Please welcome our first intern since 2014, Eytan Raphaely! Eytan studied marketing communications at the University of Washington and recently graduated this past June. His role at AJAC will focus on helping the marketing department with a wide variety of projects including social media, newsletter, storytelling, outreach and website development. Eytan will also assist the Youth Apprenticeship department during their recruitment in the winter and spring.

What’s the best part of your job so far?

The best part of my new job has been meeting all the new people. I’ve only known the people around the office for a few days but I can honestly say these are some of the kindest and most knowledgeable people I know.

What is your favorite part about working in the non-profit industry?

My favorite part of working at a non-profit is knowing that my job directly influences changing people’s lives for the better.

 If you could live in a book, a TV show or movie, what would it be?

I would live in the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender. If you don’t know, it’s one of the best shows ever created and should be required viewing in all homes across the world.

What do you like to do outside of work?

 Most days I like to unwind from work by playing basketball, reading, playing video games or writing.

Which celebrity do you get mistaken for?

People tell me I look like a mix between Pete Davidson and Francisco Lachowoski.

When you walk into AJAC’s Manufacturing Academy at South Seattle College-Georgetown Campus the first thing you’ll notice is the intimidating computer numerical controlled (CNC) and manual machines scattered around the classroom, the second thing you notice is a group of students operating these machines.

Geoff Coles-Lelievre guides one of his fellow students on a Sharpe VS 1640 Conventional Lathe, giving him little pieces of advice while still letting him take the reins on the operation. It’s hard to imagine that just eight weeks ago Coles-Lelievre had never operated a machine like this and now, is well on his way to a career in manufacturing.

Geoff is thriving in the program, making parts with precision, leading by example, and tutoring his classmates. Geoff explains that the reason for his success is the focused nature of the program, saying “Having a program that’s focus is to get you into an entry level position is different from my experiences at a traditional university. Traditionally, you have a lot of prerequisites that aren’t directly related to what your major is. Sometimes that distracts or gets in the way of what you want to do.”

Geoff is self-described as “mechanically inclined” and has a background as an automotive technician. He has benefited greatly from the hands on approach the Manufacturing Academy provides, “Some people learn better by going in there and getting their hands dirty and doing things instead of being told how to do it.”

“There is so much material to cover over the ten weeks but there’s so many opportunities once you get out into the manufacturing field that the only way to go from here is up. There is just so many options after you get this training, it’s like ‘where do you want to go, you can work for anyone.’”

While the ten week program may seem brief, instructor Troy Ironmonger says the amount students learn makes the program invaluable for someone who wants to start a career in manufacturing. “We touch on blueprint reading, precision measuring, conventional and CNC machining, physics, electricity, hydraulics, pneumatics, we learn how to draw, we apply that to CNC machining and CNC laser cutting and by the end of ten weeks we are producing industrial maintenance technician students and machine operators.”

Geoff is set to graduate from the program in late August and hopes to take what he has learned to the advanced manufacturing industry, hopefully manufacturing parts for rockets and satellites, “this is a field where it’s easy to get a career and not just a job.”

Please welcome the newest addition to the AJAC family, John Manning. John has been hired as our new Apprenticeship Navigator serving primarily King and Pierce Counties. John will help navigate job seekers into AJAC’s portfolio of programs including our pre-apprenticeship program, Manufacturing Academy and one of nine adult apprenticeship programs. Get to know John below!

If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor?

Barack Obama. The amazing impact he has made on our world has let us know that we must keep fighting the good fight.

What’s the best part of your job so far?

At AJAC I love that I have supportive coworkers that are available to inform, advise and work with me.

What’s the best joke you’ve ever heard?

My college roommates 7 year old sister told us a version of the below joke 30 years ago and I still tell it.
A duck walks into a store and says, “Give me some Chapstick.”
The clerk says, “How are you going to pay for that?”
“Oh, just put it on my bill.”

If you could bring one musician back from the dead, who would it be and why?

