Tuesday, February 4, 2014

First Class of UNO GE Capital Software Engineering Apprenticeship Program Gets to Work

SWEAP Spring 2014The first class of the groundbreaking UNO GE Capital Software Engineering Apprenticeship Program gets to work this semester.

The GE Capital Technology Center in New Orleans recently launched its first Software Engineering Apprenticeship Program (SWEAP) class with 13 students from the University of New Orleans. These students will apprentice with GE Capital while earning their degree and will receive formal industry mentorship and training in addition to their hands-on work experience.

The first class of apprentices all come from UNO's Department of Computer Science. More than a quarter of the apprentices are from outside of Louisiana, including Illinois, Ohio, Mississippi, and even Yaoundé, Cameroon. For most of the students, this apprenticeship is their first experience developing software at an enterprise level. According to GE Capital officials, the students' interests in web development, mobile applications, data science, artificial intelligence, and cyber security are already sparking creativity and pushing the GE Capital employees look at different, simpler ways of solving problems.

"The combination of work experience, mentorship, and custom GE learning curriculum is providing these students with a unique experience," said Jeff Serpas, manager of the SWEAP program. "Our close partnership with UNO also allows the students to earn credit towards their degree while gaining real-world experience, truly allowing them to jump start their software development careers."

The apprentices began their GE experience with a 2-day boot camp where they covered topics that spanned software development, application security, agile methodology, cloud automation, and business intelligence.

The apprentices understand the importance of learning technical and professional skills to transition effectively from campus to corporate life. "SWEAP is a good fit for my career because it allows me to grow professionally, meet other people who are passionate about technology and tailor my skills for the corporate world," said Brice Djilo, a UNO student and SWEAP apprentice.

In addition to providing apprentices with industry mentorship from GE Capital technology professionals and real-world experience, the partnership with UNO will include GE Capital's investment in UNO's computer science curriculum to ensure that the pipeline of talent remains vibrant in the future. By the end of 2014, GE Capital plans to hire another class of software apprentices for the program. The training that students receive will position them for better engineering opportunities with GE Capital or other employers in the area.

"GE Capital is giving me the chance to see how real work in this field is done on a day-to-day basis," said Brandon Walker, a sophomore apprentice. "SWEAP, in my opinion, is a huge step in the right direction for me to find out what I want to do. The mentors, like everyone else at GE Capital, seem to want nothing but the best from those in this program."

Since its move to the city in 2012, GE Capital has hired over 150 IT professionals from across the region. By 2015, GE Capital plans to produce a total of 300 jobs, plus benefits that will support the company's continued growth as a leader in New Orleans' growing technology sector.

"This co-op position is allowing me to develop skills in a friendly environment and gain some experience before graduation," said James Bates, a senior SWEAP apprentice. "I was surprised by how excited everyone here at GE Capital is about the SWEAP program. The team here at the technology center is really committed to the idea of making this program succeed, and in turn, making sure we succeed."

About the SWEAP program

For an overview of what the SWEAP program is and what it offers, an informational video can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/18lv6GE

About GE

GE (NYSE: GE) works on things that matter. The best people and the best technologies taking on the toughest challenges. Finding solutions in energy, health and home, transportation and finance. Building, powering, moving and curing the world. Not just imagining. Doing. GE works. For more information, visit the company's website www.ge.com.

About GE Capital

GE Capital is one of the world's largest providers of credit. For over one million businesses, large and small, GE Capital provides financing to purchase, lease and distribute equipment, as well as capital for real estate and corporate acquisitions, refinancing and restructurings. For our 100+ million consumer customers, GE Capital offers credit cards; retail sales finance programs, home, car and personal loans and credit insurance.


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