For Employers

What Are Advanced Manufacturing Apprenticeships?

Apprenticeship combines supervised on-the-job training experience with college-level classroom instruction, giving employers a proven method to capture the knowledge and skills of their most experienced workers and pass it on to the next generation of productive employees.

Apprenticeship ensures employers have a multi-skilled employee who is fully competent in all aspects of their occupation. Through an apprenticeship program with AJAC, 93% of the education takes place as paid on-the-job training (OJT) where the apprentice is supervised by a journey-level employee from their workplace. During the other 7% of the apprenticeship, apprentices attend related college classroom instruction online or in one of our several locations to learn the theory and application behind what they are learning on the job.

During the on-the-job training portion (93%), the apprentice: 

  • Is trained by a supervisor/mentor to learn the skills of the occupation.
  • Learns and practices progressively challenging tasks of the occupation.
  • Rotates throughout the production floor to gain training on the production process and exposure to a variety of assorted skills and machines.

During the classroom instruction portion (7%), the apprentice: 

  • Attends class, usually one night per week, studying theory and practical application, taught by journey-level teachers.
  • Uses the classroom work to prepare for more difficult tasks on the job.
How Do I Enroll into an AJAC Apprenticeship?

The apprentice, employer, and AJAC will sign an agreement that specifies:

  • Length of training
  • Related technical instruction
  • Outline of the skills of the occupation to be learned
  • Wages the apprentice will be paid

The completed agreement is registered with the WA State Department of Labor & Industries.

After successfully passing the classes, and on-the-job training, the apprentice will graduate and receive their Journey-Level Certificate.

How Does Apprenticeship Work?

Registered apprenticeship programs start with the formation of an apprenticeship committee composed of industry leaders, experts, and employee representatives. AJAC is the committee for these apprenticeship programs and is officially registered with Washington State.

AJAC develops program guidelines that include:

  • Criteria for becoming an advanced manufacturing apprentice
  • Skill and proficiency requirements to reach journey worker status
  • Wage rates and progressions based upon demonstrated competencies
  • Required course curriculum to complement on-the-job training
  • Supervision methods
  • Equal opportunity procedures
Apprenticeship Basics

Apprenticeships are made up of the following components:

Structured and Supervised Training:

  • Apprenticeships provide on-the-job training under the direction of a mentor
  • Related classroom instruction
  • Length of apprenticeship program varies by occupation (one to five years)

Laws and regulations:

  • Registered apprenticeships are governed by federal and state laws
  • Parties enter into a written apprenticeship registration agreement
  • Apprentices earn wages during the term of their apprenticeship
  • Wages are a portion of the skilled wage rate and increase throughout the occupational training program in accordance with a predetermined wage scale


  • Successful completion of a registered apprenticeship program leads to a nationally recognized certificate of completion and official journey worker status
  • It is sometimes possible for the program to be designed so apprentices receive college credit and/or a degree for their on-the-job training time in the program


  • Apprentices manage their time, keep work records, and attend classes and progress in their apprenticeship program. Apprentices may also be required to pay for tuition or books.
  • Employers pay wages, oversee on-the-job training, monitor attendance at training classes and evaluate progress.


  • The primary cost to starting an apprenticeship program is time and effort. There is no direct fee to participate in an AJAC apprenticeship.
What Certification Does the Apprentice Receive at the End of the Program?

The Journey-Level Certificate

A Journey-Level Certificate certifies that an individual has been trained in all aspects of an occupation and has met the requirements for program completion. This certificate:

  • Is recognized industry-wide as a valid indicator of high quality, standardized training
  • Provides documentation for community college credit for on-the-job training
How Are AJAC’s Apprenticeship Program Unique?

AJAC is a non-profit organization that is able to provide apprenticeship to both union and non-union employers. Our apprenticeship programs are employer driven, and provide 21st century learning opportunities to our students. AJAC provides program management at no cost to our employers.

What Is the ROI on an Apprenticeship Program?

Through a recent study, AJAC employers expressed the various ways apprenticeship has provided their company with a return-on-investment. Hear from local manufacturing employers on why they continue to offer apprenticeships at their job site.

Who Can Participate in AJAC Apprenticeship Programs?

AJAC’s apprenticeship programs are available to any Washington, Oregon, and Idaho company in the advanced manufacturing industry, and its suppliers. AJAC can serve union and non-union shops.

What Is the Pay Structure for the Apprentice?

AJAC apprentices start out earning 60%-75% of the Journey-Level wage rate established by their employer. About every six months, the apprentice will receive a wage increase if they are completing on-the-job training hours and passing their classes.

Is There Funding Available to a Company for Training?

Yes. Employers seeking to hire apprentices can utilize numerous sources for locating financial and tax incentives. AJAC continually seeks out grants for employer incentives to make it easier to begin an apprenticeship program. To learn more about possible funding avenues and incentives to enroll apprentices, please contact us.

