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Franklin Apprenticeships Expands Corporate Learning and Development Expertise with Senior Operations and Marketing Hires

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Franklin Apprenticeships, the professional apprenticeship experts, today announced two senior hires in Operations and Marketing to support its continued growth.

We have reached the tipping point for technology apprenticeships in the United States. Colleges simply cannot provide enough supply to meet the demand for technology skills.”
— Kim Nichols, CEO, Franklin Apprenticeships

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, UNITED STATES, March 28, 2022 / -- Franklin Apprenticeships, the professional apprenticeship experts, today announced two senior hires that expand the company’s learning and development expertise to support further growth. Franklin has appointed Helen Smyth as Vice President of Operations and Mikki Draggoo as Vice President of Marketing. These appointments follow significant demand for Franklin’s tech apprenticeship programs, especially from large enterprise clients including logistics companies, financial institutions and transportation providers, including 15 in the Fortune 500.

Smyth and Draggoo bring extensive experience building, running and marketing professional development and apprenticeship programs, as they both worked in the United Kingdom during a period of significant expansion of professional apprenticeships.

“We have reached the tipping point for technology apprenticeships in the United States,” said Kim Nichols, “Colleges simply cannot provide enough supply to meet the demand for technology skills, which is why employers and jobseekers are increasingly turning towards our earn-and-learn apprenticeship programs. With Helen and Mikki onboard, we are expanding our infrastructure to serve more enterprise clients across more occupations, and focusing on spreading the word about the benefits of apprenticeship programs to more employers and job seekers.”

Smyth brings 25+ years of international experience in education and corporate learning spanning the U.K., China, Malaysia, Poland, Spain and the USA, with extensive skills in learning strategy, program and systems design and delivery, coaching and leadership. Most recently, she founded and led the Learning Products and Experiences team at Sainsbury’s, a British supermarket chain and financial services organization with over 180,000 employees. Before that, she served as head of learning and development for international corporations including IMI plc. and led academic course design and delivery at several UK universities.

“Throughout my career, my goal has always been to help others reach their potential through learning," explained Smyth. “I have experienced the transformational power of enabling people to upskill and reskill for new and existing roles, and the impact this can have on engagement, opportunity and productivity. That’s what we do at Franklin Apprenticeships and it is why I am so thrilled to join a team that’s making apprenticeships a mainstream option in the United States.”

Draggoo is a passionate brand-builder and strategist with more than 15 years of experience in corporate agency and in-house roles, including a decade working in London. Notably, she spent eight years at the City & Guilds Group, one of the world’s largest skills-based education companies, in progressively senior roles including Vice President of Strategic Planning, Brand and Engagement. As a consultant, she served as a senior advisor on brand, reputation and marketing for a range of clients from finance and healthcare to e-commerce. She also worked for H+K Strategies’ corporate technology team, managing campaigns for global tech companies.

“When I worked in London, I had exceptional apprentices on my team that made substantial contributions to the business," Draggoo explained. "It made me realize that professional apprenticeship programs are a missing piece in the talent strategy for most American corporations. That's why I’m thrilled to be part of the Franklin Apprenticeships team, and to be helping unlock the potential of the American economy with apprenticeships.”

Apprenticeships are earn-as-you-learn programs; they are a pathway to rewarding careers for individuals and a source of diverse, motivated talent for employers. Franklin's Apprenticeship programs include: IBM Z® Mainframe App Developer, IBM Z® Mainframe Systems Administrator II & I, Software Engineer, Help Desk Technician, Network Engineer and Cybersecurity Analyst.


About Franklin Apprenticeships

Franklin Apprenticeships is a women-owned and led company that helps employers fill mission-critical tech roles with undiscovered, diverse talent by removing the barrier of a college degree or prior experience. Franklin finds eager, hardworking candidates from all walks of life with an aptitude for tech and trains and supports them and their employers every step of the way throughout their apprenticeships.  

Franklin unlocks potential within people and organizations. Franklin’s employers report their apprentices are 80% productive within in six months, and 100% competent by the end of their apprenticeships. Learn more at:

Rachel Torregiano
Franklin Apprenticeships
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