To become a journey-level worker signifies a changing of the guard – an ideology that mastery occurs on the job – not solely in the classroom. For AJAC’s 49 apprentice graduates, these men and women have invested the last three to four years to learning, understanding, and performing some of manufacturing’s most vital skillsets – many which contribute directly to Washington State’s local aerospace industry.
AJAC’s apprentice graduates speakers, James Crotz (left) from Orion Industries and Heather Edgell (right) from Fatigue Technology
As apprenticeships continue to grow nationally and money is reinvested into the skilled trades, communities are seeing firsthand the significance of having a workforce that is prepared to take on challenges today and in the future. Over 20 companies from seven different counties celebrated a milestone on Friday, June 30th – a benchmark they identify as forward thinking into the golden age of technology and innovation.
Up until 2009, many Washington State manufacturing companies relied on a traditional pipeline of talent coming into the industry to help bring new life onto the shop floor. With AJAC’s Machinist (Aircraft Oriented) and Aircraft Mechanic (Airframe) programs, seasoned mentors helped encourage and inspire the next generation of workers that will build tomorrow’s aircrafts and complex machined parts.
Keynote speaker Pat Thurman from Senior Aerospace – AMT
AJAC’s apprentices are not only fully trained and can “Journey out” as a master craftsman in their own right, but are called upon as alumni to carry forward a tradition of service – an obligation, to prepare the next generation of apprentices.
The support each apprentice received from their employer, family members, and coworkers was evident in the stories our graduates and keynote speaker shared. It takes a village to raise a child and an employer to raise an apprentice. The vast opportunities these 49 apprentices have to grow and expand their careers is endless. From master mechanic and maintenance supervisor to tool and die maker to engineer – these new career goals were solely made possible because an apprenticeship program was offered by an employer that believed in paid on-the-job training and college-level classroom instruction.
Chris Kirsop (left) receives AJAC’s inaugural Instructor of the Year award alongside AJAC’s Program Manager of Instruction, Danica Hendrickson (middle) and Lynn Strickland (right)
“A journey-level card stands for commitment, preparation, integrity, and fraternity – not just a credential,” said Demetria “Lynn” Strickland, Executive Director of the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC). “Apprenticeship serves as the foundation for lifelong learning and advancement that will make Washington State’s workforce the best in the world.”
AJAC’s industry instructors and shop-floor mentors have laid the foundation for the next wave of manufacturers. These journeymen may go on to start their own company, run the facility at their current employer, or simply take the knowledge they have received to better their current work. With continued support of apprenticeship as a viable career-training pathway, Washington State will thrive as a leader in aerospace and advanced manufacturing training.
AJAC’s Class of 2017
AJAC was honored to receive PNAA’s “Inspire” award last during the annual Aerospace Conference in Lynnwood, Washington. AJAC’s Executive Director, Lynn Strickland accepted the award during the Aerospace Excellence Awards Banquet.
AJAC was selected for continually growing our adult apprenticeship program regionally and for pioneering the state’s first Youth Apprenticeship program in Tacoma, Washington. Our region has recognized the importance of providing youth with apprenticeship opportunities in high-growth, high-demand industries such as aerospace and advanced manufacturing. Through Youth Apprenticeship, other industries including healthcare, IT and construction can provide high school students with an early opportunity to develop job-ready skills and mentorship before they graduate.
Thank you again to PNAA which has been an avid supporter of AJAC and our efforts to keep Washington State as the leader in aerospace manufacturing.
PNAA promotes the growth of the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Industry by assisting members to be globally competitive by providing education, access to business opportunities, information on emerging markets and facilitating development of key relationships.
On Friday, February 10th, AJAC was selected for the Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce “Small Business of the Year” Award during the chamber’s annual luncheon. AJAC’s Executive Director, Lynn Strickland attended the ceremony to accept and thank the chamber for their recognition of AJAC’s workforce development solutions.
The “Small Business of the Year” Award is given to a business which has achieved excellence through innovative business practices, products, and/or employee programs and community commitment. AJAC has made a strong push for Youth Apprenticeships over the last year and we are excited this program is making a difference across our region and local communities.
Thank you to Andrea Reay and the entire Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce for selecting AJAC and allowing our work to be shared with the communities we serve.
View photos from the event on the chamber’s Facebook page.