What Are the Responsibilities of an Employer?
  1. Become a Training Agent by signing the AJAC agreement form.
  2. Grant equal treatment and training opportunities for all apprentices and apply those conditions uniformly.
  3. Have equipment available and rotate apprentices in the various processes of the skilled occupation.
  4. Determine tuition reimbursement policy for apprentices if applicable.
  5. Identify (or hire) employees to train in apprenticeship program.
  6. Identify a Master Tradesperson to mentor apprentice(s) and maintain the appropriate 1:1 ratio.
  7. Oversee apprentice’s on-the-job training and monitor attendance at related training classes.
  8. Periodically review and evaluate apprentices before advancement to the apprentice’s next wage progression.
  9. Pay your apprentice(s) the percentage of Journey-Level wage rate for hours worked.
  10. Commits to retain employee for duration of apprenticeship.
  11. Recommends “Award of Completion” certificate when an apprentice has satisfactorily completed the required course work and on-the-job training.
What Are the Responsibilities of an Apprentice?
  • Be at least 17 years of age
  • Be a high school graduate, have a GED* or are working toward a GED with proof of successful completion of the GED within 6 months of entering the apprenticeship
    • *In lieu of a diploma or GED, apprentices will take an assessment test and must show minimum scores in Math and English competencies
  • Ability to perform the physical requirements of the occupation
  • Sign an Apprenticeship Agreement with AJAC and abide by the Standards of Apprenticeship
  • Pay tuition at 50% reduced rate (depending on company reimbursement policy)
  • Commit to the program for its full duration
  • Work the required hours while receiving on-the-job training
  • Demonstrate progress on the job
  • Submit monthly work progress reports
  • Attend and complete the required supplemental training which is typically held off work hours
  • Agree to and follow their employer’s requirements as well as the requirements put forth by the AJAC committee
What are the Responsibilities of AJAC?

AJAC’s responsibilities include:

  • Committee is comprised of equal management and non-management (worker) representatives
  • Determines the ability of an employer to furnish proper on-the-job training in accordance with the provisions of the Standards
  • Grants equal treatment and training opportunities for all apprentices and applies those conditions uniformly
  • Develops and maintains related training agreements with appropriate training institutions
  • Advocates for advanced manufacturing training in Washington State
  • Recruits instructors to teach the classroom training
  • Reports apprentice OJT and college course progress and status to L&I Apprenticeship Section
  • Tracks apprentice OJT and college course hours
  • Representation and accountability to the WSATC and L&I Apprenticeship Section
  • L&I Apprenticeship Section compliance reviews, including EEO guidelines and Fair Labor Standards
What Are the Responsibilities of the Schools?

The community colleges and other training facilities are responsible for offering related coursework to apprentices receiving on-the-job training.

Schools and community colleges provide opportunities to earn credit for completed academic courses and on-the-job training.

What Are the Responsibilities of Labor & Industries?

The Washington State Labor & Industries Division apprenticeship consultant facilitates cooperation among employers, workers and schools. An apprenticeship consultant:

  • Helps the committee design training programs to meet an industry´s specific need
  • Advises committees on standards and curricula used elsewhere in the state and nation
  • Provides information on statewide employment needs and trends
  • Works with committees to ensure compliance with state and federal regulations and the requirements of the state Apprenticeship Council
  • Assists in updating standards to maintain state-of-the-art training
Can a Company Lay Off an Apprentice If Needed?

Yes. An apprentice is just like any other hired employee. If an employer needs to reduce their workforce, they may lay off an apprentice. AJAC asks that employers notify us if they lay off or terminate an apprentice. If the apprentice falls behind in their ideal progression in the program, the employer may work with AJAC with a short break-in-training and establish a plan to get them caught up.

AJAC will assist a laid off apprentice and connect them to other apprenticeship opportunities in their area.

How Much Control Does an Employer Have In Selecting Apprentices?

Each company selects their own apprentices to go into the program.

Would These Apprentices Be Doing All of Their Training at Their Employer’s Facility?

Yes. Apprentices log their OJT hours with the company in which they are employed.

What Are the Costs of an AJAC Apprenticeship Program?

AJAC provides apprenticeship program management at no cost to our partnering employers. The only cost to an employer is the wage of their apprentices.

Each apprentice is responsible for tuition, textbooks, and materials required for each quarter. Many partnering employers pay some or all of the tuition (50% reduced) for AJAC classes.

What Services/Support Does AJAC Provide to Apprentices?

Apprentices receive CPR/First Aid certification, assistance registering for classes, help connecting graduating apprentices with colleges to finish their degree and other services made available through the colleges they attend. AJAC also sources financial aid grants to help support apprentices in the program.

How Do Employers Meet the Local and Federal Regulations to Participate in Registered Apprenticeship?

AJAC is a Washington State registered apprenticeship program. Each company will meet with an AJAC Regional Program Manager to determine Washington and Federal regulations regarding apprenticeships.