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.
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
In partnership with the Office of the Governor, the Workforce Board, WSU Extension, and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Washington STEM traveled across the state to explore Career Connected Learning. Business, community, and education leaders are collaborating throughout the state to create pathways and opportunities for students through a continuum of real-world, workplace experiences.
A special thanks to Washington STEM for giving AJAC an opportunity to highlight our state’s first Youth Apprenticeship program! Programs like these are made possible because like-minded organizations come together and create a sustainable pipeline of talent for the next generation!
Yakima’s West Valley High School was given the baton last week to launch their first AJAC Youth Apprenticeship program. High school juniors Trevor Mackey, Osborne Rogers, and Bradley Ethier individually interviewed with three local aerospace and advanced manufacturing companies in Yakima, all of whom, received an offer letter to begin their structured on-the-job training this summer. UPDATE: View AJAC’s Youth Apprentice Signing Day video here.
Yakima’s first youth apprentices (from left to right), Bradley Ethier, Osborne Rogers and Trevor Mackey
Yakima’s Youth Apprenticeship Signing Day was the official send off and celebration to commemorate the partnership, dedication, and foresight West Valley School District has instilled amongst its students for career-connected learning. All three youth apprentices have identified hands-on learning as a focal point for their future careers in machining, fabrication and engineering.
“This can jump-start a career in manufacturing because you will learn how to do everything you have an interest in.”
Osborne Rogers, a junior at West Valley High School was eager to become one of Yakima’s first youth apprentices, “When I first heard about the program, it sounded like a really good idea, and once you know more about it, you realize it is a once in a lifetime opportunity.” Rogers, who was hired by Triumph Actuation Systems looks forward to the structured mentorship at his new job while learning in the classroom at West Valley High School; “This can jump-start a career in manufacturing because you will learn how to do everything you have an interest in.” Attracting young talent to the aerospace and advanced manufacturing industries is a persistent problem very few have found a solution for.
Yakima’s youth apprentices prepare to sign their agreement between their employers, AJAC, West Valley High School, and the Washington State Governor’s Office
According to the Manufacturing Institute, “nearly three and a half million manufacturing jobs likely need to be filled and the skills gap is expected to result in 2 million of those jobs going unfilled.” For local-area employers, a pipeline of talent from high school into the industry has been rare with many students choosing four-year colleges as their next step. Triumph Actuation Systems’ First Shift Supervisor, Zach Chouinard, is optimistic about the hands-on learning his city has implemented; “We believe it helps the community and helps these young guys get a head start. We get new trainees who already have a taste of the machine shop atmosphere…it’s the start of something good.”
High school students have a new pathway to consider when planning for their future careers. Registered apprenticeship is the original four-year degree: furthermore Youth Apprenticeship, can become high schools’ new version of Running Start for the trades! Over the next few years, AJAC and Washington State’s Governor’s Office will continue to grow youth apprenticeship in aerospace manufacturing to better serve our community’s needs for high-skilled, high-demand jobs.
On Monday, April 24, Grays Harbor Youth Works, Greater Grays Harbor, Inc., Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee, and Grays Harbor College worked together to provide North Beach and Lake Quinault High School students with participating in a Career Pathway Day.
Grays Harbor Youth Works mission is to engage and transform Grays Harbor Youth through internships with businesses, nonprofits, and public sector organizations, throughout the county, and encourage them to pursue post-secondary and livable wage jobs. Since 2013, they have placed 100 students with internships county-wide. Seventy percent of those students were seniors where 60% did choose post-secondary education. Thirty of these interns were juniors where six returned in their senior year to repeat the experience; Rachel Wiechelman was one of those who returned. Rachel attended Aberdeen High School and was assigned to Domestic Violence Center of Grays Harbor. As a senior, she was assigned to Department of Public Health and Human Services. Rachel said, “Both experiences inspired me to follow a career in Health Education.” Today she is attending Grays Harbor College and has a place on Grays Harbor Youth Works Board.
The Career Pathway Day will begin at Grays Harbor College with two speakers Julie Skokan, TRIO Programs that is heavily involved in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM); and Matt Holder from the IT Department. Both will talk about today’s industry, what types of jobs are available in each area, and what it takes to acquire those positions. The students will go to their assigned buses to companies they selected for their career pathway. The participating companies are Grays Harbor PUD, Sierra Pacific, Grays Harbor Community Hospital, Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority, and Hesco Armor, LLC. These companies will provide the students with promotional materials about their organization, historical perspective, types of positions in their company, what they look for in skills, experience, and education. They will then provide a tour of the facility and make time for questions. The students will return to Grays Harbor College for lunch and wrap-up before heading back to school.
Read the official Grays Harbor Youth Works Press Release here.