July 19, 2024 1:38 pm

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New program offers no-cost training in aerospace and manufacturing careers

SNOHOMISH COUNTY—Snohomish County, home to nearly 85,000 manufacturing jobs, faces a critical challenge: a shortage of skilled workers to fill crucial entry-level positions. Responding to this pressing need, AJAC (Advanced Manufacturing Apprenticeships) has joined forces with Snohomish County and Bridgeways to introduce an innovative initiative—a 10-week training program designed to equip adults aged 18 and above with foundational manufacturing skills at zero cost, commencing July 2nd at Bridgeways’ manufacturing facility in Everett, Washington. The new program is funded by Snohomish County’s federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) allocation.


The Manufacturing Academy, developed by AJAC, delves into essential technical skill development encompassing shop math, blueprint reading, and precision measurement. Moreover, participants will have the opportunity to earn industry-recognized certifications in forklift operation, OSHA-10 safety training, CPR/First-Aid, and lean manufacturing methodologies, enriching their professional portfolios and bolstering their employability.

AJAC’s extensive network of 62 Snohomish County manufacturing employers will play a pivotal role in bridging the gap between classroom learning and practical application. Through strategic collaborations, students will be seamlessly connected with career opportunities within the aerospace and advanced manufacturing industries, thus catalyzing economic growth while nurturing a skilled workforce.

Demetria “Lynn” Strickland

Demetria “Lynn” Strickland, Executive Director at AJAC, expressed enthusiasm about the program’s potential impact, “Our employer members are thrilled to have a new pipeline of talent coming straight from their local community directly to the shop floor. Connecting job seekers to these structured training opportunities not only creates and sustains a pipeline of workers for the manufacturing industry but also provides individuals with industry certifications and the opportunity to access family-wage jobs within the county’s robust aerospace and advanced manufacturing industries.”

“Snohomish County is committed to connecting community members with high-paying, rewarding, and sustainable local jobs as we continue to build a gold-standard workforce and grow our economy,” said Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers. “The Manufacturing Academy is a great opportunity for county residents to get the foundational skills needed to access in-demand careers in aerospace and manufacturing. I’m grateful to our partners at AJAC and Bridgeways for their commitment to bringing this innovative new program to life.”

Cory Dennis

Jamco America, an Everett-based aircraft interiors company has hired Manufacturing Academy graduates in the past with hopes this new training program will grow their development pipeline of skilled workers, “With an increase over the past few years of exiting skillsets and talent within the aerospace industry, our relationship with AJAC has proven resourceful in helping to fill several positions of need at critical times,” said Cory Dennis, Senior Manager of Machine Operations. “Hired participants of the program have brought more knowledge upfront to entry level positions, thus speed lining the process of integrating them into production faster while continuing that growth within our company. The opportunity to take what they have learnt within the program, utilize those skills in real life company settings, then inquisitively seek out other opportunities to showcase is tremendously helpful.”

Upon successful completion of the program, participants will emerge equipped with 10 weeks of intensive classroom training and a suite of industry-recognized certifications, positioning them for lucrative careers in advanced manufacturing—a testament to the program’s efficacy in empowering individuals and fortifying the region’s industrial landscape.

About AJAC & Manufacturing Academy

AJAC, established in 2008, upskills the advanced manufacturing workforce through registered apprenticeships. Partnering with 325 companies and serving over 400 apprentices annually across Washington State, AJAC offers 12 apprenticeship programs for high school students and adults. In 2011, AJAC launched the state’s first advanced manufacturing pre-apprenticeship program, the Manufacturing Academy, now available in Tacoma, Seattle, Yakima, and Everett.

SOURCE: AJAC press release

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