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M&T Bank hires Z Development Program tech apprentices

The ZDP, which was launched last year, is a an initiative that helps train people with little to no tech experiences.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The first cohort of tech apprentices for M&T Bank's Z Development Program (ZDP) have been hired.

The ZDP, which was launched last year, is a an initiative that helps train people with little to no tech experiences.

“Two of the biggest challenges facing the tech industry right now are the demand for more technologists and the need for a more diverse, inclusive workforce,” said Sonny Sonnenstein, M&T Bank Chief Information Officer for Retail, Business and Digital Banking in a released statement. “Through our ZDP apprenticeship and our intentionally inclusive recruitment practices, we want to help create a tech ecosystem where everyone feels they belong – an ecosystem that does more to encourage women, people of color and veterans to pursue careers in technology. This program and the hiring of our first cohort are important next steps.”  

The 10 new apprentices will join the bank as entry-level technologists who will support critical banking functions that run on the IBM Z platform. 

M&T says they are the first employer in the nation to collaborate with IBM and its partners to create a local activation of their national program.  

The ZDP apprentices will reside in the Western New York area and will start a two-year apprenticeship in two phases:

  • Formal Apprenticeship: A 12-month DOL-registered apprenticeship program, over 1,000 hours of on-the-job training and over 300 hours of virtual classroom instruction.
  • Continuous Learning and Professional Development: Additional on-the-job training and courses provided through M&T’s Center for Learning and Development and the Tech Academy.

The apprentices will be placed into two roles:

  • Mainframe Application Developer: After being trained to design and build programs that use the power of the mainframe to deliver for customers, these technologists will develop applications and solutions for core banking functions like depositing money, making loans and moving money through credit and debit card transactions. 
  • Mainframe Systems Administrator: Following training into mainframe hardware and platforms, these technologists will ensure a stable, secure base for applications to be built and hosted, performing critical maintenance functions and implementing solutions to make the mainframe available 24x7.

Once the apprentices complete their training, they will receive a DOL credential and offered full-time employment with M&T. The bank says they hope to recruit and hire more apprentices in the future.