Youth apprentice in machine shop

Youth Apprenticeship for Employers

Apprenticeship in the High School

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AJAC’s Production Technician (Youth) and Automation Technician (Youth) Apprenticeships are 2,000 hour programs designed for high school juniors and seniors to develop career-ready skills in the advanced manufacturing industries. These apprenticeship programs combine paid on-the-job training at an AJAC employer and college-level classroom instruction which can lead to a high school diploma and a journey-level card.

Youth apprentices at signing day

What Is Youth Apprenticeship?

Youth Apprenticeships are the ideal vehicle to teach young adults job-ready skills through mentorship while providing quality education and creating productive, lifelong learners.

  • Career-Oriented: Learning is structured around knowledge, skills, and competencies that lead to careers with family-supporting wages.
  • Equitable: Learning is accessible to every student, with targeted support for those adversely impacted by long-standing inequities in our education system and labor market.
  • Portable: Learning leads to postsecondary credentials and transferable college credit that expand options for students.
  • Adaptable: Learning is designed collaboratively to be recognized and valued across an industry or sector.
  • Accountable: Student, employer, and program outcomes are monitored using transparent metrics to support improvement.
Youth apprentice performing quality assurance

Benefits to Employers

Hiring a Youth Apprentice can bring your company many benefits including:

  • Apprenticeships build a pipeline of talent and generate a positive ROI
  • Young adults are tech savvy and eager to work with emerging technologies
  • Youth Apprentices will drive product and process innovation to new heights
  • Apprentices will boost a company’s productivity, retention and develop a committed workforce

The program pushed me to ask more questions because initially, I had a hard time asking questions or asking for help in certain areas. Knowing that I can do it, I became more confident in my abilities over time.

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Youth Apprentice

Raquel Taijito

Production Technician (Youth)

Tool Gauge

Automation Technician (Youth)

2 years | 2,000 hours

Automation Technician apprentice at Magic Metals

Program Overview

Automation technicians repair and maintain the computer-controlled systems and robotic devices used within industrial and commercial facilities to reduce human intervention and maximize efficiency.

Automation Technicians can work in a variety of fields such as food processing, aerospace, maritime manufacturing, biomedical manufacturing, defense, space, and packaging and assembly. Their duties require knowledge of electronics, mechanics, pneumatics and computers.

View Occupation Specifics
Youth apprentice precision measuring

On-the-Job Training Competencies

OJT CompetencyApprox. OJT Hours
Basic Machine Operation700
Installation of Production Machinery & Equipment100
Preventative Maintenance of Machinery & Equipment200
Repair of Production Machinery & Equipment200
Inspection, Troubleshooting, Customer Service & Bench Work800

Production Technician (Youth)

2 years | 2,000 hours

Youth apprentice manual machining

Program Overview

The job duties of a Production Technician is to set up, test, and adjust advanced manufacturing machinery or equipment; specifically manual and/or CNC mills and lathes.

Production Technicians will work hands-on interpreting technical drawings and operating mills/lathes to produce a finished product. 

View Occupation Specifics
Youth apprentice cleaning part

On-the-Job Training Competencies

OJT CompetencyApprox. OJT Hours
Production Machining Basics500
Production Set-Up & Operations250
Material Processing, Parts Finishing & Deburr250
Inspection, Assembly, Customer Service & Bench Work1,000
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Workplace Variance for Youth

Youth apprentices are allowed to work in prohibited occupations because they meet the criteria of “student learner”. A youth apprentice must meet all the following criteria:

  1. They are enrolled in a state approved youth apprenticeship program.
  2. They are enrolled in school and receive school credit for program participation.
  3. They receive appropriate safety instruction at the school and at the workplace.
  4. The work performed is under direct supervision of a qualified and experienced employee.
  5. The work performed in any work process that is declared hazardous is incidental to their training AND is for intermittent and short periods of time.
  6. There is a schedule of work processes to be performed on the job that may vary by employer.