Bob Marley. His music is timeless. Just think what else he could have shared with us.

If you could live in a book, TV show or movie, what would it be?

Californication. Hank Moody seems like a blast.

On June 28, 2019, nearly 100 newly registered Youth Apprentices from across Washington State celebrated the beginning of their apprenticeship at the ShoWare Center in Kent, Washington. Signing Day brought together Washington State’s newest Youth Apprentices, their hiring employers and elected officials to celebrate a new opportunity for students to develop technical skills and valuable work experience for the state’s most robust industries.

Students signed their letters of intent along with new employers—signifying their commitment to start and complete a registered apprenticeship before they graduate high school. The 100 Youth Apprentices represented 12 school districts to work in a variety of industries including aerospace, advanced manufacturing, automotive, and culinary.

All Youth Apprentices during their program will receive 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training totaling up to $28,000, tuition free college classes, and valuable work experience—fast-tracking their careers in high-demand industries at the age of 16.

Related: View Photos from the 2019 Washington Youth Apprenticeship Signing Day Ceremony

About Youth Apprenticeship: Youth Apprenticeship transforms how education systems prepare young people to enter careers and launch into adulthood through mutually beneficial partnerships across schools, industry, and communities. These partnerships create opportunities for young people to finish high school, start their post-secondary 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.

On June 14, 2019, the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee graduated 79 registered apprentices representing 48 companies from across Washington State. The apprentices were joined by their family, friends, and colleagues as they walked across the stage at The Museum of Flight to receive their journey-level credential from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries.

AJAC 2019 Graduation Group Photo

For the first time, AJAC graduated apprentices from five different occupations, including our first industrial maintenance technician apprentices. AJAC’s Executive Director, Lynn Strickland was the master of ceremonies for the evening, “I want to thank the graduating apprentices for the years of commitment and dedication they have devoted on the job, in the classroom all while balancing their personal lives cannot go unsaid. They’ve developed and expanded their knowledge, skills and abilities to become the journeymen and woman they are today,” said Strickland.

Raquel Taijito, the first woman to start and complete AJAC’s Youth Apprenticeship, spoke on behalf of the Class of 2019 about her experience in the program, “I could not imagine myself giving a speech in front of a large crowd when was I younger. Nor did I imagine myself graduating from the Youth Apprenticeship program and gaining the skills needed for my profession,” Taijito said. “I gained the training that I needed and finished with over 2,000 hours of paid training. Now I can say that I am a proud member of the trades, a production technician, and an AJAC graduate! From this moment on, this is my advice to the people who are unsure or lost in their lives and want the change. I say to always move forward. But one must learn from the past, live for today, and hope for tomorrow. The journey will not always be easy, nor will it get easier. But you will become better if you take the smallest step to recognize the need for change and the first initiative to improve,” Taijito concluded.

Diane Haensel, AJAC’s  Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GD&T) Apprentice Instructor, was asked to keynote the ceremony and speak about her experience as a woman in advanced manufacturing including her time in a German apprenticeship. “My advice for women getting into advanced manufacturing, you have to be your own role model. Don’t shy away from something just because there are less women in that space. We create a path for others to follow. My advice for employers to  recruit more women, make it interesting. Help the young girls understand what the industry has to offer and show them what it means to be a machinist, a mechanic or welder,” Hanesel said during her closing remarks.

Diane also had special words for the graduates who’s journey is not over, but starting a new chapter. “Don’t settle in your comfort zone. Nothing great happens in the comfort zone. It is scary, but the more you step out of it, the easier it gets and further it takes you. Don’t settle until you found what really drive you.”

The 2019 graduates also hit new milestones for the Class of 2019:

  • 4,455 Total College Credits Earned
  • 592,000 Total On-the-Job Training Hours Completed
  • 40,488 Total Classroom Hours Completed

Congratulations to the AJAC Class of 2019!

RELATED: View Photos from Graduation