Youth apprenticeship programs

AJAC's Youth Apprenticeship Programs

For High School Students

AJAC Youth Apprenticeship


Youth Apprenticeship transforms how education systems prepare young people to enter careers and launch into adulthood through mutually beneficial partnerships across schools, industry and communities.

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 create opportunities for youth apprentices to finish high school, start their post-secondary education at little-to-no cost, complete paid work experience alongside a mentor, and start along a path that broadens their options for the future.

Programs We Offer

Youth apprentice cnc machining

What is a Production Technician?

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. 

Production Technician Youth Apprenticeship
Youth apprentice operating robotic welder

What is an Automation Technician?

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.

Their duties require knowledge of electronics, mechanics, pneumatics and computers.

Automation Technician Youth Apprenticeship

Your Pathway to Youth Apprenticeship

AJAC has developed 3 pathways for prospective students interested in participating. These pathways provide flexibility to our school districts, students, and employers for different levels of engagement.

3 Steps to Becoming a Youth Apprentice
AJAC Automation technician bootcamp
Option 1: Bootcamp
Each July, AJAC will conduct a week-long virtual Youth Apprenticeship bootcamp to ensure our apprentices are prepared for classroom instruction and on-the-job training. Bootcamp will cover OSHA-10 safety, CPR/First-Aid certification, employment readiness training, industry knowledge, and apprenticeship exposure.
AJAC Classes for automation technician occupation
Option 2: AJAC Classes
Youth Apprentices will begin taking AJAC's apprenticeship classes in the fall at their school or skill center.
Option 3: Apprenticeship
Youth Apprentices will tour local manufacturing facilities, interview with AJAC's partnering employers, and if they are hired, they will begin logging their 2,000 on-the-job training hours. Simultaneously, apprentices will attend their high school classes full-time while finishing their three AJAC apprenticeship classes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Where Will I Work and How Much Will I Earn?

AJAC has partnered with 300+ advanced manufacturers to provide supervised and structured on-the-job training.

Youth Apprentices can only work for companies that agree to hire them.

Youth Apprentices will work 10-20 hours per week during the school year and full-time during the summer. Pay will vary by employer and number of hours worked.

Where Are Classes Held?

Classes will be held one day a week, either at a partnering high school, skill center, technical college or machine shop.

Depending on the school district, Youth Apprentices will take their classes either during the school day or after school.

During this time, apprentices will learn the theory behind the art of advanced manufacturing from the industry’s top instructors.

How Much Does the Program Cost?

AJAC’s Youth Apprenticeship is a no-cost program for qualified apprentices or employers.

What Does It Take To Succeed?

You should be detail-oriented, a problem-solver and capable of working independently and as part of a team. You should also have a good work ethic, basic math skills and an interest in working with your hands.

Will I Earn College Credits?

All Youth Apprentices have the opportunity to earn 15 tuition-free college credits from a local community or technical college once they are working and logging on-the-job training hours in a manufacturing facility. 

Why Apprenticeship and Advanced Manufacturing?

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

What is the Job Market in Advanced Manufacturing?

Over the next decade, nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will likely be needed across the United States. Locally here in Washington, there are 1,400 aerospace companies and over 6,500 manufacturers.

Is STEM Incorporated in Youth Apprenticeship?

Yes! STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) principles are integrated throughout the advanced manufacturing industry as well as AJAC’s college-level classes. Youth Apprentices will learn about metallurgy, advanced technology used in industry, engineering drawings and blueprints, and math for manufacturing.

Are You Apprenticeship-Ready?

Youth apprentice precision measuring

Get Started with Apprenticeship

Prior to enrolling in one of our programs, it’s important to know whether or not your high school and/or school district is partnering with AJAC.

School Partners for Youth Apprenticeship
Youth apprentice performing quality assurance

Minimum Qualifications

To launch your career as a Production Technician or Automation Technician, you will need to meet the minimum qualifications:

  • You must be a high school junior or senior enrolled in a school district AJAC has partnered with
  • A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0
  • Recommended by a teacher from a school AJAC has partnered with
  • Completed and passed Algebra Level 1
  • Must have transportation to and from work site
AJAC Youth Apprenticeship