Sponsor Spotlight: AJAC

AJAC Partners with Spokane Educators and Industry Leaders to Create Aerospace Workshop for High School Students

The Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC) and several other Spokane educators and industry leaders created a three-week aerospace workshop for Spokane area high school students to learn about careers in aviation maintenance, flight operations and air traffic control. The goal of this program is to increase awareness of careers in the aerospace industry and interest in pursuing those careers. This inaugural workshop took place June 20 to July 8 at Spokane Community College’s Felts Field facility with side trips to the Spokane International Airport for flight simulation, weather and ground school instruction and some actual flight time. In addition to learning how an airplane flies, students were also taught how an airplane is built. Students participated in nine aviation maintenance classes where they learned how to rivet and drill sheet metal, work with composite materials, build airframes out of wood, construct boxes out of metal, etc.

This program was spearheaded by Trina Miller, MPA, Director of Workforce Development and Tech Prep at the Community Colleges of Spokane and Carol Weigand, Aerospace Coordinator at Spoke Community College.

Kevin Quinn, AJAC’s Lead Program Developer for Employer Outreach in Eastern Washington, participated in several monthly and weekly planning meetings in order to define the workshop’s agenda and coordinate logistics. During the workshop, Quinn spoke to students about career opportunities available in the aerospace trades, such as machining and airframe mechanics, and how apprenticeship is a pathway to those careers. According to Quinn, several participants were very interested in what the trades and apprenticeship could offer them and were not even aware apprenticeship existed before this workshop.

Quinn believes the workshop’s accomplishments were many. While it gave students hands-on, real-life experiences, it also made students aware of and excited about the variety of local aerospace career opportunities. In addition, it served as an avenue for AJAC to carry out its commitment to outreach to young people regarding the many career options apprenticeship can offer in the aerospace trades.

Quinn said, “This was a great opportunity for these young participants to explore career options in Aerospace. Some came to learn more about occupations they wanted to pursue. Some had no idea that these jobs even existed. None of them knew we had an apprenticeship program for machinists, right here in Spokane. All of them had a great time and it was a wonderful experience to spend time with them and tell them about apprenticeship opportunities. Of course, they loved the aero-props.”

The Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee – known as AJAC, is striving to keep the aerospace industry alive and thriving by creating the next generation of tradespeople – from machinists to aircraft mechanics to composite manufacturing specialists and more! AJAC is creating this next generation by developing and implementing education and training programs, called apprenticeship. Apprentices are given the opportunity to learn their chosen trade and earn national certification. In an apprenticeship program, they receive on-the-job training and classroom instruction and earn competitive pay and credits towards an associate’s degree. To find out more about AJAC, please visit: www.ajactraining.org