The Portal is bringing a pioneering model to the tech industry in southern California by breaking out of curriculum-based learning and into live project-based, professional immersion.

We don’t have a standard curriculum with lectures or classes. Instead, our apprenticeship program offers student teams the opportunity to learn hands-on with actual clients. We produce developers that are primed for job placement.

How do we transform students into experienced hires?

Our model is based on 3 phases:

Phase 1 Training: Utilizing a project simulation structure, we provide the basics of full-stack development. Students learn individually and in groups to promote peer-to-peer learning. The most successful students in training are placed into more challenging and exciting projects in Phase 2.

Phase 2 Live projects: We roll-up our sleeves with students who learn the greatest lessons and demonstrate the best practice on the job. This includes working in a cross-functional team with project managers and UI/UX designers to bring a completed product scope to a client.

Phase 3 Job placement: Through our direct pipelines to local companies that are constantly seeking technical talent, we place graduating students into full-time jobs. At this point, the student becomes a Portal alumnus and remains in our network to mentor and advise new cohorts of students.

Our model however, is not the pioneering aspect of our work.

The secret to success throughout each phase of the program starts right at the beginning: accessing and retaining raw talent — the hungriest, the most ambitious, and the most committed. This means that we are not always the most skilled developer in the room, but the individual with the greatest desire to successfully complete challenging projects, lead teams, and collaborate in problem solving.

Attracting and retaining this talent requires The Portal to provide just the right balance of:

  1. Building on new and exciting technologies that actually impact real companies every single day
  2. Career development and placement opportunities
  3. Enriching peer environment where students not only learn from each other, but can confide in and learn from engaged and hands-on trainers

We are constantly evaluating and iterating on this model — do you have experience in career development programs? We want to hear about them.

Connect to us on Twitter @ThePortalio or Facebook @theportal.io to tell us more!

Originally published on our Medium on December 19, 2016.