Apprenticeships are not an alternative to higher education. It is higher education. This sentiment rang loud and true during the 2018 Governor’s Youth Apprenticeship Summit, which in its second year, expanded the conversation of Youth Apprenticeships to not only aerospace and advance manufacturing, but other sustainable industries including healthcare, culinary and IT. What many consider to be a bipartisan topic, apprenticeships have long-stood the test of time to deliver career-ready skills and college-level classroom instruction to our nation’s high-growth, in-demand jobs, many which do not require a four-year degree.

Governor Inslee, during his keynote address, made it known that post-secondary education does not mean every student needs to attend a four-year institution, “It is a revolutionary change in how we think of our children’s future, and when we have a revolution, it’s great to be right at the beginning,” Governor Inslee said during his opening remarks.

“We need to grow this dramatically…90% of parents say their kids going to get a four-year college degree, but only 30% do…We have to stop telling our kids that you are a failure if you don’t get a four-year degree,” Inslee said.

Governor Inslee during his remarks at the 2018 Governor’s Youth Apprenticeship Summit in Olympia, Washington. 

A cultural change is needed in our communities if Youth Apprenticeship will continue to thrive. To do so, expanding the opportunities for students will make the goal of 100,000 youth apprentices over the next ten years realistic and obtainable. This commitment can only be met if other industries begin to expand their reach into the local high schools. Spokane started the charge with Youth Apprenticeships in Washington State and have since expanded their line of paid on-the-job training to industries such as healthcare, culinary, and manufacturing.

Governor Inslee also acknowledged the state’s first IT apprentice to enroll in a new program launched by the Washington Technology Industry Association Workforce Institute which aims to provide a pipeline of talent, particularly for “underrepresented groups such as minorities, women and veterans to gain training, certification and placement within the talent-hungry tech industry.”

Sam Yost (left) and Richard Oeun (right) pose for a photo after their Youth Apprenticeship Panel during the 2018 Governor’s Youth Apprenticeship Summit on January 30, 2018.

To move the needle on Youth Apprenticeships, many agree that businesses need to play a more prominent role in hiring the next generation of workers. From workplace variances to industry-aligned curriculum, businesses must be a part of the conversation if Youth Apprenticeships are going to thrive in Washington State.

Washington is one of 13 states to implement a structured, register Youth Apprenticeship program, joining others including Wisconsin, Kentucky, South Carolina and Colorado. Employers, high schools, post-secondary institutions and intermediaries make up the foundation of successful programs. The infrastructure needed for Youth Apprenticeships is great, but reinventing the wheel isn’t necessary. Brent Parton, Deputy Director at New America’s Center on Education and Skills closed the summit elegantly, “Youth apprenticeship is the biggest ask, with the biggest possible upside.”

Governor Inslee alongside Paula Yost and Sam Yost (AJAC Youth Apprentice) after his keynote address at the 2018 Governor’s Youth Apprenticeship Summit. 

Check out photos from the 2018 Governor’s Youth Apprenticeship Summit on AJAC’s Flickr page.

Governor Inslee delivered his annual State of the State Address to the Washington State Senate and the State House of Representatives on January 9, 2018.

During his speech, Governor Inslee spent a few minutes highlighting his Career Connected Learning initiative, his trip to Switzerland and AJAC’s inaugural Youth Apprenticeship program, “You can go to Tacoma and see for yourself how this works. It was a joy last year to celebrate our state’s first 15 registered youth apprentices as they prepared to launch rewarding careers in aerospace. Let’s expand that opportunity, as well as apprenticeship programs for our veterans and other Washingtonians, in the coming years,” Inslee said.

Since Tacoma launched its first Youth Apprenticeship program, AJAC has implemented similar programs at West Valley High School (Yakima), Snohomish High School and secured partnerships with Puyallup High School, Shadle Park High School (Spokane School District) , Sno-Isle Tech Skills Center, Everett School District and the Mukilteo School District – all whom expect to launch their AJAC in 2018.

Learn more about AJAC’s Youth Apprenticeship Program online.

A new report performance audit for Washington State emphasizes the state’s need to better align high-growth, high-demand occupations with career and technical education (CTE) courses currently offered in high school. The industries with a large skills gap include aerospace, manufacturing, human protective services, computer science and many more.

