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.