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, Washington.

This partnership was created to provide young people impacted by the juvenile justice system with a tangible opportunity to transition out of the Juvenile Rehabilitation-operated facility and into the community with real-world experience and skills that translate into in-demand jobs.  

We currently offer two cohorts per year to include a 12-week training and a 12-week paid internship at a local manufacturing company so as to provide stronger connections to industry for incarcerated young people largely without work histories or connections to industry upon their release. 

Upon completion, Juvenile Rehabilitation (JR) students will have up to 300 hours of classroom learning and 120 hours of practical work experience.

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. 

Since January 2019, over 40 young men from the JR program have participated in this new program design, with 41 participating in a paid internships at Tacoma-based manufacturing companies – almost all at Berry Global, a plastic bottling company who is also an AJAC training agent (apprenticeship employer partner). 

Employers interested in partnering with AJAC’s Manufacturing Academy can learn more here.

This article was originally written and published by the Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF)

One of the many benefits of youth placement in least restrictive community facilities is the opportunity to receive education and vocational training in the community, sometimes under the wing of community members with lived experience. Derek Jones is a shining example of community members going above and beyond to support youth in our care.

Oakridge Community Facility provides youth with the opportunity to join the Manufacturing Academy, a 12-week pre-apprenticeship with certifications that prepare youth for entry-level positions in the manufacturing industry. Derek manages the program and provides hands-on instruction to the youth participants, but his support for the young people doesn’t end there.

“Derek is always willing to teach and help. If you don’t understand, he will meet you until you get it,” said one youth.

Derek is a mentor, confidant, and friend to every young person that crosses his path. He is passionate about not only teaching youth vocational skills but also providing a safe space where they can truly flourish and grow. He talks with youth about his experiences with life after release, fatherhood, and responsibility while encouraging them to transform their lives for the better.

“He has had a huge impact on my life because he was always willing to help me when I needed guidance or when I needed someone to talk to,” said another youth.

Derek’s instruction and impact have been felt throughout the many Manufacturing Academy cohorts of young adults who he continues to mentor even after their release from Juvenile Rehabilitation.

You can read the entire article on DYCF’s blog here