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 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.
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.
Who We Are
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.
Demetria “Lynn” Strickland comes from a military family and is an Army veteran who served honorably in the Army for over nine years. Lynn has 25+ years of management experience in several sectors. She is a former Dean of Instruction at Bates Technical College where she supervised 14 apprenticeship programs, 11 career training programs and Continuing Education.
Lynn began working for the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee as a Program Manager in February 2012, was promoted to Deputy Director in July 2012 and has served as Executive Director since August 2014. Lynn and the AJAC team develop and implement employer driven pre-apprenticeship and registered apprenticeship programs for the incumbent workforce which is open to all employers across Washington State in the advanced manufacturing industries. AJAC, with Lynn’s leadership, developed and implemented the first state-wide registered youth apprenticeship programs in WA state.
AJAC apprenticeship programs use the dual training method allowing apprentices to “earn while they learn,” simultaneously pursue both an educational and career pathway, work full time, earn college credit, access a 2-year degree with no college debt while being instructed by current industry professionals. AJAC also partners with secondary, post-secondary, community based organizations and state agencies to implement and expand apprenticeship program offerings.
Lynn has a M.A. in Organizational Leadership with a graduate certificate in Human Resources and a B.A. in Business Administration with an emphasis Management.
Get to know Lynn in a recent video about her pathway into leading AJAC’s organization.
Chris has over 15 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, including workforce development, philanthropy, youth development, and education. Chris holds a Master’s Degree of Public Administration from the University of Washington earned in 2008, and a Bachelor of Arts in History from Ohio University earned in 2000. Prior to coming to AJAC, he was the Program Manager at SkillUp Washington, a workforce funder collaborative at the Seattle Foundation, where he led numerous strategic planning and partnership building efforts to expand economic opportunities in the Puget Sound region for low-income communities and opportunity youth in the manufacturing, aviation and retail industries.
He was a Marano Fellow in the first Greater Seattle Sector Skills Academy in 2014 and ran the second Greater Seattle Sector Skills Academy in 2016 in partnership with the Aspen Institute. Chris entered the workforce development field managing youth employment programs at the YWCA of Seattle-King-Snohomish Counties, and a pre-employment internship program for homeless youth in the University District.
Bri has over 20 years of experience in the private and non-profit sector, including manufacturing training, human resources compliance, workforce development, opportunity youth program development, and K-12 educational pipelines. Bri holds a Bachelors Degree in Business & Organization Leadership from Northwest University earned in 2021, and certificate in developing occupational curriculum and occupational analysis (DACUM) from Ohio State University. In 2017, she was on a Governor’s task force that traveled to Zurich, Switzerland to study their vocational education training (VET) system and career pathways with the ETH University. She then helped develop the first youth apprenticeship programs in advanced manufacturing. Prior to coming to AJAC, she was a manufacturing teacher & program manager in Seattle at Pioneer Human Service, a social-enterprise in manufacturing firm that serves justice-involved individuals releasing from the system. She led numerous strategic planning and partnership building efforts to expand wrap-around services, pre-employment, and job opportunities for barriered youth and adult populations.
Bri has held in various positions from corporate instructor, on-the-job training advisor, manufacturing instructor, human resource compliance officer, service manager, program manager, director of programs, director of youth apprenticeship and bring her experience to AJAC. Companies she is has worked for: Pioneer Human Services, Alaska Airlines, Vulcan, Ohasi Design and Columbia Hospitality.
Elizabeth has over 40 years of experience in business administration and management relating to human resources, labor relations, organizational improvements, system upgrades and customer service. She has been a Trustee or Member of several Non Profit Committees, Executive Boards and Apprenticeship Programs, and former member of the International Federation of Employee Benefits & Pension (IFEBP).
After a long management career in the hospitality and service industry, Elizabeth spent 15+ years as a Worker Advocate for UNITEHERE Local 8, including 3 terms as the Local’s President. Her AJAC career began in 2011 as an Office Assistant, then assumed the role of Office Manager, advanced to Business Services Manager, and is currently the Director of Business Services.
Aaron has over 12 years of marketing communication experience in various industries including radio broadcasting, promotions, website development, blogging, advertising, social media, public relations and marketing. He has a diverse skill set in several key areas of communications including broadcasting, new communication technologies, organizational communications, English and digital marketing. After graduating from Washington State University, Aaron completed a marketing internship at Nyhus Communications in May 2013 and a promotions internship at Sinclair Radio Seattle (formerly Fisher Communications).
In June 2013, Aaron was hired by AJAC has the Marketing Communications Intern. Since 2016, Aaron has overseen the organization’s marketing communications strategy and in 2021, was promoted to Director of Marketing Communications.
Leo comes to AJAC with over 12 years of experience in financial aid which spans career/adult education, private university education, and public/state university education. Prior to joining AJAC, Leo was the Assistant Director of Financial Aid at the University of California San Diego where he worked closely with many underrepresented student groups including student veterans, undocumented students, and first generation students to assist them with obtaining the funding needed to reach their goals.
Leo has led teams, overseen the implementation of large scale technological improvements, and managed awarding and policy for several state and federal grant funds. Leo has also been an active member in financial aid associations, including sitting on the executive council for WASFAA and serving as a trainer for the SDB Summer Institute.
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.
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