The Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC) is excited to offer a new CNC Programmer Apprenticeship this spring! This program combines on-the-job training (OJT) with evening classes one night a week. AJAC apprentices will take 1 class per quarter, 3 quarters per year, for 3 years (45 total credits). If you have not completed AJAC’s 4-year machinist apprenticeship program, this is a 3-year, 6,000 hour program. This program is accredited through a local community or technical college giving you the opportunity to earn college credits.
Become A Journey-Level Programmer
Students in the AJAC CNC Programmer Apprenticeship will learn to use CAD and CAM fundamentals to design for manufacturability (develop tooling). Students will gain a thorough understanding of the underlying manufacturing processes that are essential to developing a part program; they will know how to build a part and will understand the role of the CNC Programmer in a team and an organization. In Year 3, students will learn 2-axis, 3-axis, and 4-axis CAM tool paths for mill and lathe as well as advanced CNC Programming techniques.
This program is designed as a training for journey level Machinists with two entry points. It has been structured as a 4,000 hour program for journey-level machinist graduates or those with a college certificate/degree.
For individuals with at least 5 years of proven machining experience, this is a 6,000 hour program to accommodate experienced Machinists achieving their journey level status through work experience but lacking formal academic preparation.
Based on subject matter experts and employer recommendations, the following is the candidate eligibility criteria:
- Industry Trained | 5+ Years of Proven Machining Experience. Eligible for participation includes requirement to take all 9 classes and complete 6,000 hours of OJT.
- College Certificate or Degree + Industry Trained | 5 Years of Experience/Certificate or Degree. Credit for up to 3 classes of the first year’s coursework and 2,000 OJT Hours.
- Apprenticeship Completion: Journey-Level Machinist. Automatically awarded first year course work (3 classes) and 2,000 OJT Hours.
CNC Programmer Entry Points
The following table is a breakdown of required (X) RSI Classes for each eligible participant category. View a PDF version of this table here.
Related Supplemental Instruction
CNC Programmer apprentices will take up to 9 college-level classes (450) hours designed by AJAC’s subject matter experts. Class is held one night a week for 4 hours during the fall, winter, and spring (summers off). Classes will vary between in-person and online learning. Each class is worth 5 college credits totaling up to 45 credits upon completion.
CNC Programmer Classes
This apprenticeship provides students the opportunity to learn critical programming skills covering the following subject areas:
- Technical Drawings, GD&T, and Precision Fits
- Shop Algebra, Applied Geometry and Trigonometry
- CAD Fundamentals & Design for Manufacturability
- Manufacturing Process Related to Project Management
- Basic Tool Path for Mill & Lathe
- Multi Axis/Indexing
- Advanced CNC Programming Techniques
On-the-Job Training Competencies Learned
The graphic above is a guide of tasks and hours for the on-the-job training portion of the program. The 6,000 hours will be completed over the course of the apprenticeship.
We understand this may not be a full-time role for apprentices, as they will be splitting their time between shop and programming. Apprentices have flexibility over the course of the program to complete the guide of tasks and hours. The apprentice shall be instructed and trained in all operations and methods customarily used on the various machines.
Cost & College Tuition
In Washington State, when you engage in apprenticeship, college tuition is reduced by 50%. In most cases that means classes cost around $275 per quarter, 9 classes total. Roughly $2,475 out-of-pocket cost per apprentice for the entirety of the program.
For AJAC machinist graduates, the cost will be around $1,650.
To reserve your spot in AJAC’s first CNC Programmer Apprenticeship, please complete our online application. After you have submitted your information, an AJAC representative will contact you for next steps.
What was the last experience that made you a stronger person?
Making the move back to Seattle was something that made me a stronger person. Moving and going through a worldwide pandemic at the same time was hard. 2020 has taught me how to rely on those closest to me and find inner peace from within as well as learn how to master a few new meals.
If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor?
The person I would choose to mentor me would be Lebron James. The reason I am chose Lebron is because his overall growth over the past 17 years has been amazing. I would love to sit and ask questions about his inspirations and what motivates his drive and determination. Speaking to someone who has not had the father figure in his life yet silenced his doubters—I would love this conversation.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I love to spend time with my family and when I can, golf is a past-time of mine. I would have to admit anything dealing with the great outside is something I can handle. I have been called a party starter, so I guess I can be the life of the party as well!
How would your best friends describe you?
Now this is a good question. My friends would say I am the same person that they met 38 years ago. I love to have fun and play jokes on my friends. They would also let me know that we have not had a fallout in 30 years. So, bottom line is, they would say he must be cool, to have been my best friend for 38 years.
Which is your favorite four-legged creature and why?
His name is Blu and he is the best dog you can find for free. I love love love dogs. They can make you smile when humans fail to do so, and they wont even say a word. Having a dog is one of the best things a person can do for their lives. My dog gives me strength and comfort when I need it and he knows me better than most. I am one of those people who talk to their dogs and then answers as if he would be speaking. So yes, that is me.
Kailey Harding’s interest in manufacturing first peaked when she saw students making carbon fiber skateboards at the Pierce County Skills Center. As an avid longboarder, she was immediately drawn to the hands-on learning.
