|Pacific Northwest Apprenticeship Education Conference; AJAC honored for Outstanding Apprenticeship Advocacy|
Governor Gregoire addressed the convention
For two days in May, apprenticeship program organizers, educators and industry folk convened beneath the soaring beams of the Tacoma Trade and Convention Center to celebrate, discuss, learn, and rally around apprenticeship programs throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Orchestrated by co-coordinators Heather Winfrey, Owner/Workforce Education & Apprentice Specialty Contractor, and Shana Peschek, Director/Construction Center of Excellence, and backed by government and industry sponsors including Washington State Department of Labor and Industries and AJAC, the conference was attended by over 400 apprenticeship advocates from around the greater Pacific Northwest.
Guest speakers, Tacoma mayor, Marilyn Strickland, and Governor Chris Gregoir-a long-standing supporter of apprenticeship-underscored the pressing need for cultivating apprenticeship programs and attending to the looming shortage of our industry workforce.
"The US lacks a good system (other than apprenticeship) for seamlessly integrating demands for occupational skills with training systems that build skills," stated Dr. Robert Lerman of The Urban Institute, Washington D.C.
As such, many attendees took notes from successful program examples from the City of Portland and Alaska State as well as from our neighbors to the north in British Columbia. Utilizing articulation agreements with high schools in programs such as Tech Prep, where students get dual credits for both high school and college, students get a head start by beginning an apprenticeship during their junior or senior year of high school.
Over the course of the conference, breakout sessions covering the entire spectrum of apprenticeship from "Partnerships and Recipes for Success" to "Innovative Registered Apprenticeships: Successfully Training Across Industries and Occupations" were hosted by expert panels from industry, government, support services and education (including our own AJAC Training Director, Laura Hopkins).
Sharon Ernst, a recent graduate of the AJAC Machining apprenticeship program and Bates Technical College, joined a panel of her peers for an enlightening session attended by the entire convention. 4
The panel of apprentices share their stories.
women and 2 men, including a veteran recently returned from active duty, sat before the audience and spoke about their journeys up to and through their apprenticeships. They represented all walks of life. Whether coming from the military, an Ivy League school, waitressing, or answering phones, there was a through-line of common themes. "Get the word out to students when they're younger; it may already be too late by the time they reach high school." "A college degree is not the only way to find the American Dream, or define success." "More women need to know about these jobs!" These topics incited a great deal of buzz around the tables as organizations continue to tackle these issues.
The conference closed on Thursday, May 20th, but before the flags bearers came to retire the colors many organizations and individuals were honored for their incomparable work in the field of apprenticeship, including AJAC's Training Director, Laura Hopkins, and Program Specialist, Andrea Anderson, for Outstanding Apprenticeship Advocacy.
Hopkins concluded, "Recognition helps add fuel to our campaign to reach all corners of the state with the message that the aerospace industry needs people. We will continue to build partnerships throughout Washington to encourage this growth. Our work with middle and high school students, with support organizations like Seattle and the Inland Light House for the Blind, and Veteran transition centers, are only first steps down our path to advocating for apprenticeships for the industry and state as a whole."
|Cantwell Urges Senate to Make Small Business Lending a Priority|
AJAC Training Director Laura Hopkins and Senator Maria Cantwell at Markey Machinery, June 2, 2010
Employees of South Seattle's Markey Machinery were all ears on June 2, 2010 when Senator Maria Cantwell (D) stepped up to the podium on the factory floor to address the slowly recovering economy and one of small business's biggest challenges: a limited access to credit.
Cantwell, surrounded by Markey Machinery employees and fellow guest speakers, appealed to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, urging him to back legislation in support of small business lending and stimulate hiring in Washington State.
This isn't the first time Senator Cantwell has spoken from the Markey Machinery floor. In the mid-90s, the Senator used their vacated South Horton Street factory in Seattle as the backdrop for a press conference addressing the decline of manufacturing in America.
