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.
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.
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.