Yakima Seeks New Manufacturers for High School Apprenticeship Program

Yakima, WA: West Valley School District and Yakima County Development Association are seeking new manufacturing companies to participate in the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee’s (AJAC) Youth Apprenticeship Program for 2018.

An invite-only business onboarding meeting will take place on March 6, 2018 to discuss how local manufacturers can select their apprentice, understand teen safety variances for operating equipment and machines, benefit from hiring a youth apprentice and develop a young adult into a productive, loyal employee. (Click here for details and to register)

West Valley High School launched the city’s first Youth Apprenticeship Program in 2017 with three companies, including CubCrafters, Pexco Aerospace, and Triumph Actuation Systems. Since then, the program is expected to grow to 10 apprentices requiring a larger investment from local employers.

Robert Detloff, Fabrication Plant Manager at CubCrafters explains the significance of having trained machinists on the shop floor, “Other companies can participate to invest in their community’s youth and add growing talent to their staff. The Youth Apprenticeship program has been an effective filter for drawing out skilled and capable younger adults.

Throughout the program, the youth apprentices, high school seniors, receive one-on-one mentorship while working at a local company, totaling 2,000 hours of on-the-job training. Simultaneously, each apprentice must complete three apprentice-level classes at West Valley High School (accredited through Yakima Valley College). Skills taught throughout the program include:

  • Precision machining
  • CNC set-up and operations
  • Engineering drawings
  • Shop math
  • Blueprint reading

Pexco Aerospace, the world leader for engineered polymers on commercial aircraft, joined the first cohort of Youth Apprentices last spring. Since then, their excitement to hire more youth is evident from the company’s President, Joe Glover, “Our apprentice showed up with an expected high level of enthusiasm and was hungry to learn and contribute. Our philosophy at Pexco is to link our employees with jobs that they are excited about it. We feel strongly that this is the same case with young adults that are starting their careers and we really saw a tremendous amount of personal growth with our apprentice during his time at Pexco.

Youth Apprenticeship is an unparalleled opportunity to expand the talent-rich area that rivals manufacturing hotbeds throughout the United States. AJAC’s Youth Apprenticeship Program is an investment to compete for the best talent by allowing local manufacturing companies to get a head start on getting the best that Yakima has to offer.

In return, employers will cultivate:

  • Quality machinists
  • Develop a committed workforce
  • Boost retention, and productivity rates

Reserve your seat to the March 6th meeting by contacting Chris Nesmith, Director of Career and Technical Education at West Valley School District. Learn more about Yakima’s Youth Apprenticeship Program online: http://www.ajactraining.org/youth/.

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