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.

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/

Nyck Davis spent his afternoons measuring objects around his house. The COVID-19 pandemic forced Nyck to reimagine himself, not as a former automotive technician at Mercedes Benz, but as a future employee of Blue Origin.

Nyck’s fortune was waiting to be told. He heard about the Manufacturing Academy from a friend who recently graduated from AJAC’s pre-apprenticeship program. He encouraged him to apply since he needed a new direction—a new skillset—that could attract some of the top aerospace companies in the state.

“I knew you could always make some crazy things being a machinist. It blows my mind knowing how much work goes into machining. You have to study the blueprints, do all the math, figure out how to set-up the machine and what cutters to use,” Davis said.

The Manufacturing Academy provided Nyck with a creative outlet to hone his skills and understand how things are made from raw materials.

I keep saying it and I’ll never stop saying it, I will never have the job I have now without the AJAC program.

Troy Ironmonger, AJAC’s Manufacturing Academy instructor worked with Nyck and his peers to prepare them for a career in advanced manufacturing, “Nyck’s drive to become a machinist was evident from the first day. He was able to build on the skills he learned in his high school shop class, as an automotive technician, and apply those to our class,” Ironmonger said.

As the Manufacturing Academy program came to a close, Nyck began his employment search, looking for companies that could elevate his foundational machining knowledge.

His sights were set on one company—Blue Origin. “I applied to eight or nine different positions and eventually landed on apprentice machinist. Luckily, it was announced the last week of class that Blue Origin is now a sponsor of the AJAC program,” Davis said. “Timing wise, I got extremely lucky and I ended up landing the apprentice machinist job.”

Six weeks after becoming a full-time employee at Blue Origin, Nyck was ready to begin his career as an AJAC machinist apprentice. His first two quarters covered engineering drawings and shop algebra, two concepts Nyck became familiar with in the Manufacturing Academy. Now in his third quarter, Nyck is learning the theory behind precision machining, including manual machining, tolerances, speeds and feeds, and parts finishing.

Looking back on his journey from becoming unemployed, to landing his dream job, Nyck is humbled by those who gave their time to grow his craft, “I am super excited to be a part of this program. I keep saying it and I’ll never stop saying it, I will never have the job I have now without the AJAC program. If you’re thinking about getting into the AJAC apprenticeship, I would say do it! It’s completely worth it. If you have what you want to do in mind and you work hard to get there, you will not regret it!”

To learn more about AJAC’s Manufacturing Academy program, please visit: www.ManufacturingAcademy.org.

She was ready for a fresh start, now she’s got a fresh career | Renton Reporter

Connect to training – and employers hungry for new talent – in advanced manufacturing. For Trudie Dole, the pandemic has a silver lining.

She’d been interested in the AJAC Manufacturing Academy for over a year, but as a single mother of four it was hard to fit the classes into her schedule. Then her retail job was deemed nonessential and AJAC moved classes online, and Dole jumped at the opportunity.

“It was a pretty big challenge, having four kids at home and all of us doing remote learning! But even with the pandemic I was able to learn all sorts of new skills and get a job in the aerospace industry.”

A year ago Dole was looking for a change — she’d recently committed to sobriety, and after a friend introduced her to some manufacturing concepts and machines she decided she’d like to work at Boeing. She applied for a variety of entry-level positions, but her resume needed a boost. That’s when she heard about the programs at the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee.

“There are programs and scholarships to help people like me retrain and find better opportunities. I didn’t have a perfect past, but I’ve dealt with that issue and AJAC still welcomed me,” she says, encouraging others to consider advanced manufacturing. “There’s more out there than just retail and the food and beverage industry.”

It’s shortly after 8 o’clock in the morning on a farm outside of Tacoma, Washington. Summer has ended and the mornings have become brisk with a layer of fog blanketing the ground. The outside temperature feels like a typical fall day in the Pacific Northwest, but inside each greenhouse, temperatures can reach nearly 85 degrees.

Just outside the greenhouse, 12 youth participating in AJAC’s Manufacturing Academy pre-apprenticeship program convene in an open building to learn their assignments for the day. These young men typically spend each weekday learning advanced manufacturing skills as they transition back to civilian life. Today—they are giving back to the communities who helped raise them.