Additionally, should you choose to participate in the Youth Apprenticeship Program, the same provisions apply for workers’ compensation coverage for the youth apprentice.

Schools We Partner With

AJAC currently offers the Production Technician (Youth) Apprenticeship Program at the following Washington State School Districts and/or High Schools:

  • West Valley School District
  • Sno-Isle Skills Center
  • Puyallup High School
  • Pierce County Skills Center
  • Renton School District
  • Cascadia Skills Center
  • Spokane Valley Tech

AJAC currently offers the Automation Technician (Youth) Apprenticeship Program at the following Washington State School Districts and/or High Schools:

  • Yakima Valley Tech
  • Columbia Basin Tech
  • Genie Industries
  • Emerald Ridge High School
  • East Valley High School 
  • Elma High School

Youth FAQs for Employers

What is the Cost and How Much Will I Pay Each Apprentice?

AJAC’s Youth Apprenticeship is a no-cost program for AJAC employers. Pay will vary by employer and number of hours worked. Employers must pay each apprentice at a minimum the minimum wage for Washington State. Employers can always elect to pay their apprentices above the minimum wage to stay competitive with other hiring employers. 

How Will the Apprentice’s Progress Be Tracked?

Progress of apprentices will be tracked by the mentor on a monthly or quarterly basis based on core competencies. This progress will be reviewed by program staff to ensure satisfactory performance on-the-job. AJAC has developed competency checklists for each Youth Apprenticeship occupation to ensure employers have a guideline for what to teach on the job. 

When Will the Apprentice Work?

Apprentices will take class one day a week for four hours. It is up to the employer and the student to work out an appropriate work schedule that adheres to L&I guidelines and school district schedule.

How Many Hours Can Each Apprentice Work?

During the school year, apprentices can work 10-20 hours per week. Summer hours can be expanded to full time.

Will This Training Articulate Into Other Apprenticeships?

Yes! AJAC’s youth apprenticeship program develops skills and core-competencies for apprentices to move into machining, programming, fabrication, industrial maintenance and machine operation.

What Are the Employer’s Responsibilities?
  • Identify key mentors in your company willing to offer assistance and guidance to youth as they pursue this apprenticeship program.
  • Employ youth in an entry-level position and allow them to work for 10 to 20 hours per week during the school year, and 40 hours a week during the summer.
  • Pay the apprentices a minimum wage or higher.
  • Ensure a safe work environment for the apprentice.
  • Conduct training as needed on-the-job to aid in student exposure in the industry.
  • Provide feedback on the youths’ performance on a quarterly basis, so we can support the youth and the employer as they progress in their training.

Get Started

Employers who have signed an AJAC Training Agent agreement or those who are interested in becoming an AJAC employer can participate. If you are interested in starting AJAC’s Youth Apprenticeship Program at your company, please contact us below.

Youth Apprenticeship Employers

We’re proud to partner with nearly 70 employers across Washington State to participate in AJAC’s Youth Apprenticeship programs. Here are the companies investing in the next generation of manufacturers:

Acro Machining Inc.
Aero Plastics Inc.
American Structures & Design
Auto Zone
Buyken Metal Products
Cadence Aerospace PMW Operations
Commerical Aircraft Interiors
Everett Engineering Inc.
Fatigue Technology
Joyson Safety Systems
IPL Macro
Magic Metals: Precision Metal Fabrication
New Tech Industries, Mukilteo, WA
Out of the Box Manufacturing
Peregrine Manufacturing
Pexco Aerospace
Sealect Plastics
AMT Senior Aerospace
SGL Carbon
Stoke Space Technologies
TSL: Thermoforming Systems LLC
Tool Gauge
Food processing apprentice employer
Polymer Industries
Agri Beef Food processing apprentice employer
Food processing apprentice employer
Work Force Development Center
Food processing apprentice employer
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Sierra Pacific Industries Logo
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