Why Apprenticeship Works

Across Washington State, aerospace and advanced manufacturing employers are struggling to find new employees to fill the shoes of those leaving the workforce in occupations such as machinist, aircraft mechanic, composite technician, etc. The Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC) created an aerospace and advanced manufacturing apprenticeship program to fill this skills gap and facilitate the direct transfer of knowledge from the master tradesperson to the entry level employee. A registered Apprenticeship program is a proven method of career-training built around a strong partnership between businesses, community/technical colleges, and the government. This three-way partnership encourages education, economic development and workforce development and is a financial benefit not only for the apprentice, but for the employer and Washington State. Registered Apprenticeships combine supervised on-the-job training (OJT) with related classroom instruction and is a cost effective way that enables the apprentice to get trained while they:

  • Earn a living wage and reinvest their earnings in their local economies
  • Receive health and other benefits from their employer and not through the State
  • Get an education and a sustainable career path
  • Are a part of the workforce solution for industry
Why apprenticeship works Education Workforce Economic Apprenticeship


Apprentice OJT and education

Education – Apprenticeships combine on-the-job training (OJT) with classroom instruction, allowing a student worker to earn a living wage while achieving continued growth in their occupation. Strategies have been developed to address the shortage of instructors and need for state of the art training facilities – reinforcing the connection to education. Those who engage in these programs can earn credit toward an Associate’s Degree, at half the cost, providing them with educational opportunities otherwise not available.

Economics = income

Economic Development – Apprentices earn a wage while they learn on the job. Every six months, as they continue to learn and perform more complex tasks proficiently, apprentices receive pay increases. With wages earned and continued pay increases, apprentices can spend their earnings in their communities, stimulating the economy, and providing relief to the State’s unemployment insurance pool and social services. Apprentices also receive health and other benefits from their employer and are no longer dependent on the State for those items. As a result of employed apprentices, the government receives over $13 in taxes for every dollar invested in registered apprenticeship and over $17 in total benefits for every dollar invested.* Source: “An Effectiveness Assessment and Cost-Benefit Analysis of Registered Apprenticeship in 10 States” Mathematica Policy Research, July 2012

Workforce development

Workforce Development – Apprenticeships are a cost-effective way for employers to train their employees. Businesses that participate in apprenticeship can make a powerful statement taking on apprentices and training the next generation of workforce. Employers have found many advantages to implementing an apprenticeship program at their company, such as increased productivity, loyalty and reliability. In Canada, for every $1 spent on apprenticeship training, an employer receives a benefit, on average, of $1.47 or a net return of $0.47. The revenue generated by an apprentice also far exceeds the total training costs to the employer.* Source: “Why it Pays to Hire an Apprentice,” Canadian Apprenticeship Forum, June 2009

Discover additional ways employers are receiving a Return on Investment with their employee training.

Apprenticeship works

Apprenticeship – Upon completion of an apprenticeship program, participants have higher annual earnings than those who do not participate. The estimated career earnings are an average of $240,037 more than similar nonparticipants.* Source: “An Effectiveness Assessment and Cost-Benefit Analysis of Registered Apprenticeship in 10 States” Mathematica Policy Research, July 2012


Registered apprenticeship is a cost-effective way to increase workforce training. The cost for State and Federal agencies to run apprenticeships is much less than traditional educational programs because employers assist in covering the cost of the education. The cost for employers is also low because they are paying their apprentice a lower wage than a journey-level worker while the apprentice learns on the job and still receives medical and other benefits. As the apprentice’s skills develop, their wages will increase, improving their ability to support their family and enrich the communities they live in. With increased earnings and benefits, the government receives higher tax payments and saves money because the apprentice is no longer relying on federal agencies for assistance. Through this vital connection between education, workforce development and economic development, we can build a highly skilled and educated workforce and keep the aerospace and manufacturing trades alive and thriving in Washington State.

To find out more about AJAC or start an AJAC apprenticeship program at your company, contact AJAC at: 206-764-7940 orinfo@ajactraining.org or online.

To find out how you can become an apprentice, visit AJAC’s Get Started Section.