(TNS) — Tony Byrd was growing increasingly discontented with his job running the coffee shop in the lobby of IBM’s main building in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. He had been working there since he graduated from South Granville High School nearly a decade ago, and with two young kids to provide for at home, Byrd, 27, was itching for a new start.

Now you can find him buying coffee from the same bar he used to run, except this time as a full-time IBM employee.

Byrd’s transition from barista to IT worker is part of what has become increasingly necessary in today’s technology industry: companies looking to nontraditional places to fill a growing talent gap.

Byrd is a recent graduate of IBM’s apprenticeship program — a

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