5 million “Innovation Ecosystem.” Compensation for the paid internships will be funded by the participating companies.

An application form can be found on the The Grid New Haven’s website.

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