AJAC's industry experience

Our Industry Experience

Our Industry Experience

Industries We Work With

When AJAC launched in 2008, our organization was tasked with building comprehensive apprenticeship pathways for Washington State manufacturers. In our first 10 years, AJAC focused on serving aerospace employers and those occupations specific to that sub-industry.

Today, AJAC’s footprint is statewide, serving multiple advanced manufacturing sub-sectors representing a broader diversity of employers, ranging from space exploration to food processing.

Aerospace Manufacturing

Aerospace manufacturing has been the backbone to our organization since it launched in 2008. Washington State represents more than 1,300 aerospace companies, employing more than 250,000 workers who design, fabricate, machine, and assemble millions of unique parts for private, commercial, and military aircrafts. For nearly two decades, a “silver tsunami” of retirements has forced companies to rethink their workforce development strategy, including the adoption of registered apprenticeship programs such as AJAC.

Senior Aerospace—AMT in Arlington, Washington utilizes AJAC’s machinist and production technician apprenticeship programs to manufacture high-quality, complex OEM’s parts including the engine pylon, interior components, struts, wheel well, and wing box. AJAC’s apprentices work can be found on the industry’s most popular aircraft including Bombardier Regional Jets, Gulfstream Business Jets, and the Boeing 737, 777, and Dreamliner.

AJAC has developed the following registered training programs to provide aerospace manufacturing employers with a proven method of transferring knowledge:


Food Processing

Agriculture and food processing provide over 164,000 jobs in Washington State including 36,000 farms producing over 3,000 different agricultural commodities. Over the next 10 years, hundreds of food-processing employees across Washington State will transition to upper level positions within the company, many requiring skill advancement.

As a major new initiative funded by Career Connect Washington in 2019, AJAC partnered with both Workforce Development Councils in Central Washington to grow our capacity for serving food and beverage manufacturing. Through community partnerships and employer engagement, this initiative resulted in the diversification of relevant apprenticeship programs that met the needs of regional employers who produce a variety of products such as beef, apples, hops, and seafood.

From ranch to table, Washington Beef is the largest exporter of high-grade beef in the state.

In 2019, Washington Beef became AJAC’s largest employer after enrolling 21 adults in AJAC’s four-year Industrial Maintenance Technician apprenticeship program. Washington Beef’s apprentices work on a variety of tasks from servicing the company’s fleet of vehicles, to performing preventative maintenance on the proprietary equipment used in food processing.

AJAC has developed the following registered training programs to equip food processing manufacturers with a proven method of transferring knowledge:

Space Exploration

Once dubbed The Silicon Valley of Space, Washington State has played an integral role in space exploration dating back to the 1960’s with the involvement of the Boeing Company’s Apollo Lunar Program. Today, our region is blanketed with commercial and private space companies manufacturing rockets, satellites, engines, and propulsion systems used for a variety of spaceflight programs.

These products require a highly-skilled workforce trained in computer numerically controlled programming, complex machining with high tolerances, and tool making–all individual skill sets which AJAC provides structured training for and are transferable between aerospace and space exploration.

The local space industry employs over 6,200 workers and generates a staggering $1.76 billion in economic activity in Washington communities. In Kent, Washington, Blue Origin machinist apprentices manufacture and develop technologies for reusable rockets using manual lathe and milling techniques.

In Mukilteo, Washington, apprentices at Electroimpact manufacture satellite fixtures, containers, trailers, and rocket assembly systems using state-of-the-art five-axis CNC milling and turning machines for repeatability, accuracy, and efficiency.

AJAC has developed the following registered training programs to equip space exploration manufacturers with a proven method of transferring knowledge:

Maritime Manufacturing

Washington’s maritime industry has been a global gateway for ship building, recreational fishing, and food processing for over a century. Our region’s maritime manufacturing workforce includes 2,300 companies employing nearly 70,000 workers including skilled machinists, fabricators, maintenance technicians and plastic process technicians.

AJAC works with a number of companies directly contributing to the $30 billion in economic activity stimulated by the maritime industry. Machinists use mills and lathes to service, repair, and manufacture commercial marine propellers used around the world. Tool & Die Makers and Plastic Process Technicians utilize injection molding, tooling, and rapid prototyping to manufacture recreational boat equipment including rudders, rod holders, cleats, deck plates, and tach covers.

AJAC has developed the following registered training programs to equip maritime manufacturers with a proven method of transferring knowledge:

Plastics Manufacturing

Across the United States, there is a shortage of skilled mold makers, maintenance technicians, and tool makers directly affecting the thousands of open positions within the plastics manufacturing industry. Nationally, Washington State is ranked 22nd in plastics industry employment—employing nearly 15,000 individuals across the state.

Plastics manufacturing plays a vital role in our global economy creating products we use every day from outdoor recreational equipment to the interiors of commercial aircraft.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Tool & Die Makers at SEA-LECT Plastics in Everett, Washington worked directly with engineers to make custom injection-molded face masks for first responders and healthcare workers. AJAC’s apprentices used a variety of manual and CNC equipment to develop molds that could be used to mass-manufacture face masks across the United States.

AJAC has developed the following registered training programs to equip the local plastics industry with a proven method of transferring knowledge:

Machinery Manufacturing

Across the United States, over 23,000 companies contribute to the machinery manufacturing sector—a $360 billion dollar national industry. Locally here in Washington State, AJAC works with dozens of companies forging, stamping, bending, forming, and machining pieces of metal to make their products come to life.

Rankin Equipment in Central Washington utilizes AJAC’s Automation Technician apprenticeship to manufacture specialized tractor attachments for backhoes, skid steer loaders, and ATV. In Kent, Washington, the OMAX Corporation enrolls their employees into AJAC’s Machinist apprenticeship program to engineer, manufacture, and test abrasive waterjet machines used to create high-tolerance, complex machined parts.

AJAC has developed the following registered training programs to equip the local plastics industry with a proven method of transferring knowledge:

Wood & Paper

The Pacific Northwest’s vibrant forest products industry provides economic viability to our region by utilizing our natural resources and ensuring sustainable forestry practices to meet essential manufacturing needs. There are well over 1,500 forest products manufacturing facilities in Washington State supporting 102,000 workers and generating $5.6 billion in wages annually—making this is the third largest manufacturing sector in the state.

Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) in Shelton, Washington became one of the first employers in Grays Harbor County to participate in AJAC’s Youth Apprenticeship program through Elma High School. SPI’s products can be found in lumber yards and building sites throughout North America and in Washington, AJAC’s apprentices are contributing to the company’s machining, welding, engineering, and maintenance needs for structural projects and consumables.

In SPI’s Fabrication Department, apprentices weld and fabricate parts for their lumber manufacturing facilities throughout WA, OR, and CA. They also utilize the skills they have learned either at school or on their own time to help design and prototype the next generation manufacturing equipment.

AJAC has developed the following registered training programs to equip the local wood and paper industry with a proven method of transferring knowledge: