Apprentice Facts and Questions

What is an Apprenticeship Program in the Aerospace and Manufacturing Industries?
What Careers Can I Train for with an AJAC Apprenticeship Program?
How Can I Benefit by Becoming an Apprentice?
What Do I Earn Once I have Completed the Apprenticeship Program?
Who Can Become an Apprentice?
What are the Qualifications and Skills Employers and AJAC are Looking For?
How Can I Meet the Qualifications and Acquire the Necessary Skills?
How Long is an AJAC Apprenticeship Program?
How Much Do I Earn as an Apprentice?
Where are AJAC apprenticeship Programs Located?
When Would I Receive an Interim Certificate?
What are My Responsibilities as an Apprentice?
What are the Responsibilities of AJAC, the Employer and Other Entities?
How do I Get Started?

 

What is an Apprenticeship Program in the Aerospace and Manufacturing Industries?

Apprenticeship is often referred to as the original four-year degree. It combines supervised on-the-job training with classroom instruction and is a proven way to train people for careers in the aerospace and advanced manufacturing industries. Apprentices earn a wage while they learn on-the-job from a mentor and attend class one night a week at a local community or technical college.

During the on-the-job training portion (93%), the apprentice:

  • Is matched with a Journey-Level worker to learn the skills of an occupation
  • Learns and practices progressively challenging tasks of the occupation

During the classroom instruction portion (7%), the apprentice:

  • Attends class, usually one night per week, studying theory and practical application in class, taught by Journey-Level teachers, at a local community or technical college
  • Uses the classroom work to prepare for more difficult tasks on the job

Upon completion of the program (typically 2 to 4 years) an apprentice receives a Journey-Level Certificate that is nationally recognized in their chosen trade. Through the apprenticeship program offered by the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC), an apprentice receives college credit that can be applied towards an associate’s degree.

 

What Careers Can I Train for with an AJAC Apprenticeship Program?

Currently you can train to be a:

  • Machinist (Aircraft-Oriented)
  • Aircraft Mechanic Airframe
  • Precision Metal Fabricator
  • Tool and Die Maker
  • Industrial Maintenance Technician
  • Plastic Process Technician

In the future, once AJAC has developed and implemented these apprenticeship programs, you can train to be a:

  • Aircraft Interiors Assembly Mechanic
  • Composite Technician

How Can I Benefit by Becoming an Apprentice?

Registered apprentices:

  • Work at a full-time job while training with a mentor
  • Earn a living wage plus benefits
  • Attend class only one night per week and have no college loans to pay back at the end of your program
  • Earn credit towards an Associate’s Degree that can turn into a four-year degree
  • Earn a transferable journey-level certificate
  • Usually advance more rapidly than other workers – higher-paying jobs come more quickly
  • Only pay half of tuition costs for classes
  • May receive tuition reimbursement (depending on the employer)

 

What Do I Earn Once I have Completed the Apprenticeship Program?

Upon successful completion of an aerospace and advanced manufacturing apprenticeship program, you receive a Journey-Level Certificate confirming that you have been trained in all aspects of an occupation and have met the requirements for program completion. This Journey-Level Certificate is nationally recognized and respected by aerospace and advanced manufacturing industry employers.

 

Who Can Become an Apprentice?

An aerospace and advanced manufacturing apprentice can be anyone newly entering the workforce, looking to upgrade current skills, or already working in an occupation.

AJAC is committed to creating methods for diverse peoples to get trained in a skill that will provide them with a means to achieving a living wage job. To assure success in achieving a high level of diversity among apprentices, AJAC strives to remove barriers and challenges that would otherwise keep someone from becoming an apprentice. AJAC partners with Washington State organizations that provide training and support to gain skills to be successful in the trades.

AJAC and their Registered Training Agents comply with the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) requirements of the Washington State Apprenticeship and Training Council (WSATC) and the US Dept of Labor’s Equal Opportunity regulation 29 CFR Part 30, and are dedicated to providing EEO in all areas without regard to an individual’s race, color, national origin, sex, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability, or veteran status. All people are encouraged to apply.

 

What are the Qualifications and Skills Employers and AJAC are Looking For?

The qualifications and skills include:

  • At least 17 years of age
  • High school graduate, or have a GED or are working toward a GED with proof of successful completion of the GED within 6 months of entering the apprenticeship
  • Successfully passed college Math and English classes (090 or greater) or completed an assessment test such as the:
    • World of Work Inventory (WOWI) with minimum scores of 27.78 in numerical, 34.95 in verbal
    • Compass Test with minimum scores of 67 in reading, 32 in writing, and 53 in pre-algebra
    • ASSET Test with minimum scores of 37 in reading skills, 37 in writing skills, and 43 in numerical skills
  • A solid foundation in Algebra, Geometry and Trigonometry
  • Mechanical aptitude (Experience in auto or engine repair, woodworking, metalworking, etc.)
  • Knowledge of or experience in the production process, such as meeting deadline, following direction, achieving goals, measuring, etc.