AJAC’s Youth Apprenticeship program is leading the charge to offer our state’s first registered apprenticeship program in the ever-evolving industries of aerospace and advanced manufacturing.

“The importance of youth apprenticeships was recently recognized by Governor Inslee: We ought to be strengthening and expanding pre-apprenticeship programs in our schools… youth apprenticeship leverages one of our state’s most effective workforce development investments, which is registered apprenticeships. The apprenticeship model is the gold standard of work-based learning.

In 2016, Washington was awarded a $2.7 million federal grant to help grow and diversify apprenticeships. The grant, overseen by L&I, focuses partly on youth and will allow the agency to improve tracking of youth apprenticeship growth and success. The Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC) is taking a leading role in expanding youth apprenticeships into the K-12 educational system.

As of July 2017, AJAC reports the following progress in secondary schools:

  • Tacoma Public Schools has 14 youth apprentices receiving full-time on-the-job-training (OJT) at local advanced manufacturing companies. As these students entered their second related supplemental instruction (RSI) class in fall 2017, the program began recruiting for a new class of youth apprentices.
  • West Valley School District has three youth apprentices receiving full-time OJT at local advanced manufacturing companies. Recruitment will continue as a selection of youth apprentices enter from the Core Plus program. The goal is to enroll 10-15 youth apprentices by fall 2017.
  • In addition, AJAC is exploring ways to expand their apprenticeship efforts with school districts in Everett, Puyallup, Snohomish and Sumner as well as the Sno-Isle Skills Center.”

To learn more about this report, including coverage from the Seattle Times, please visit the links below:

Trevor Mohon, a first-year machinist apprentice at RTC Aerospace – Fife Division, discusses his decision to pursue machining after high school. Trevor explains how this industry has challenged him, the future of manufacturing, and the skills he applies to the job everyday.

A special thanks to Nick Pulido for allowing AJAC to share this video!

Kent, Washington has a new home for advanced manufacturing. The Advanced Manufacturing Prep (AMP) Training Center was unveiled during a grand opening on December 6th in partnership with the City of Kent and Port of Seattle.

The 3,000 square foot training center offers a suite of advanced manufacturing programs geared towards local employers and job seekers alike. This is the first training center the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC) has operated to meet the needs of an industry with a growing skills gap and shortage of middle skilled workers.

 

“We’re really here to provide the training for employers and for employers to talk to us and tell us what they need,” said Demetria “Lynn” Strickland, Executive Director of AJAC. The six programs AJAC will offer are based on industry demand and future needs of employers, as technology drives new, innovative products.These programs include orientation and screening for job seekers, pre-apprenticeship for advanced manufacturing, entry-level and advanced apprenticeships for incumbent workers, short-term training for local employers and master mentorship courses to skill-up our current mentors on the shop floor.

“We are very excited to be able to help AJAC open an office in Kent,” said Ben Wolters, Economic Development Director for the City of Kent. “Kent’s manufacturing and industrial economy is bustling, but employers are struggling to find qualified and skilled employees. Having AJAC open up a training facility convenient to both Kent’s diverse group of advanced manufacturers and its growing population of job seekers will help ensure Kent’s manufacturers continue to thrive and our residents continue to see new career opportunities.”

New career opportunities stems from the high-tech machinery and equipment readily available in today’s manufacturing industry. Equipment students will learn on includes a computer-numerically-controlled (CNC) HAAS VF2, manual knee mills, step shear and box and pan brake, three wire feed welding units, prusa four-color 3D printer, inspection tools, and a full-service classroom.

Support for the AMP Training Center was made possible by the Port of Seattle and the City of Kent. Through the Port’s Economic Development Partnership Program, the City of Kent allocated funds as an investment for job creation.

“The Port of Seattle is a proud sponsor of the Advanced Manufacturing Prep Training Center in Kent,” said Commissioner Stephanie Bowman. “Projects like this are exactly what we had in mind when we created our Economic Development Grants, so that we can partner with cities like Kent in order to bring jobs and economic growth to our region.”

Manufacturing jobs continue to grow, with over 31,000 added in November 2017. The problem many employers face is vacant positions due to unqualified workers. To fill these positions, manufacturing needs to skill-up and retrain the current and future workforce. Vocational facilities for industries including manufacturing can truly make an impact on local communities to create sustainable jobs, higher wages and low unemployment rates regionally.

VIEW: Photos from the new AMP Training Center