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Last week, Congresswoman Dr. Kim Schrier contacted AJAC to learn more about our training programs in the 8th congressional district. She wanted an opportunity to meet apprentices who have excelled in their manufacturing career and learn more about manufacturing employers in her district.

AJAC set-up a tour at Laser Cutting Northwest, a fabrication shop in Auburn, Washington specializing in laser cutter, machining, forming, welding, finishing and assembly. Laser Cutting Northwest has been an active partnering employer with AJAC for over five years.

Congresswoman Schrier then met with James Montgomery, a former Manufacturing Academy student and soon-to-be apprentice graduate. James completed his pre-apprenticeship training through AJAC in 2019 and started his Precision Metal Fabricator apprenticeship with Laser Cutting Northwest in early 2020.

James spoke about his time training with AJAC, the perseverance to complete his apprenticeship during COVID, and the new doors that have opened as a result of going through a structured apprenticeship program.

A special thank you to Congresswoman Kim Schrier and her staff for providing AJAC and Laser Cutting Northwest a forum to talk about apprenticeships and how companies across Washington State are benefitting from this investment in job training.

Nearly two years ago before the start of the pandemic, AJAC held its last in-person employer roundtable in Snohomish County. Since then, a dramatic shift in workforce development and skill advancement has taken place across the state, particularly in the county’s robust manufacturing industry.

Snohomish County’s concentration of manufacturing workers is the largest in Washington State, in fact, there are more manufacturing jobs in this county than any other west of the Rocky Mountains. With a large manufacturing footprint, comes new challenges with skill advancement and remaining competitive in the labor market.

   

The labor shortage of entry-level and middle-skilled positions continues to be a topic of conversation among manufacturing employers, who face obstacles the labor market has not seen in decades. To address these needs, AJAC focused its roundtable discussion on the investment of apprenticeship, not only as a recruitment strategy, but a sustainable pipeline for skilled occupations.

“There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to navigating the different avenues AJAC can serve employer members,” said Demetria “Lynn” Strickland, Executive Director at AJAC. “These roundtables give our staff an opportunity to have intimate conversations with local employers, understand their needs, and work with them to develop programming that will help in bridging their workforce development gap.”

20 small to medium-sized employers representing the aerospace, plastics, maritime, transportation, food processing, and social enterprise industries participated in the 90 minute discussion including employers active in registered apprenticeship and those looking to diversify their internal training goals.

“It was encouraging to have so many local employers attend this roundtable, given the difficult state of affairs with COVID-19,” said Erin Williams, Regional Program Manager at AJAC. “Whether they are hiring immediately or anticipate a future hiring need, AJAC is poised to help manufacturers address those needs in real-time through our suite of training programs and strategic partnerships across the state.”

AJAC touched on new entry-level and advanced apprenticeship programs including the Industrial Manufacturing Technician and CNC Programmer, along with grant stipends for employers, financial aid for apprentices, youth apprenticeship, and onsite mentorship and OJT support services. Employers were eager to learn about AJAC’s upcoming Logistics & Supply Chain apprenticeship—aimed to directly support frontline and warehouse workers who want to build up additional credentials focused on logistics and supply chain management.

A special thank you to Sno-Isle Tech Skills Center for hosting this event.

Launch an AJAC apprenticeship at your company today!

 

AJAC is thrilled to announce we are the recipients of $1.3 million in grant funding through the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries’ “Aerospace Workforce Development Expansion” Grant.

In September 2021, L&I released $3.8 million to expand aerospace workforce development training opportunities over the next two years. This month, our organization successfully bid for $1.3 million of the $3.8 to invest in new equipment and training facilities dedicated to registered apprenticeship and apprenticeship preparation for the aerospace supply chain.

In addition to equipment and facilities, the resources will be used to create a new Veterans Liaison position at AJAC to recruit veterans and veteran spouses into AJAC training programs. AJAC will work with the Pacific Mountain Workforce Development Council to integrate these resources into existing programs serving the Joint Base Lewis-McCord community.

Resources will also support investments into bridge programs for English as a Second Language (ESL) workers and job seekers interested in aerospace employment and careers.

“AJAC is appreciative of the opportunity provided by this new grant to significantly expand access to registered apprenticeship and apprenticeship preparation programs for the aerospace and advanced manufacturing supply chain,” said Demetria “Lynn” Strickland, Executive Director for AJAC. This investment will lead to stronger engagement with transitioning military members and their families, increased access for non-native English speaking communities, and new equipment for apprentices and pre-apprentices as we expand our training footprint to underserved areas of our state.

In total, resources will be used to update/purchase new equipment at up to 35 different AJAC training facilities, which are hosted at local community and technical colleges, high schools, community-based organizations, and public workforce development offices.

At least 250 participants will be served through apprenticeship preparation programs over the course of the grant and 150 new apprentices will enroll in AJAC registered apprenticeship programs.

Beginning in 2014, AJAC partnered with the Washington Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) to provide a 12-week pre-apprenticeship training to incarcerated young men living in a DCYF transitional living facility in Tacoma, WA.

The success of the DCYF partnership in Tacoma provided a blueprint for a pre-apprenticeship program design for opportunity youth, with funds from the Aspen Institute’s “Pathways to Careers”, provided critical capacity building and instructional support for AJAC to work with partners including Federal Way Public Schools, the Boys & Girls Club of King County, the YMCA Social Impact Center, and the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County (WDC).

