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Apprentices in action

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In 2011, our founders had a wild idea: create a technology company focused on human elements where people would love to work. The goals were pretty simple: build high-quality software; have the freedom to learn, teach, and explore new technology; and give every team member visibility into the business and a voice in company decisions.

Since 2014, we have run five developer-focused Apprenticeship Programs and one QA-focused program that started from an equally wild idea: what if we found individuals with the will and desire to make a drastic change and hire, pay, and teach them, from scratch, the skills we need in tech workers? Graduates of our programs work on every team at Detroit Labs, as well as working at multiple client sites through our OnSite program.

We’re excited to announce the Detroit Labs Java Apprenticeship program for Ford Mobility: a 12-week training that will teach you all the skills you need to become a Software Developer. Successful graduates of this 12-week program will have the opportunity to interview for our OnSite Team at Ford Mobility. As a member of this group, you’ll work at Ford with our OnSite team, shaping the future of mobility. And since you’re part of the Detroit Labs family, you’ll have access to career development and mentoring and the opportunity to be a part of a great group of people.

This post will tell you all that you need to know about this specific program. For further questions, please check out our FAQ.

Selection Process

The first step in our selection process is a written application, known as the “Getting to Know You” (GTKY). The GTKY, as you’ll see below, is extensive. We are interested in learning about you, how you solve problems, how you articulate your thoughts, and what really makes you tick. Our selection team will review all applications and choose approximately 30 candidates to bring in for in-person interviews. Additional details will be provided to candidates who are selected to interview.

The Course

Weeks 1-4: Programming in Java

The first four weeks of the program are classroom-based and primarily involve lectures, workshops, and hands-on programming assignments (individual and group). This section of the course will introduce the fundamentals of programming in Java. Apprentices will also become familiar with the Java development platform and will learn Detroit Labs development practices including pair programming and version control with Git & Github.

Weeks 4-8: Application Development with Java & Spring Boot

During the second four weeks of the program, apprentices will be introduced to application development concepts using the Spring Boot framework. Additional topics covered will include database interactions with SQL, working with and building RESTful web services, JSON, and working with cloud-based application platforms.

Weeks 9-12: Project-Based Learning

During the final four weeks of the program, apprentices will continue to build their knowledge of Java & Spring Boot web development through classroom-based learning as well as small-group app development projects. This section of the course additionally focuses on team skills, including Agile workflow, tools and technologies, collaborative software development, conflict management, and communication.


Our intent is to choose an apprentice class with the best possible chance for success, and we hope to promote 100% of our apprentices to full-time developer status. However, the Apprenticeship Program runs for a maximum of 12 weeks and apprentices must demonstrate success at designated points throughout the program in order to maintain their status.

Individuals that do not meet performance criteria or are not successful at the end of the program will not be offered full-time employment with Detroit Labs.

Our Apprenticeship Programs are highly demanding and incredibly rewarding. The selection process is extremely competitive and the program requires a great deal of hard work and a full-time commitment in order to succeed. Please be sure you are ready for this commitment before applying.

The Apprenticeship Program is a full-time commitment. Program activities take place from approximately 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday each week at our downtown Detroit location. Apprentices should expect to spend additional time studying and completing homework assignments outside program hours.
Job Placement & Compensation

Your professional responsibility as an apprentice will be to perfect the concepts taught during the program. In order to successfully complete the program, you must become proficient enough in all required skills that you are able to be placed on a Detroit Labs OnSite team. Apprentices will receive a weekly stipend throughout the 12-week program, which is equivalent to or greater than the minimum wage in the state of Michigan. The program is intended to create the opportunity for apprentices to become Detroit Labs OnSite team members. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates will be considered for an OnSite role working with Detroit Labs on the Ford Mobility team. Apprentices who receive offers of full-time employment become eligible for periodic performance-based raises during the first 18 months of employment, and annually thereafter.