In her June 2, 2010 letter to Leader Reid, Senator Cantwell urged the Leader to make President Obama's initiative to get capital flowing to small businesses a top priority. Based on Obama's proposal to create a $30 billion dollar small business lending fund, Cantwell asserted that "leveraging these public funds in a program aimed at community banks could generate as much as $300 billion in private-sector capital for small business loans. "
A supporter of Cantwell's plan, Glenn Deutsch, Chairman of the Board for Community Banks of WA & President/CEO of Prime Pacific Bank, spoke in support of her petition for more TARP money to be made available and enable small banks to offer more small business loans.
Laura Hopkins, Program Director for AJAC, took the stage for 3 minutes to implore legislators and employers to think of the apprenticeship path as a vital connection between education, workforce and economic development-a real and constructive means to help save our manufacturing industry, keep workers on the job, and maintain Washington's reputation for being the best place in the world to manufacture airplanes.
Other speakers at the event included Dan Morgan, Directing Business Representative with IAM Local 160; Art Wright, VP and Operations Manager, Williams & Associates, Inc.; and Bob LeCoque, Manufacturing Manager, Markey Machinery.
|Pizza Pop and Power Tools! in Spokane, WA|
Girls in hardhats at the AJAC booth at Pizza Pop and Power Tools, Spokane, WAIntrepid AJAC Outreach Specialist, Kevin Quinn, along with other representatives from Greater Spokane's construction and manufacturing industry, spent 2 days this May with over 500 high school girls at the annual Pizza Pop and Power Tools! event held at the Apprenticeship and Journeyman Training Center in Spokane.
Created to increase awareness around Career and Technical Education (CTE), Pizza Pop and Power Tools! gives high school girls a chance to visit with women in high skill, high wage careers and get their hands on the tools of the trade.
This is the second year AJAC has been invited to participate and provide students with a chance to touch and manipulate an aircraft engine and illustrate the many different occupations in the aerospace manufacturing industry.
According to Melinda Nichols, Apprenticeship Program Manager for Washington Labor and Industries, "Pizza, Pop and Power Tools demonstrates what can happen when an entire community unites behind a common goal; showing young women that their future options are unlimited! Over the last several years, this event has grown [into] one of the best recruitment events in the State of Washington. The enthusiasm of both the participants and programs is overwhelming. Labor and Industries is proud to be a partner of this event and we hope it continues for many years."
|Boeing and Washington State Colleges Seek to Line-Up Training with Skill Demands|
The question posed to statewide colleges and the Boeing Company at a June 10, 2010 meeting was this: "How might the colleges respond to the immediate and longer term declared needs of the Aerospace industry cluster for skilled entry-level workers?"
In the interest of forming an academic partnership, or at least starting down that path, college representatives met with members of Boeing's Aerospace Academic Alignment Team under the moderation of Mary Kaye Bredeson, Director of the Center of Excellence for Aerospace and Advanced Materials Manufacturing, and David Cunningham, Dean of Workforce and Continuing Education at Shoreline Community College.
The meeting convened with a discussion between the assembled faculty and deans targeting the ideal principles of a partnership with Boeing. Topping off the list were commitments to long-term and mutually beneficial relationships, transparency regarding skills requirements on the part of Boeing, and investment in potential students.
Boeing representatives, including Michael Greenwood, Senior Manager of Boeing Company's Aerospace Academic Alignment Team, joined the meeting shortly thereafter and were presented with the initial discussion outcomes and invited into the dialogue.
There are historical precedents in the Puget Sound Region that support partnerships between industry and local colleges. Dr. Richard Strand, Dean of the Business and Technology division at Olympic College, asserted that his school has had a tremendously satisfying 64-year partnership with Bremerton's Naval Shipyard, as well as a long-standing job placement history with the FAA. However, while the Navy provides the college with hiring numbers and wage rates and is in a position to guarantee jobs, discussion at the meeting pointed out that the Aerospace Industry-- being cyclical in nature--finds it more difficult to promise anything.
The Boeing company, historically tight-lipped about hiring projections, did go on to make important concessions to one of the colleges' primary requests by offering a glimpse at their company's Knowledge Skills Abilities (KSA's) which outline job requirements and core competencies at various pay levels.
