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.

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

On October 6, 2017, students from the Tacoma Public Schools (TPS) toured Gensco, Inc. as part of Manufacturing Day. Manufacturing Day is a celebration of modern manufacturing meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturers. TPS brought their Blue Media Production film crew to show how HVAC equipment is created and how students learned about careers in this industry.

 

What does it mean to work in manufacturing? For some, they see it as an industry booming with innovative ideas and state-of-the-art technology. For others, they see engineers and machinists designing and developing the next generation of parts for industries including aerospace, medical, and marine.

National Manufacturing Day, celebrated on the first Friday in October brings together the misconceptions, the public perception, and the career pathways that make up what many would argue is the most vital industry to our country. More than anything, Manufacturing Day is an opportunity to bring modern manufacturing to life for the public.

Teri Hegel, AJAC’s Technical Specialist talks with students about CNC Machining during National Manufacturing Day on Friday, October 6th at South Seattle College – Georgetown Campus

For National Manufacturing Day, the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC) partnered with the Tacoma School District, Rainier Beach High School, OMAX Corporation, Cadence Aerospace – PMW Operations, Gensco, and South Seattle College to offer tours, hands-on activities, and presentations about all things manufacturing. Many of the students we invited were currently enrolled in Career and Technical Education programs such as aerospace science, engineering and manufacturing.

 

2017 is a unique year for AJAC’s Manufacturing Day initiatives, as we launch the next wave of Youth Apprenticeship cohorts for this school year. Students from every background and social-economic status came together and learned what a day-in-the-life is like for a manufacturer; from concept to design, to fabrication and machining. These are the components each company utilizes to make their products world renown.

At Cadence Aerospace – PMW Operations, students saw larger-than-life CNC machines cutting metal parts for Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner and Airbus’s A320-Neo. They rode a 5-axis Cincinnati Milacron Gantry CNC machine as it spewed coolant over the airplane parts, cutting each part with precision. At Gensco, a company known for its fabrication of HVAC equipment, students were drawn to laser cutters and heavy sheet metal equipment to build commercial heating and ventilation systems we have in our very buildings. OMAX Corporation, the world leader in abrasive waterjet machining, demonstrated how 60,000 PSI of water can machine parts down to the thousands of an inch.

Throughout the three tours, students understood what it takes to become a journey-level machinist or fabricator. AJAC’s registered Youth Apprenticeship and Adult Apprenticeship programs brought to life the career pathways that give them freedom to earn while they learn, complete college-level classes, and refrain from years of college debt.

AJAC would like to thank all of the companies and post-secondary organizations for opening their doors to the world of modern manufacturing. By working together during and after Manufacturing Day, manufacturers will begin to address the skilled labor shortage they face, connect with future generations, take charge of the public image of manufacturing, and ensure the ongoing prosperity of the whole industry.

View our MFG Day 2017 photos on AJAC’s Flickr channel.