Launched annually on the first Friday in October with events that continue throughout the month, MFG Day helps show the reality of modern manufacturing careers by encouraging thousands of companies and educational institutions around the nation to open their doors to students, parents, teachers and community leaders.
MFG Day empowers manufacturers to come together to address their collective challenges so they can help their communities and future generations thrive.
To usher in MFG Day 2021, AJAC partnered with West Valley High School (Yakima, Washington) and Pexco Aerospace (Union Gap, Washington) to highlight the advanced manufacturing opportunities in the Yakima Valley.
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/
Meet Connor Snell, a Production Technician (Youth Apprentice) through the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC).
Connor launched his career in manufacturing after receiving an offer from WEMCO, Inc., a Spokane-based manufacturer that specializes in the design, engineering, and manufacturing of overhead cranes for material handling, automated aerospace tooling, precision fabrication, and complex CNC machining.
Connor attended Shadle Park High School in Spokane, where was inspired by his shop teacher to pursue a career in the region’s advanced manufacturing industries.
Now in his first full year, Connor has been given the opportunity to train with WEMCO’s top machinist and fabricators, while learning the theory behind his work during AJAC’s apprenticeship classes.
Connor is expected to graduate from his apprenticeship in 2022, with goals of enrolling in AJAC’s four-year machinist apprenticeship program upon completion of his Youth Apprenticeship.
To learn more about AJAC’s Youth Apprenticeship program, please visit: https://www.ajactraining.org/youth/
Hector Martinez enrolled in AJAC’s two-year Automation Technician (Youth) Apprenticeship program in 2019 after receiving an offer from Yakima Chief Hops. Hector went to Toppenish High School and was also enrolled in Yakima Valley Tech’s automation program where he learned about AJAC’s apprenticeship.
The South Central Washington STEM Network featured Hector in their 2021 February Newsletter as their “Apprenticeship Spotlight”.
You can read the entire newsletter here.
About the South Central Washington STEM Network:
The South Central Washington STEM Network is comprised of leaders from the worlds of education, business, and industry in Yakima and Kittitas counties and portions of Grant and Klickitat counties who are dedicated to developing the learning and career opportunities within our region in the expanding areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
America’s youngest workers, particularly young adults of color, are facing the most dire employment prospects since the Great Depression. As our nation looks toward recovery, and policymakers and investors seek strategies to build stronger connections to economic opportunity for young workers of color, let’s highlight the promise of work-based learning (WBL) opportunities.
In a new research report by the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program, “Unpacking the Work of Work-Based Learning,” authors Ranita Jain and Vivian Vázquez describe how four organizations involved with the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Generation Work initiative—Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee in Seattle, District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund in Philadelphia, Goodwill of Central and Southern Indiana in Indianapolis, and PowerCorpsPHL in Philadelphia—engage with young adults and employers to design and manage WBL opportunities.
WBL can help young adults of color get the experience, education, credentials, and relationships necessary to succeed in the workforce, now and in the future. And it can provide them an entry point into jobs in industries where they have been historically underrepresented.
Read/Download Report Here.
Meet Noah Retallic, a 17 year-old Automation Technician Youth Apprentice through the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC).
Noah enrolled in the Youth Apprenticeship in Spring 2020 and immediately began his on-the-job training (OJT) at Ephrata Machinery in Ephrata, Washington—a rural community in Eastern Washington.
This fall, Noah will begin his apprenticeship classes through Columbia Basin Tech (credited via Big Bend Community College) while continuing his 2,000 hours of OJT.
Ephrata Machinery invited AJAC to their machine to tell Noah’s story on how he became involved in manufacturing and his desire to grow within the industry.
Take a tour of Machinist Inc in Seattle, Washington as the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC) and Hazen High School (Renton School District) celebrate National Manufacturing Day (MFG Day) 2019. Students from Hazen High School received an insiders look at the products made by Machinists Inc and highlight the economic importance of manufacturing and draw attention to rewarding careers in the industry.
About MFG Day: There is an increasing demand for highly skilled professionals in the manufacturing sector who can design, program and operate technology. Over the next decade, manufacturers will need to fill 4.6 million jobs. Organized by The Manufacturing Institute—the education and workforce partner of the National Association of Manufacturers—MFG Day is designed to introduce young people and others in the community to the thriving manufacturing industry to change perceptions of manufacturing and highlight the high-tech and innovative companies that are solving tomorrow’s challenges today. More information is available at www.mfgday.com.