After two years of learning composites, fabrication, and machining through the skills center, Kailey landed a job as a machinist and immediately enrolled in AJAC’s four-year machinist apprenticeship program. Through her time in the apprenticeship, Kailey grew her foundational machining skills through one-on-one mentorship and industry-aligned curriculum delivered by AJAC’s instructors.
Her current role at Spearman Corporation in Kent, Washington is to create high tolerance parts for commercial and military airplanes. Over the last three years, Kailey has proudly machined parts for the Boeing 737, 777, and 767 respectively.
For Kailey, the industry as a whole can do a better job of marketing manufacturing to women, “Its really not influenced. You don’t see advertising to say ‘Hey, females, work here!’. It is a big growth process to get to where I am today. Overall, it is a morale boost going to AJAC. You’re learning different things throughout the four years and every time you learn something new, you can take it back to work and apply it.”
Kailey’s advice to encourage more women to pursue manufacturing, “No matter where you work, you have to have the passion for it. If it is in you, and you are feeling a little nervous, step on in it. I would definitely get into AJAC’s because they are going to guide you and support you. Go for it; be confident in your words, and who you are.”
Kailey is in the third year of her machinist apprenticeship and expects to graduate in 2021.
To learn more about AJAC’s Machinist Apprenticeship program, please visit: https://www.ajactraining.org/apprenticeship/occupations/machinist/.
To launch your career in advanced manufacturing, please visit AJAC’s Getting Started page: https://www.ajactraining.org/apprenticeship/getting-started/
What will your new role at AJAC include?
My role here at AJAC will be teaching the Manufacturing Academy pre-apprenticeship program. I will be providing instructional training for individuals that are wanting to start their career in the manufacturing industry. This 10-week course covers all aspects that pertain to the development of skills required for an individual to be successful working within this trade. I’m an excited for this opportunity to provide the education needed to assist others in starting new careers that will pay a living wage and help improve their quality of life.
What is your favorite part about working in the non-profit industry?
The non-profit industry has never failed to attract an energetic and passionate workforce. I love the fact that non-profit heroes (employees) put their heart and soul into their work even when the resources are spread quite thin compared to larger corporations.
Even on my most challenging days, when I’m swamped with deadlines to meet, it’s so easy to stay motivated when I know that I’m working to educate and empower people from all walks of life to take back control of their careers and better their quality of life. All of the hard work truly pays off when I read an article or watch a video about a student that went through the Manufacturing Academy program and went on to graduate from their apprenticeship. There’s a ripple effect to the work that we do here at AJAC, as we strive to help people better themselves, in turn, they become inspired to help make the world a better place.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I love the outdoors…I lived in Alaska for 7 years when I was in the military and I fell in love with the minimalist survival hike/camp concept, never looking back! Within this concept lies the idea that intentional discomfort provides us with the opportunity for self-growth and reflection; as well as, confidence in self and metal clarity. I could honestly say I am an adept minimalist hiker/camper, which means that minimal food and supplies is backed for the trip and much of what is needed is source from the land or we do without. My husband and I hike in to remote camping locations all over Washington and Oregon. My one tip to anyone that wants to try this style of camping out would be to camp need a natural water source.
I also like to snowboard, but my husband and friends question why I keep torqueing myself. HAHA. To say the least, I’m not a rockstar on the board, but I’ve got resolve because I keep trying.
What’s one thing about you that would surprise me?
I play women’s Roller Derby. Oh, and I practice Brazilian Jujitsu.
If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?
Alaskan Style Street Tacos..! Fresh wild caught lemon butter salmon or halibut with fresh pico de gallo, black beans, brown rice, guac, and a bit of garlic dill sauce. There is only 1 word…Amazing..!
If You Could Travel Anywhere In The World, Where Would It Be?
Blue Lagoon Hot Springs in Iceland. I love going to hot springs everywhere I travel, as I’m a huge believer in hydrotherapy and the concept of “Water is Life”. I want to go to the blue lagoon someday during the northern lights.
Connect to training – and employers hungry for new talent – in advanced manufacturing. For Trudie Dole, the pandemic has a silver lining.
She’d been interested in the AJAC Manufacturing Academy for over a year, but as a single mother of four it was hard to fit the classes into her schedule. Then her retail job was deemed nonessential and AJAC moved classes online, and Dole jumped at the opportunity.
“It was a pretty big challenge, having four kids at home and all of us doing remote learning! But even with the pandemic I was able to learn all sorts of new skills and get a job in the aerospace industry.”
A year ago Dole was looking for a change — she’d recently committed to sobriety, and after a friend introduced her to some manufacturing concepts and machines she decided she’d like to work at Boeing. She applied for a variety of entry-level positions, but her resume needed a boost. That’s when she heard about the programs at the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee.
“There are programs and scholarships to help people like me retrain and find better opportunities. I didn’t have a perfect past, but I’ve dealt with that issue and AJAC still welcomed me,” she says, encouraging others to consider advanced manufacturing. “There’s more out there than just retail and the food and beverage industry.”