 

How Can I Meet the Qualifications and Acquire the Necessary Skills?

Please refer to these tips on how you can meet these qualifications and acquire these skills.

 

How Long is an AJAC Apprenticeship Program?

AJAC’s apprenticeship programs last between two and five years.

 

How Much Do I Earn as an Apprentice?

An apprentice is usually brought on as a full-time employee who is learning while earning a paycheck. Aerospace and manufacturing apprentices start out earning 60% of the Journey-Level wage rate. About every six months, the employer evaluates the apprentice in both related classroom instruction and on-the-job-training (OJT). If the apprentice demonstrates satisfactory progress in both areas, the employer will recommend advancement to the next pay level. Upon completion of the required course work and OJT, the apprentice will graduate to be a Journey Level worker and will be paid at the entry-level Journey-Level wage rate. The employer will also recommend an “Award of Completion” certificate. Journey-Level workers are well-paid employees in the aerospace, aviation and advanced manufacturing industries and have unlimited opportunities to become supervisors, leads or shop foremen.

 

Where are AJAC Apprenticeship Programs Located?

The Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee’s (AJAC) apprenticeship programs are located in King, Franklin, Pierce, Snohomish, Spokane, Whatcom, Skagit and Yakima counties. Aerospace and manufacturing apprentices take classes one night a week at a community/technical college and receive on-the-job training (OJT) during the day at a company’s job site in these areas.

 

When Would I Receive an Interim Certificate?

The Interim Certificate
Occasionally apprenticeship programs may provide interim certificates for apprentices who complete a predetermined portion of the apprenticeship program. For example an apprenticeship program may offer an interim certificate when an apprentice has successfully completed two years of a four-year apprenticeship program. These certificates are provided by the apprenticeship committee and are recognized by the employer of the apprentice. The interim certificate:

  • Provides an opportunity for an apprentice to take time off of the program with recognition of the work already completed
  • Is offered only in specific apprenticeship programs

 

What are My Responsibilities as an Apprentice?

  • Sign an Apprenticeship Agreement with AJAC and abide by the AJAC Standards of Apprenticeship
  • Pay half of the community college tuition (depending on company reimbursement policy)
  • Commit to the program for its full duration
  • Work the required work hours while receiving on-the-job training
  • Demonstrate progress on the job
  • Submit monthly work progress reports
  • Attend and complete the required supplemental training which is typically held off work hours

 

What are the Responsibilities of AJAC, the Employer and Other Entities?

AJAC

  • Committee is comprised of equal management and non-management (worker) representatives
  • Determines the ability of an employer to furnish proper on-the-job training in accordance with the provisions of the Standards
  • Grants equal treatment and training opportunities for all apprentices and applies those conditions uniformly
  • Develops and maintains related training agreements with appropriate training institutions
  • Advocates for aerospace training in Washington State
  • Recruits instructors to teach the classroom training
  • Reports apprentice OJT and college course progress and status to L&I Apprenticeship Section
  • Tracks apprentice OJT and college course hours
  • Representation and accountability to the WSATC and L&I Apprenticeship Section
  • L&I Apprenticeship Section compliance reviews, including EEO guidelines and Fair Labor Standards

Employer

  • Grants equal treatment and training opportunities for all apprentices and apply those conditions uniformly
  • Has equipment available and rotates apprentices in the various processes of the skilled occupation
  • Identifies (or hires) employees to train in an apprenticeship program
  • Identifies a Master Tradesperson to mentor apprentice(s) and maintain the appropriate 1:1 ratio
  • Oversees apprentice’s on-the-job training and monitors attendance at related training classes
  • Periodically reviews and evaluates apprentices before advancement to the apprentice’s next wage progression
  • Pays their apprentices the percentage of Journey-Level wage rate for hours worked
  • Commits to retain employee for duration of apprenticeship
  • Recommends “Award of Completion” certificate when an apprentice has satisfactorily completed the required course work and on-the-job training

The Schools

The community colleges and other training facilities are responsible for offering related coursework to apprentices receiving on-the-job training. Schools and community colleges provide:

  • Coursework that is coordinated with the on-the-job training program. Examples include advanced mathematics, basic and advanced electronics, theory and classroom experience with industry machinery and equipment
  • Teachers with expertise in the occupation
  • Opportunities to earn credit for completed academic courses and on-the-job training

Washington State Labor Industries Division

The Washington State Labor and Industries Division apprenticeship consultant facilitates cooperation among employers, workers and schools. An apprenticeship consultant:

  • Helps the committee design training programs to meet an industry´s specific need
  • Advises committees on standards and curricula used elsewhere in the state and nation
  • Provides information on statewide employment needs and trends
  • Works with committees to ensure compliance with applicable state and federal regulations and the requirements of the state Apprenticeship Council
  • Assists in updating standards to maintain state-of-the-art training

 

How do I get Started?

Visit the Getting Started section and follow the steps.