About Machinists Inc: Since 1941, Machinists Inc. of Seattle provides ISO 9001 certified metal fabrication, welding, CNC Machining, finishing, and assembly. They operate the largest precision machining shop in the Northwest and provide composite tooling, integrated systems, engineering, aerospace tooling, fabrication and welding, shaft turning, large machining, horizontal boring, 5-axis machining, inspection, finishing, and logistics. More information is available at https://www.machinistsinc.com/.
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.
It’s six in the morning at Tool Gauge, a Tacoma, Washington manufacturer that creates complex, high-quality plastic and metal parts and assemblies for the global aerospace industry. In walks a bright-eyed 18 year old woman as she has done for the last two years.
She moseys past a cascading waterfall in the lobby and through as set of doors to the engineering lab. On the other side of a soundproof window is a state of-the-art machine shop with the latest technology used to create precision machined parts.
She clocks in, changes into her work clothes, grabs her hat and boots, and walks over to her five axis computer numerical controlled (CNC) machine to manufacturer Inconel bushings and plastic parts for the aerospace industry. She has an order of 200 bushings to complete before her shift ends and first high school class begins.
Raquel Taijito isn’t here on accident or by chance. She has no family or friends who gave her an in with the company.
She was hired at 16 years old as a registered Youth Apprentice through a partnership with Tool Gauge and the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC).
Raquel isn’t a run-of-the-mill employee. As a Youth Apprentice, she receives one-on-one mentorship with the company’s most skilled workers while rotating around different departments, equipment, and processes.
As a young girl, Raquel had a knack for using her hands and creativity to make things come to life, “I knew I liked to build things. When I was a little girl I used to love to play with Legos and it would be all these funky designs, but I remember just enjoying building and designing my own stuff,” Taijito said.
Her favorite creation with Legos? A six passenger car.
“One of them was a car I built, and I was so proud of it because I managed to fit six passengers in it, and it was a four-wheel drive with I think it was about two inches and six inches long, and it was actually functional and it wasn’t a really crappy design. It was something I was actually proud of,” Taijito said. “My mom actually gave me the idea. Hey, you should go into engineering,” she added.
Mothers are always right.
Sophomore year at Stadium High School, Raquel’s engineering design teacher encouraged her to enroll in AJAC’s Youth Apprenticeship program as a Production Technician. The structured training, competitive wage, and college credits certainly enticed her to become involved. After submitting an application and completing two separate interviews, Raquel was hired at Tool Gauge and subsequently became the first woman as a registered Youth Apprentice in aerospace.
“Through the apprenticeship, I do make money. It’s on-the-job training. I learn while I earn. It’s not an internship where I don’t get paid at all. No, I get paid, and every 500 hours I get a pay raise,” Taijito explained.
The apprenticeship is more than training, it provides a foundation for young adults to quickly mature and grow within a profession they already have an interest in.
“AJAC does a great job when they go to these high schools and they start talking to kids. They’re only getting the ones who are interested in doing the work,” said Clint Folyer, Operations Manager at Tool Gauge. “The youth apprenticeship classes are in the evening. Raquel is able to go to class at night and she learns things at school and is able to come in the very next day and apply those things in an actual job setting,” Folyer continued.
Fast forward to 2019. Raquel successfully completed her two-year AJAC Youth Apprenticeship at Tool Gauge and will attend two graduations and earn two certificates—her high school diploma and a journeywoman’s credential as a Production Technician.
Raquel’s growth didn’t come easy. Each apprentice’s learning style is unique but with growth comes confidence in their skill set. “It gave me some confidence in terms of my abilities. The only person that is going to hold me back is just my mind, but I know that if I do push myself to whatever extent I need to, I know I can do it. It pushed me how to work alone and with others,” she explained. “The program pushed me to ask more questions because initially, I had a hard time asking questions or asking for help in certain areas. Knowing that I can do it, I became more confident in my abilities over time.”
The core OJT competencies in AJAC’s Youth Apprenticeship program puts a strong emphasis on manual machining, particularly useful for a company such as Tool Gauge that makes one-off parts for The Boeing Company. “At first I was scared to go near it, because I thought I was going to blow something up. I have my mistakes and that’s just part of learning,” Taijito said. “Particularly with the lathe, I have the most trouble in terms of figuring out the RPM’s and the surface speed. I really do enjoy manual machining on the mill.”
