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.

  • Senior Aerospace - AMT
    Senior Aerospace - AMT
  • Cadence Aerospace
    Cadence Aerospace
  • Work Force Development Center
    Work Force Development Center
  • Tool Gauge
    Tool Gauge
  • UMBRA Group
    UMBRA Group

“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, FacebookInstagram, 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.

 

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.

Seth Hamilton, one of AJAC’s first Youth Apprentice graduates, prepares his HAAS CNC machine for a new part.

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.”

Sean Colyer shakes Governor Inslee’s hand after learning about Sean’s new role at American Structures & Design.

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.”

Sam Yost and Tanner Gerken, two Youth Apprentices at Quality Stamping & Machining, pose for a photo with Governor Jay Inslee.

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.

Governor Inslee delivered his annual State of the State Address to the Washington State Senate and the State House of Representatives on January 9, 2018.

During his speech, Governor Inslee spent a few minutes highlighting his Career Connected Learning initiative, his trip to Switzerland and AJAC’s inaugural Youth Apprenticeship program, “You can go to Tacoma and see for yourself how this works. It was a joy last year to celebrate our state’s first 15 registered youth apprentices as they prepared to launch rewarding careers in aerospace. Let’s expand that opportunity, as well as apprenticeship programs for our veterans and other Washingtonians, in the coming years,” Inslee said.

Since Tacoma launched its first Youth Apprenticeship program, AJAC has implemented similar programs at West Valley High School (Yakima), Snohomish High School and secured partnerships with Puyallup High School, Shadle Park High School (Spokane School District) , Sno-Isle Tech Skills Center, Everett School District and the Mukilteo School District – all whom expect to launch their AJAC in 2018.

Learn more about AJAC’s Youth Apprenticeship Program online.

A new report performance audit for Washington State emphasizes the state’s need to better align high-growth, high-demand occupations with career and technical education (CTE) courses currently offered in high school. The industries with a large skills gap include aerospace, manufacturing, human protective services, computer science and many more.

AJAC’s Youth Apprenticeship program is leading the charge to offer our state’s first registered apprenticeship program in the ever-evolving industries of aerospace and advanced manufacturing.

“The importance of youth apprenticeships was recently recognized by Governor Inslee: We ought to be strengthening and expanding pre-apprenticeship programs in our schools… youth apprenticeship leverages one of our state’s most effective workforce development investments, which is registered apprenticeships. The apprenticeship model is the gold standard of work-based learning.

In 2016, Washington was awarded a $2.7 million federal grant to help grow and diversify apprenticeships. The grant, overseen by L&I, focuses partly on youth and will allow the agency to improve tracking of youth apprenticeship growth and success. The Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC) is taking a leading role in expanding youth apprenticeships into the K-12 educational system.

As of July 2017, AJAC reports the following progress in secondary schools:

  • Tacoma Public Schools has 14 youth apprentices receiving full-time on-the-job-training (OJT) at local advanced manufacturing companies. As these students entered their second related supplemental instruction (RSI) class in fall 2017, the program began recruiting for a new class of youth apprentices.
  • West Valley School District has three youth apprentices receiving full-time OJT at local advanced manufacturing companies. Recruitment will continue as a selection of youth apprentices enter from the Core Plus program. The goal is to enroll 10-15 youth apprentices by fall 2017.
  • In addition, AJAC is exploring ways to expand their apprenticeship efforts with school districts in Everett, Puyallup, Snohomish and Sumner as well as the Sno-Isle Skills Center.”

To learn more about this report, including coverage from the Seattle Times, please visit the links below: