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.”\
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.”
AJAC is thrilled to announce 10 new partnerships and grant funding we have received to help support local partners and workforce development initiatives to advance apprenticeships here in Washington State.
Seattle Jobs Initiative/JPMorgan Chase: In August 2018 AJAC began a new partnership with Seattle Jobs Initiative through funding from JPMorgan Chase to launch its CareerReady program for manufacturing. CareerReady is a collective impact initiative focused on expanding access for low-income South King County residents to jobs and careers in manufacturing. JPMC resources are enabling SJI to leverage its Basic Food Employment Training (BFET) dollars to connect South King County residents to pre-apprenticeship orientation and training at AJAC’s Kent Training Center, and to support these individuals through completion of AJAC’s Manufacturing Academy pre-apprenticeship and into next-step jobs and careers. SJI is contracting with Partners in Employment, TRAC Associates, Pioneer Industries and the Multi-Service Center to implement this work.
Wells Fargo: In Fall 2018, AJAC entered into a partnership with Wells Fargo to provide financial education to Manufacturing Academy participants. Wells Fargo volunteers from local branch offices attend MA classes in Kent, South Seattle College’s Georgetown Campus, and Bates Technical College one hour per week to provide these classes. In February 2019, Wells Fargo awarded a one-year $10,000 grant to support this work, specifically around expanding access to MA training in South King County for opportunity youth – young adults who are not currently in school or working, or are under-employed in a low-wage job.
Aspen Institute: In March 2019, AJAC was awarded a two-year $50,000 grant to expand access to MA and Youth Apprenticeship pathways for opportunity youth. The goal of the grant is to integrate high school completion strategies into AJAC’s pre-apprenticeship and youth apprenticeship pathways, and to connect at least 50 opportunity youth to these programs over the 2-year period. Learn more.
Generation Work/Annie E Casey Foundation: AJAC has partnered with Port Jobs, SkillUp Washington, ANEW, South Seattle College, the Roadmap Project, the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County and many others over the past 3 years to build stronger partnerships with the youth re-engagement community in South King County to build awareness and stronger connections to apprenticeship pathways for opportunity youth. Generation Work resources are helping support AJAC’s opportunity youth-focused recruitment efforts for Manufacturing Academy in Seattle and Kent. Seattle was one of 5 communities across the country to be awarded these funds. Learn more.
Kaiser Permanente: The Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County was awarded a three-year grant from Kaiser Permanente to work with AJAC, the Puget Sound Education Service District, the Roadmap Project, and many others to build stronger regional infrastructure to connect out-of-school youth to apprenticeship pathways in the manufacturing, construction and healthcare industries. The grant will support the WDC and the Puget Sound ESD to build a business plan that can help mobilize state Open Doors funding for out-of-school youth into pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship pathways, and braid various public and private funding required to support student persistence and completion. Learn more.
Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship (PAYA): AJAC partnered with the Construction Center of Excellence at Renton Technical College to successfully apply for a one-year grant from New America’s PAYA initiative, which seeks to expand registered youth apprenticeship pathways by building on existing programs and creating opportunities in new industries. The grant will support the creation of the King County Regional Youth Apprenticeship Consortium, which will focus on building regional capacity to grow this work while guiding state policy and practices and creating opportunity for scale and innovation with a focus on equity and access for youth. The award was one of nine grants awarded to partnerships across the country, out of a pool of over 220 applications from 49 states and Puerto Rico. Learn more.
City of Seattle Office of Economic Development: AJAC partnered with the Seattle Public Schools Skills Center and South Seattle College in a successful application to the City of Seattle for resources that will support AJAC youth apprentices at the Seattle Skills Center at Rainier Beach High School, and to promote CTE, pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship pathways to Seattle high school students. Learn more.
Cities of Auburn and Renton Human Services Departments: AJAC was awarded resources from the cities of Auburn and Renton to recruit city residents into AJAC’s Manufacturing Academy pre-apprenticeship programs in Kent and Seattle.
Goodwill of the Olympics and Rainier Regions: AJAC is beginning a new partnership with Goodwill of the Olympics and Rainier Regions to launch a new Manufacturing Academy at Goodwill’s Milgard Work Opportunity Center. The training will be available to low-income Tacoma residents attending class at the Milgard Work Opportunity Center, but will also be available via remote learning technology to Goodwill locations in Yakima and Longview. Learn more.
City of Kent: The City of Kent recently awarded AJAC a Lodging Tax Grant to support the 2019 Washington State Youth Apprenticeship Signing Day. The grant dollars will help support travel and lodging for youth apprentices and their families who are traveling to the event from Eastern and Central Washington.
Over the last year, the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee has partnered with the Northwest Automotive Service Association and Independent Technicians Automotive Committee (ITAC) to council and guide their new General Service Technician Youth Apprenticeship program.
Through this partnership, AJAC strategically advised ASA NW on how to develop their own apprenticeship committee (Independent Technician Automotive Committee) while meeting the state’s guidelines and variance’s for allowing youth to work at an independent automotive repair shop.