The Boys & Girls Club’s EX3 Teen Center in Federal Way was identified as a training location for opportunity youth associated with Federal Way Public School’s Truman Campus, which hosts two alternative high school programs, Open Doors at Truman and Career Academy at Truman, as well as the Internet Academy for grades K-12.

Over the last two years, AJAC has partnered with Federal Way Public School’s Truman Campus and the Federal Way Boys & Girls Club to offer AJAC’s Manufacturing Academy to FWPS students looking to explore different career paths and interests. AJAC’s 10-week pre-apprenticeship program covered technical skill development in shop math, blueprint reading, and precision measurement. Students also earned industry-recognized certifications in forklift, OSHA-10, CPR/First-Aid, and lean manufacturing.

Upon completion of the 10-week program, students will not only leave with technical manufacturing skills, but soft skills that can increase their chances of employability. AJAC’s instructors teach students how to work independently and in teams, how to develop an effective resume, and how to dress and act appropriately in the workplace.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of King County’s teen employment program, YouthForce, handled case management for the students through the Workforce Innovative and Opportunity Act (WIOA). “This program right here gets them a well-rounded approach to the workforce. They’re well-prepared. You’re not just getting manufacturing skills. You’re getting on-the job-skills, too,” said Brian Maina, Program Manager at Youth Force. “I see more responsible young people in my community, after going through programs like this, that essentially could expose youth to those jobs or opportunities that, otherwise, they wouldn’t have been exposed to were not for AJAC.”

To capitalize on the skills learned in class, AJAC works with its network of 300 advanced manufacturing employers to identify internship opportunities for students who wish to apply their knowledge of the trades to a real-world environment. Not only will students earn a weekly stipend by participating in the Manufacturing Academy program, but can continue to earn additional income through structured internships at local companies.

“I just see kids that are excited, excited about the outlook of what’s out there. It’s not just law school or medical school,” said Brian. “There’s trades that can be done and be a responsible young person that can provide for themselves and their families.”

To learn more about the Manufacturing Academy, please visit: https://www.ajactraining.org/apprenticeship/pre-apprenticeships/

 

AJAC’s Regional Program Manager, Heather Collins, and Manufacturing Academy instructor, Stephen Matczak, sat down with Michelle Smith from the South Central Workforce Council to talk about AJAC’s exciting new apprenticeship in the food processing industry. Discover what the apprenticeship entails, the length of the program, and the career opportunities that are available upon completion of the apprenticeship.

 

Learn more about AJAC’s new Machine Operator apprenticeship here.

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.

Apprentice Eligibility

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:

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. 

Enroll Today!

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.

Lonnie Franklin | 5 Questions

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.

Priscilla Johnson

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. 

No-cost training to launch this spring to upskill machine operators through registered apprenticeship

Machine Operator

YAKIMA, WA-November 19, 2020 – Over the next 10 years, 596 food-processing employees across Washington State will transition to upper level positions within the company, many requiring skill advancement. Due to a lack of training opportunities in Central Washington, the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC) and South Central Workforce Council have developed the first Machine Operator Registered Apprenticeship program for Washington State’s growing food-manufacturing sector.

AJAC’s 18-month Machine Operator apprenticeship combines 3,000 hours (93%) of structured on-the-job training in your company, on your machines and using your work processes, coupled with 300 hours (7%) of college-level classroom instruction accredited through Yakima Valley College.

At their employer, apprentices work under seasoned mentors to grow skillsets in key areas of focus including:

In the classroom, apprentices learn the theory behind machine operation including machine operator technology, industrial maintenance, mechatronics, quality assurance and material science.

Upon completion of the apprenticeship, apprentices will receive a nationally recognized journey-level card from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries.

To date, AJAC has enrolled 35 apprentices across Washington State employed at food manufacturers including Washington Beef, TransOcean Products, Trident Seafoods, Yakima Chief Hops, Tree Top, and Macro Plastics. The growth in Washington State for Packaging and Filling Machine Operators is significantly higher than the rest of the country. With a 12% growth rate over 10 years, the workforce will need training to meet the economic demand. To meet this economic demand, employers can utilize AJAC’s no-cost Machine Operator apprenticeship as a means grow talent from within and develop a sustainable pipeline of skilled workers for decades to come.

Starting spring 2021, employers can enroll their employees into the apprenticeship program and immediately begin their college-level classroom instruction. The six-course program also gives apprentices the opportunity to earn college credits that can apply towards a post-secondary degree.

Employers interested in offering this apprenticeship to their employees can contact AJAC’s Regional Program Manager, Heather Collins at hcollins@ajactraining.org or 509-574-1958.

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AJAC launched in 2008 with an investment from Washington State to skill-up the 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, collaborating with 12 community colleges to ensure that all apprentices are receiving college credits while working towards a journey-level certificate.

EQUAL OPPORTUNITY – EQUAL ACCESS – It is the mission of the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC) that training shall be without discrimination based on race, sex, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, veteran status or as otherwise specified by law. WorkSource is an equal-opportunity partnership of organizations that provide employment and training services. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to people with disabilities. Washington Relay Service: 711.