Youth apprenticeship at AJAC

About Us

Advancing Apprenticeships. Empowering Employers.

About Us

Advancing Apprenticeships. Empowering Employers.

Our Start, Our Story

AJAC was launched in 2008 with an investment from Washington State to skill-up the aerospace and advanced manufacturing workforce through registered apprenticeship. AJAC developed and implemented 10 high-growth, in-demand apprenticeship occupations to serve a variety of demographics, industries, and companies across the state. AJAC serves approximately 400 apprentices per year at close to 300 companies, partnering with 12 community colleges to ensure that all apprentices are receiving college credits while working towards a journey-level certificate.

In 2011, AJAC developed the state’s first advanced manufacturing registered pre-apprenticeship program, Manufacturing Academy (MA). MA offers a solid foundational career pathway into  advanced manufacturing apprenticeship opportunities for job seekers who develop industry-relevant skills.

Six years later, in 2017, AJAC began offering registered apprenticeship programs for high school students (Youth Apprenticeship), and currently partners with 15 school districts across Washington State to create opportunities for youth apprentices to finish high school, start their postsecondary education at little-to-no cost, complete paid work experience alongside a mentor, and start along a path that broadens their options for the future.

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ajac apprentice and instructor in machine shop

Industry-Driven Instruction

Over the past 13 years, AJAC has built one of the largest statewide instructional workforces of industry professionals and subject matter experts, with the vast majority of our 60 part-time instructors currently working in the aerospace and advanced manufacturing industries. Most of these instructors teach our apprenticeship classes in the evening and/or weekends, allowing them to continue to work in industry during the day (and helping to ensure that our classroom instruction remains current to the changing needs of these industries).

AJAC has worked diligently to create and implement industry-driven curriculum for the different occupations that we provide registered apprenticeship training. By working with employers, subject matter experts, and educational partners, AJAC is able to provide high quality, relevant curriculum that our instructors provide in over 40 unique classroom settings each quarter at community colleges, high schools and regional skill centers.

Meet Our Instructors
AJAC | Advanced Manufacturing Apprenticeships

Who We Are

As a whole, AJAC is an industry-driven, statewide 501(c)(3) non-profit apprenticeship organization founded on the belief that mastery occurs on the job. Through pre-apprenticeship, youth apprenticeship and adult apprenticeship, all people have the opportunity to earn competitive wages, find meaningful work, and pursue lifelong learning.

Our Leadership Team

Our leadership team brings decades of academic and workforce development experience to ensure the equity and vitality of our training programs across the Pacific Northwest.

Lynn Strickland, AJAC

Demetria “Lynn” Strickland

Executive Director

Chris Pierson, AJAC

Chris Pierson

Director of Operations and Funding

Briana Durham

Bri Durham

Director of Business Engagement & Programs

Elizabeth Slaughter

Elizabeth Slaughter

Director of Business Services

Aaron Ferrell, AJAC

Aaron Ferrell

Director of Marketing Communications

Leo Vogel, AJAC

Leo Vogel

Director of Student Finance and Compliance


On-the-Job Training + College-Level Classroom Instruction

Apprenticeship combines supervised on-the-job training experience with college-level classroom instruction enabling:

  • Employees to earn a living wage while they learn on-the-job from a mentor and attend class one night a week at a local community or technical college.
  • Employers to increase their workforce skills without disrupting production.

AJAC Program’s Offer:

  • Employers across Washington State a proven method to capture these knowledge and skills.
  • Apprentices the tools necessary to learn and master these skills, advance in their career and become a master tradesperson.
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Our Funders, Partners and Advocates

AJAC works with partners, advocates, and funders to raise public and private resources through grants and contracts to develop, implement and increase access to registered apprenticeships

Find more information about our Funders, Partners and Advocates on each dedicated page.

Our Mission