Additionally, AJAC was tasked to develop engaging marketing materials and messaging to excite the new generation of automotive technicians. Why did this industry feel a need to hire youth? The answer will not surprise you—there is a dire need for younger workers in the industry.
“It’s no surprise that our industry has experienced a shortage of skilled technicians,” said Butch Jobst, chair of the Independent Technician Automotive Committee. “ASA Northwest recognized the need for shops to have a system to onboard and train those that were interested in entering our industry. This program provides the much needed bridge between schools and the workplace.”
Washington State has a large number of industries that need the similar skill sets as Automotive Repair Technician causing a very competitive environment for that segment of the skilled workforce. Furthermore Washington State has many high school and college level automotive training programs that need a place to send their students. Due to the explosion of technology that has taken place in the last 20 years, the students that graduate need a program to help get them prepare for the workplace.
To learn more about the Independent Technicians Automotive Committee (ITAC) registered General Service Technician Youth Apprenticeship program, view their new brochure.
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/
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.
Seth Hamilton was nearing his 17th birthday and knew he wasn’t going to college. His after-high-school plans did not involve a four-year institution. Rising student loans and lack of finances steered Seth away from the popular choice of college and universities. As a junior at Lincoln High School, Seth enrolled in AJAC’s first Youth Apprenticeship program for high school students. One year later, Seth, along with Sean Colyer, another youth apprentice, are set to graduate and become Washington State’s first youth apprentice graduates this June.
During a visit from Governor Inslee in April, four of AJAC’s youth apprentices, along with their respective employers, toured the Governor around their shop floor highlighting the impact Youth Apprenticeship has made. “We started years ago trying to recruit younger people,” said Marianne Eveland, Production Manager at Quality Stamping & Machining. “This program allows the community to have extra help recruiting the right type of people.” A thorough vetting process designed by AJAC and local employers provided companies a platform to find the right candidates who have a focus on growing their skill set in manufacturing, whether it be machining, engineering, or fabrication.
During the recruitment process at all ten Tacoma public high schools, Hamilton showed a strong interest in manufacturing. Lincoln High School, known locally for its outstanding shop class, laid the foundation for his success at American Structures & Design. Although he worked with manual machines in high school, Hamilton soon developed a new-found-love for Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) machines, “Working on CNC machines is pretty intimate. It can be tedious at times, but you’re not doing the same thing every day. It has a lot of different things that can happen, different things you have to look for. It keeps the job interesting, it keeps your brain working.”
What else are we going to build and how else are we going to build this company? Knowing today, it’s going to be with the younger guys.” – Mark Weissenbuehler, President of American Structures & Design
Sean Colyer, another Lincoln High School graduate, works alongside Seth at American Structures & Design in the machining department. Unlike Seth, Sean did not take shop class during his time in high school. However, engineering class contributed to his success in AJAC’s Youth Apprenticeship program. “What I’ve enjoyed doing at American Structures & Design is mainly work on machines and have the ability to do more than just machining,” Colyer said. “Engineer Design in high school helped me with knowing how AutoCAD works, which all of our drawings are based off of. It’s nice having the background of how the drawings are made while I look at the blueprint.”
Employing high school students on the shop floor can do more than help a company’s bottom line and hiring needs. It brings an added excitement. It enriches the morale of the shop floor from entry-level employees to the very top.
Mark Weissenbuehler, President of American Structures & Design, noticed the enthusiasm youth apprentices bring to manufacturing, “As we got involved with the youth apprentices, and the younger generation, it was fun to watch them evolve, learn, and get excited. Which in return helped me learn and get excited,” Weissenbuehler said. “It filled the need for where my company is at and where we are going. What else are we going to build and how else are we going to build this company? Knowing today, it’s going to be with the younger guys.”
The trend across America for employing the next generation is changing. No longer does every student fit into the same mold as a four-year, college-bound student. Too many jobs and opportunities are being passed simply because the experience of working in manufacturing isn’t made available. Youth Apprenticeship has made local companies in Washington State find the diamond in the ruff. The diamond in this case is a determined, well-mannered, motivated, and technologically advanced high school student. Youth Apprenticeship doesn’t have to be for someone who will never go to a four-year college, but it can be for anyone who wants to connect real-world skills with their personal interests and aspirations.
Hamilton and Colyer are set to graduate on June 22nd as Production Technicians Youth Apprentices. The road to manufacturing has been paved, but their journey is far from over. After their requirements are met, Hamilton and Colyer will enroll in AJAC’s Machinist (Aircraft Oriented) apprenticeship program to continue their education and on-the-job training. But where would they be today if this opportunity didn’t exist?
“I hope as more and more people find out about this program, especially if they are younger in high school like I was, to seriously think about it. If you have a little experience, and you like it, you can start making money right away. Kick start your life rather than wait around for ten years, not knowing what to do,” Hamilton explained. “The fact I get paid to take college courses, is the exact opposite of what it normally is, it’s pretty cool, I like it a lot. But I honestly don’t know where I would be today.”
View photos from Governor Inslee’s visit on AJAC’s Flickr page.