To better help apprentices understand skills used in industry, class projects are designed using curriculum from AJAC’s adult apprenticeship program. “One of my favorite projects was AJAC’s C clamp. It was pretty stressful, but figuring out the offsets and picking up my starting point with the edge finder was pretty cool,” Taijito exclaimed.
In 2020, Raquel will enroll as a freshman at St. Martins University with a goal to pursue aeronautical engineering. Her childhood dream of building things with her own imagination will soon be a reality.
“My dream is not actually owning a shop but it’s being a part of a company where I can design aerospace parts—something that deals with NASA or satellites. That’s my ultimate goal.”
As for her remaining time at Tool Gauge—Raquel still shows up five days a week at six in the morning, just as eager to learn and produce quality aerospace parts as she did two years ago.
New Video Provides a Cinematic Look at Registered Youth Apprenticeship in Washington State.
SEATTLE, WA-Washington State Governor Jay Inslee calls it the “supply train for the supply chain”. Aerospace and advanced manufacturing employers see it as a competitive advantage for pipeline development. High school students use it to gain real-world skills while earning a paycheck and college credits. Youth Apprenticeship’s benefits may be endless, but its story is just beginning.
The Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC), now in its tenth year, has partnered with the emerging online educational platform, Edge Factor to develop new Youth Apprenticeship resources for rich, engaging content that can be used statewide with school districts, employers, and students across the country.
Edge Factor works with communities across North America to inspire and build pipelines of talent entering specific industry sectors. Their workforce development experts and storytellers provide regional solutions to national challenges. In short, Edge Factor produces cinematic stories with accompanying resources and delivers this content through the online Edge Factor Suit platform.
“In every community we work in, we want to infuse the local flavor of the region into our library of tools,” said Jeremy Bout, Found of Edge Factor. “By partnering with AJAC, we are bringing the Edge Factor film crew to film in Washington, meeting local businesses, and organizations. We will be filming real people, in real aerospace jobs, highlighting local career opportunities.”
Edge Factor’s strong focus on career and technical education raises awareness about STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) career pathways. One pathway Edge Factor wanted to bring into focus was registered apprenticeships, specifically for the aerospace and advanced manufacturing industries.
“One of the most impactful engagement tools is a good story. Edge Factor has a remarkable ability to tell compelling stories connecting businesses, educators, students, parents and workforce developers in an effort to build communities,” said Demetria “Lynn” Strickland, Executive Director of AJAC. “AJAC currently partners with 34 employers employing 75 Youth Apprentices who come from a wide array of cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. We are thrilled to have this new partnership unveil the impact a registered Youth Apprenticeship program can have on communities and the advanced manufacturing industry.”
AJAC’s registered Youth Apprenticeship program grew nearly 200% in 2018. That growth creates a greater demand for career connected opportunities like registered apprenticeship for youth and partnering with Edge Factor will provide AJAC with more tools to encourage future employers and apprentices to become a participant in a registered apprenticeship program to positively impact their communities.
Additionally, Edge Factor spoke with six employers in various regions to help future businesses understand the full scope of the Youth Apprenticeship program, including its pipeline development, teen worker safety, community impact and competitive advantage.
“It is important to show these apprentices in the work environment to clearly communicate what kind of responsibility and job tasks they are capable of safely doing,” said Clint Folyer, Operations Manager at Tacoma-based manufacturer Tool Gauge. “Our experience working with AJAC and Edge Factor to tell Raquel’s story was a great experience. We look forward to working with both AJAC and Edge Factor again in the future.”
A healthy community ecosystem where education and businesses, parents and students are all speaking to each other is the catalyst to expanding apprenticeship opportunities in Washington State. Through these new cinematic experiences, future employers and apprentices can better engage with the state’s fastest growing registered apprenticeship program.
To learn more about AJAC’s registered Youth Apprenticeship Program, please visit: https://www.ajactraining.org/youth/
Miss our 2018 Youth Apprenticeship Signing Day Ceremony? Watch our recap here: https://www.ajactraining.org/youth-apprentice/youth-press-and-media/
Follow the journey of our Youth Apprentices on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and our quarterly newsletter.
AJAC is an industry-driven 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 and fulfilling work, and pursue lifelong learning.
AJAC currently partners with over 250 aerospace and advanced manufacturing companies in Washington State serving nearly 400 apprentices state-wide each year.