Since 2017, AJAC has partnered with the Department of Children, Youth, and Families’ Juvenile Rehabilitation program, Pac Mountain WDC and Bates Technical College to offer incarcerated youth an opportunity to develop industry-relevant skills for advanced manufacturing including precision measuring, blueprint reading, intro to machining, metallurgy, composites, and math for manufacturing. Upon completion of the program, JR students have certifications in OSHA-10, First-Aid/CPR, Lean Manufacturing, Forklift, and Flagger, and earn up to 32 college credits through Bates Technical College.

The AJAC Members have expressed enjoying connecting with the environment, contributing to the community, and having an opportunity to learn job skills

Beginning in 2020, a new partnership with Franklin Pierce School District is further enhancing the MA program by teaching life skills and the importance of giving back at The Farm, the District’s 8-acre outdoor education site located in the suburbs of Tacoma that includes wetland and native restoration planting areas, an orchard, and 2 acres of vegetables. Experience at The Farm complements what the young men are learning about manufacturing through the development of critical leadership and teamwork skills by donating to their local community and providing for those in need.

Aaron Gibson, The Farm’s Program Assistant, works with the JR students each Thursday to harvest produce and plant new crops for the upcoming season.

“Working with the AJAC Crew has been great! They are motivated, engaged, and curious. With the help of the AJAC Crew the Farm has been able to flourish and feed numerous families this fall,” Gibson said. “The partnership has been mutually beneficial. The AJAC Members have expressed enjoying connecting with the environment, contributing to the community, and having an opportunity to learn job skills. The Farm has received a competent and reliable work crew that has allowed us to continue production and feed the community.”

Derek Jones, AJAC’s Manufacturing Academy Instructor, appreciates the opportunity for these young men to learn life skills on their road out of incarceration, “I am incredibly proud of these young men for going outside of their comfort zone to learn something they have never experienced before. Although we are here to train students for careers in advanced manufacturing, this program is more than skill development—its about developing these men to become lifelong, productive members of society. There is no better place to start than right here at The Farm. Not only are they learning how to work together as a team and independently, but produce something with their hands that will go on to help families and communities in need. It’s a win-win for them and the people we are serving here in Tacoma,” Jones said.

To learn more about the Manufacturing Academy, please visit our website.

Meet LaDante Weems—a formerly incarcerated youth and now graduate of the AJAC Juvenile Rehabilitation Manufacturing Academy program—tells his story on becoming a full-time employee at Tech Marine. We at AJAC are so proud of how far LaDante has come since his incarnation and wish him nothing but continued success in his future.

AJAC is launching a new Manufacturing Academy program in Federal Way through a partnership with the Federal Way Boys & Girls Club, Truman High School and a grant from Aspen Institute’s Pathways to Careers Fund. The Manufacturing Academy (MA) is an apprenticeship preparation program that has been offered in South Seattle and Kent prior to this latest addition.

Boys and Girls Club Youth Force Executive Director Melissa Jones is excited about the partnership and the prospects that come with it. “We believe positive youth development is a collective effort that cannot be solved by a single person, organization or company alone. That’s why it’s imperative to collaborate with others in our community to provide comprehensive programming and employment opportunities for our youth.” When asked what the goal of the new initiative is, Jones says, “Our hope is to provide an alternative career path allowing youth who choose not to pursue higher education the ability to earn a living wage.”

The Manufacturing Academy’s purpose is to give students the information, skills, and certifications needed to begin their careers in advanced manufacturing. Derek Jones, the instructor for the course, says the class is a great opportunity to give your resume the boost it needs, “The hardest part about starting a new career is getting your foot in the door. The Manufacturing Academy gives people who are willing to learn a real opportunity to change their lives.”

The newest MA addition in Federal Way will allow its students to gain access to machinery and equipment used in the industry while developing industry skills in blueprint reading, precision measurement, soldering, LEAN manufacturing, and resume development.
Chris Pierson, Director of Grants and Strategic Partnerships with AJAC, says the expansion to Federal Way is a fantastic way to cultivate growth. “AJAC is committed to diversifying talent pipelines to our employer partners and developing more equitable pathways into apprenticeship. We have been working with all of our partners to strengthen pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship pathways for youth through initiatives such as Generation Work, Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship, and other related initiatives.”

