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.

On October 16, 2017, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee met with the partners, community organizations and local-area employers to discuss how the first year of Youth Apprenticeship has gone. The 30-minute meeting was used to brief Governor Inslee on how this Youth Apprenticeship program is not only benefiting our local high school students, but the employers who are in need of highly-skilled, and highly-trained workforce.

The skills-gap in aerospace and advanced manufacturing continues to grow and through registered Youth Apprenticeship, employers can finally develop a pipeline of talent at a young age, with a greater chance at retaining these future high school graduates as lifelong learners of the trade and industry.

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.

 

Washington STEM, Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) and AJAC gave a joint presentation on all-things Youth Apprenticeship during a live webinar on June 26, 2017. Josie Bryan and Jody Robbins from L&I gave a comprehensive background on the apprenticeship system including how youth fit into the equation and the standards with which they are governed by.

AJAC’s Deputy Director, Shannon Matson spoke in length about AJAC’s Production Technician program which kicked off in January 2017 in the Tacoma Public School District. Shannon included the importance of identifying an occupation, how to engage employers, creating a committee and the balance between structured on-the-job training and college-level classroom instruction. A special thanks to Gilda Wheeler of Washington STEM for allowing AJAC to talk about our Youth Apprenticeship program!

View the PowerPoint here.

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!