They also offered the following statistics on their Puget Sound Employment:
- Approximately 24,000 hourly represented employees in the Puget Sound Region;
- 25% of these employees are over 50 years of age;
- 10% attrition rate.
Greenwood went on to express frustration over the immediate problems they have with entry-level workers:
- Training requirements are not being met;
- Low levels of proficiency;
- No clear alignment with local trainers.
Greenwood and his team agreed with the need to design, build, and execute a plan to ensure that specific local educational institutions have the curriculums and rigorous assessments in place to provide a pool of qualified candidates to support the aerospace industry hiring needs.
In the future, a crosswalk through the collective colleges' curriculums and Boeing's KSAs could provide an avenue to modularize programs and supply the appropriate number of graduates to industry, thus maximizing the benefit to all.
While this first meeting did jump back and forth with both sides of the table offering their requests, ultimately, it was the beginning of a positive and fruitful discussion forum. In looking forward, Greenwood expressed his desire for ongoing honest dialogue and to extending the invitation for other Tier One manufacturers to get involved in the meetings and better serve the industry at large. He also cited the need for a communication pipeline to ensure that the Academic Alignment Team is the main point of contact for educational institutions-opposed to the well-meaning managers who conduct periodic "fly-by's" of schools.
A partnership with Boeing can go a long way toward keeping Washington in the lead as the best in the world for Aerospace. If people look to us for inspiration and innovative program design while we train the best workforce--of which Boeing gets a share--it becomes a win-win situation.
The meeting was concluded with the promise by all parties to come together on a monthly basis to further expand on these and other objectives for partnership.
|Washington State Aircraft Mechanic Technician Schools and AJAC Continue to Work On a New Statewide Curriculum|
After a successful first round deep-dive into revamping the aircraft mechanics technician curriculums currently utilized in Washington, Laura Hopkins, Training Director for AJAC, reconvened the 5 community and technical colleges that offer Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) training for a second week-long intensive workshop to continue fine-tuning the new statewide curriculum package to bring before the FAA.
The first workshop, held in mid-April was attended by faculty from the 5 A&P schools; Industry; the Center for Excellence for Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing (COE); and the Center for Occupational Research and Development (CORD); and AJAC. During this initial meeting, the assembled faculty identified best practices, and marked the most critical elements of FAA requirements with the purpose of establishing agreement over core classes and modules.
The Fighting 147s came together again in June--this time with additional industry reps holding a vested interest in training--to hash out details around credits, degrees (AAs vs. Certificates), transferability, and school specialties. In a noteworthy moment, Industry advised participants of the much needed emphasis on emerging technology along with safety and environmental factors. These and other suggestions helped to fill out the overall course design.
The final curriculum is expected to be delivered to the FAA in August 2010, though it is expected to go through a number of incarnations before the FAA gives the nod. Implementation of the curriculum is dependant upon the length of the FAA approval process.
to read the corresponding full length article in the Washington Department of Commerce's recent Washington Aerospace Quarterly Bulletin (See Pgs 7-8).
|AJAC Events Calendar |
|July 14, 2010
Women of Courage: WASPS (World War II Women's Air Force Service Pilots)
Bird Aviation Museum and Invention Center and Event Informationwww.birdaviationmuseum.com
July 27, 2010
Washington Aerospace Council Quarterly Meeting
SeaTac Airport, Seattle, WA
September 29, 2010
Spanaway Lake High School College and Career Fair
1305 168th St. E. Spanaway, WA 98387
For more information contact: Trisha T. Pak, 253-683-5675, e-mail email@example.com
September 4-5, 2010
Develop, implement and maintain thriving aerospace apprenticeship programs for the purpose of creating a pool of highly skilled aerospace workers and connecting employers and work seekers of Washington State.
Our goals include but are not limited to:
· Articulate with industry certification and college degrees when possible;
· Determine program location and occupations based on industry needs;
· Develop and maintain long term sustainable funding structures;
· Utilize innovative training and technology;
· Create efficient and effective training systems that evolve with the needs of the industry;
· Measure results;
· Increase diversity of the workforce;
· Be an integral part of Washington State's workforce development;
· Internally promote a thriving, respectful, and collaborative work environment.