The first cohort started class, January 13, 2020, with 15 students enrolled.

The Wells Fargo Foundation, established in the U.S. as a registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization in 1980, is the company’s primary philanthropic funding arm. In 2018, the foundation donated nearly half a billion dollars to 11,000 nonprofit organizations, including the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC).

AJAC is also a non-profit 501(c)(3) that provides registered apprenticeship training to adult workers and high school youth, and a pre-apprenticeship training program (Manufacturing Academy), which prepares job seekers for employment and apprenticeship opportunities across the state of Washington in the aerospace and advanced manufacturing industries. Students who enroll in AJAC’s Manufacturing Academy (MA) are looking to kick start their future by attaining a full-time job and continued career training through AJAC’s available apprenticeship programs leading to sustainable income, and some semblance of financial freedom. A new partnership between Wells Fargo and AJAC provides more than just manufacturing training to help students get closer to their goals.

Dwight J. Prevo, Vice President of Wells Fargo’s Community Relations West Region, spoke about the importance of learning financial literacy skills, especially for individuals starting new career paths. Prevo states, “As the majority of AJAC participants will start career opportunities that provide wages, providing financial education is a way to ensure that recipients of the instruction understand how money works, and how to effectively utilize money as a way to accomplish their short and long term objectives.”

 

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Local Wells Fargo team members use the Wells Fargo At WorkSM program to help AJAC apprentices establish healthy financial habits and achieve greater financial stability and success. The program also allows students to participate in financial health webinars and conversations with a phone banker on topics like budgeting, saving, or strengthening credit. Wells Fargo’s free, non-commercial Hands on Banking program is an additional resource with a bevy of interactive financial wellness courses. Students enrolled in MA will receive the one-hour training twice a month for the duration of the program and learn skills ranging from basic finance to managing more advanced financial resources. Zuleima Flores, a summer graduate from AJAC’s Kent Manufacturing Academy, explained the class “was a great time to reflect on pursuing a career and one day owning my own home.”

Lynn Strickland, Executive Director of AJAC, feels a responsibility for educators to take students future into consideration, “AJAC’s goal is to help people prepare for a prosperous future and through our partnership with Wells Fargo, students will now be more prepared to make healthy financial decisions on their pathway to apprenticeship.”

 

 

When you walk into AJAC’s Manufacturing Academy at South Seattle College-Georgetown Campus the first thing you’ll notice is the intimidating computer numerical controlled (CNC) and manual machines scattered around the classroom, the second thing you notice is a group of students operating these machines.

Geoff Coles-Lelievre guides one of his fellow students on a Sharpe VS 1640 Conventional Lathe, giving him little pieces of advice while still letting him take the reins on the operation. It’s hard to imagine that just eight weeks ago Coles-Lelievre had never operated a machine like this and now, is well on his way to a career in manufacturing.

Geoff is thriving in the program, making parts with precision, leading by example, and tutoring his classmates. Geoff explains that the reason for his success is the focused nature of the program, saying “Having a program that’s focus is to get you into an entry level position is different from my experiences at a traditional university. Traditionally, you have a lot of prerequisites that aren’t directly related to what your major is. Sometimes that distracts or gets in the way of what you want to do.”

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Geoff is self-described as “mechanically inclined” and has a background as an automotive technician. He has benefited greatly from the hands on approach the Manufacturing Academy provides, “Some people learn better by going in there and getting their hands dirty and doing things instead of being told how to do it.”

“There is so much material to cover over the ten weeks but there’s so many opportunities once you get out into the manufacturing field that the only way to go from here is up. There is just so many options after you get this training, it’s like ‘where do you want to go, you can work for anyone.’”

While the ten week program may seem brief, instructor Troy Ironmonger says the amount students learn makes the program invaluable for someone who wants to start a career in manufacturing. “We touch on blueprint reading, precision measuring, conventional and CNC machining, physics, electricity, hydraulics, pneumatics, we learn how to draw, we apply that to CNC machining and CNC laser cutting and by the end of ten weeks we are producing industrial maintenance technician students and machine operators.”

Geoff is set to graduate from the program in late August and hopes to take what he has learned to the advanced manufacturing industry, hopefully manufacturing parts for rockets and satellites, “this is a field where it’s easy to get a career and not just a job.”