High Hopes: Apprenticeship a perfect fit for a math guy

By Bill Sheets Herald Writer

Philip Klein, 22

City: Marysville

Program: Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee

Works full time at Talon Manufacturing in Arlington, making small parts for jets, and takes one class per week at the AJAC program.

Q: How did you come to enroll in this program? Are you particularly interested in aerospace, or are you simply looking for steady work? Why this and not something else? What skill in particular are you hoping to acquire?

A: The AJAC program came to our company a year ago and said they’re looking for apprentices. My boss said that I would be a good candidate for it — I had been working at the shop for about 2 ½ months. He said, “You’re making good progress, I think this would be a good path for you. Why don’t you give it a shot and go from there?” I did and I haven’t looked back.

I like the aerospace industry. It’s a great business, it’s going to be around for a long time. It’s a good, solid, steady job, I like doing the work, it’s always interesting to see what kind of part I’m going to be making to put into the air that someone’s going to be flying on. It’s pretty intriguing.

I like the math aspect of it. I’m constantly using numbers, and I’m good with numbers, so it just clicked right away. I was going to do automotive, but my body just couldn’t handle being under vehicles and moving around. Being in front of a machine and working with numbers is more my style.

I like being able to just look at a print and say, “Oh, I can make that,’ ” or look at something and say, “I know how to make that, to lay that out,” and then just make it myself.

Q: What would be your ideal first job after this training?

A: The ideal job would be getting into some programming and just starting to make the programs to make the parts — engineering.

Q: What would you like to be doing in five or 10 years?

A: Hopefully engineering or running my own shop at that point.

Q: Do you follow Boeing in the news, and how do you feel about the company’s prospects?

A: Here and there. My dad works at Boeing, so I just kind of hear what goes on at the shops. I don’t really follow Boeing as a whole, I just know the company’s here, we make parts for them, it’s a good business.

Q: Would you be willing to relocate to get the right job in your field, or would you prefer to stay in the Puget Sound region?

A: I think I’d prefer to stay in the Puget Sound region. I’ve lived here my whole life, I love it here, my family’s grown up here, I have so many relatives and friends that are just communal in this area.

Q: When did you first travel by air, and where did you go?

A: The first time I traveled by air, I was 7 years old and went to Hawaii with my family. I don’t really remember much, I just know I fell asleep on the plane and when I woke up we were on a tropical island.

Q: What will air transportation be like in 50 years?

A: In 50 years I think it’s going to be looking around the same, possibly bigger and better planes, faster travels. With the advances of how far we’ve come in the past 50 years, who knows how far we can go?

Learn more

The state established the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee to help address the demand for aerospace workers. The committee coordinates apprenticeships between workers and employers and helps with some of the training. Apprenticeships last two to four years.

Website: www.ajactraining.org