Youth Apprentices

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 aerospace and 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, journey-level card and short-term college certificate.

AJAC Youth Apprentice | Work Force Development Center

The job duties of a Production Technician is to set-up, test, and adjust advanced manufacturing machinery or equipment, using a combination of electrical, electronic, mechanic, hydraulic, pneumatic, or computer technologies. Production Technicians will work hands-on with computer aided design (CAD), analytical and scientific software.

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.

AJAC has partnered with over 250 advanced manufacturers to provide supervised and structured on-the-job training. Youth Apprentices can only work for companies that agree to hire them. Prior to enrollment, AJAC will help schedule interviews for employers to hire the Youth Apprentices. 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.

Classes will be held one day a week, either at a partnering high school, skill center, technical college or machine shop. During this time, apprentices will learn the theory behind the art of advanced manufacturing from the industry’s top instructors.

Here are the approximate on-the-job training competencies each Production Technician Youth Apprentice will go through during their apprenticeship. Please note, hours vary by company.

OJT Competency

Approximate OJT Hours

Machining Basics

500

CNC Machining

300

Machine Set-Up Procedures

200

Inspection

200

Bench Work

300

(MISC) Tool Crib, Shop Maintenance, CNC Programming and Operation, and Assembly 

500

TOTAL HOURS

2,000

AJAC has identified specific apprenticeship classes for school districts to utilize for the Production Technician and Automation Technician Youth Apprenticeship programs. Each school that participates must choose three of the four options to implement for either program.

Production Technician Apprenticeship Classes:

  • Precision Machining 1: Fundamental manual machining skills and knowledge to include topics such as job plans, drawings, tolerances, engineering specifications and use of manual tools.
  • Precision Machining 2: Intro to precision machining with a focus on basic, manual machining techniques including speeds and feeds, milling machine/drill press and lathes.
  • Engineering Drawings: Interpretation and application of technical drawings.
  • CNC Set-Up & Operation: Intro to computer numerical control (CNC) focuses on basic G&M programming, reading G&M code with a special emphasis on CNC equipment theory, functions and processes.

Automation Technician Apprenticeship Classes:

  • Technical Drawings: Learn to read and interpret engineering drawings and schematics, as well as practice basic drafting. Drawings studied in this class will come both from the text and from industry, and will include machining, fabrication, assemblies, and fluid power systems.
  • Maintenance Welding: Explore theory and practice for cutting processes such as oxyfuel cutting, plasma cutting, and ironworker operation. Apprentices will practice welding techniques using the following processes: GMAW (MIG welding), SMAW (stick welding), and OAW.
  • Mechanical Systems: Learn to maintain all of the elements of a mechanical system.  Apprentices will begin by exploring mechanical fundamentals such energy, mechanical forces, and simple machines. Apprentices will learn to troubleshoot, assemble, and maintain couplings, gears, pulleys, chains, sprockets, and brakes.
  • Fluid Power Systems: Apprentices will explore the fundamentals of fluid power systems, including structures and components, operation, safety, as well as interpreting related standards, symbols, and diagrams.  Hydraulic fluid types, properties, handling, and maintenance topics will be covered.

Prior to enrolling in one of our programs, it’s important to know whether or not your high school and/or school district has partnered with AJAC. Not too sure? Here are the schools currently using our Youth Apprenticeship program.

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
  • Application Deadline for the 2019-2020 school year is April 1, 2019. 

If you have met the minimum qualifications, you can apply via our online application.

Prior to the start of each cohort, AJAC and potential Youth Apprentices will have a designated day to be interviewed by AJAC’s partnering employers. Employment and enrollment in Youth Apprenticeship Program is solely determined by the hiring employer.

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

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.

Yes! All Youth Apprentices will earn 15 tuition-free college credits from a local community or technical college.

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

Apprentices earn on average $300,000 more over their career than non-apprentices
3.5 million manufacturing jobs will likely be needed in the next decade
Manufacturers in WA earned $87,756 per year with no college debt
Washington is home to the largest cluster of aerospace companies in the world
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) principles are integrated throughout advanced manufacturing