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:

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.