Washington State is the world leader in aerospace production and home to more than 1,350* aerospace-related companies employing more than 132,500* highly-skilled aerospace and manufacturing workers. The increase in impending retirements, new emerging technologies and a greater production demand have created challenges for building a skilled 21st century workforce and competing in a global economy. Over the next five years, the state will need more than 7,000** additional aerospace workers to fill the increasing demand. The current workforce is composed of tradespeople that offer valuable knowledge and skills acquired through years of experience. It is imperative that employers have an avenue to capture the knowledge of these retiring tradespeople and pass that knowledge on to the next generation.
Washington State funded the creation of the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC) in 2008 to devise this avenue. AJAC is a statewide, nonprofit 501(c)(3) aerospace and advanced manufacturing registered apprenticeship program. It is the mission of AJAC that the training of apprentices shall be without discrimination based on race, sex, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, veteran status or as otherwise specified by law.
AJAC and its advisory committee, comprised of employers and employees, have developed and implemented the following registered apprenticeship programs based on employer and industry need:
- Machinist (Aircraft-Oriented)
- Aircraft Mechanic Airframe
- Precision Metal Fabricator
- Tool and Die Maker
- Industrial Maintenance Mechanic
AJAC is currently developing registered apprenticeship programs to offer in the future for Aircraft Interiors Assembly Mechanic and Composite Technician.
Apprenticeship combines supervised on-the-job training experience with college-level classroom instruction enabling:
- Employees to earn a living wage while they learn on-the-job from a mentor and attend class one night a week at a local community or technical college
- Employers to increase their workforce skills without disrupting production
AJAC’s program offers:
- Employers across Washington State a proven method to capture these knowledge and skills
- Apprentices the tools necessary to learn and master these skills, advance in their career and become a master tradesperson
In addition to obtaining journey-level certification as a master tradesperson, AJAC’s unique program sets the apprentice on a path towards an associate’s degree that can articulate into a four-year degree. Companies across Washington State who participate as registered Training Agents with AJAC can enroll current employees in an existing AJAC program. If a company has 15 or more employees that need training in one of AJAC’s currently registered occupations, AJAC can create a new program exclusively for that company.
AJAC’s offices are located in Seattle and Spokane and AJAC apprenticeship programs reside across Washington State. New apprenticeship programs can be created in any region of Washington State.
To find out how you can become an apprentice, visit AJAC’s Get Started section.