Graduation day for apprentice aerospace workers

The Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC) is holding a graduation ceremony Friday evening for 21 students who have finished four-year apprenticeships to become aircraft machinists.

The graduates will get nationally recognized journey-level certificates for finishing the program. They performed 8,000 hours of supervised on-the-job training and completed high-level coursework to qualify.

They work for 10 aerospace and advanced manufacturing companies in Washington, according to an AJAC news release.

AJAC is state funded and was created in 2008 to improve training and education related to aerospace manufacturing, a major element of Washington’s economy.

It works with private partners ranging from Boeing to the Machinists union to Mukilteo-based ElectroImpact to develop apprenticeship programs, which must meet standards set by the state Apprenticeship and Training Council, according to AJAC’s website.

Friday’s event is at the Museum of Flight in Seattle.

Speakers include Jon Holden, head of International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District Lodge 751; Kirk Adams, CEO of Seattle-based Lighthouse for the Blind, and Chandra Brown, deputy assistant secretary for manufacturing at the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Meanwhile, in May, 16 high school students fromthe Northshore and Issaquah school districts passed core certification tests in composites engineering and manufacturing at the Washington Aerospace Training and Research Center at Paine Field. The center is a key piece of Washington’s effort to train people for aerospace manufacturing.

The program required students to meet for three hours every day during the school year. It is through King County and is open to students from the Northshore, Riverview, Lake Washington, Bellevue, Mercer Island, Issaquah and Snoqualmie Valley school districts.

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