Training the Aerospace Workforce of the Future

Training the aerospace workforce of the future is something taken very seriously at Machinists Inc. There are MI employees like Michael Tomson who have taken advantage of a special program through the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee or AJAC.

Tomson has been in the program for three years, learning his trade. The class is one night a week for four hours, just like any other college course, but condensed down to one night a week. Different topics are covered from basic machining practices to advanced machining techniques.

"Since we are a non-union shop, it's for employees that want to reach journeyman skill and wage. Basically what the company does, they sit down with AJAC and come up with a wage they want to call their Journeyman," Tomson said. "They start you out at 60 percent of that wage. For every year you work in the four year program, you get 10 percent more towards that wage."

When Tomson first heard about the program, he could not wait to jump on board. He is actually part of the third AJAC class at MI. AJAC works through community colleges in Washington, often using different shops to run their courses.

"We put our employees through the aerospace trade part of it. They offer anything, tool makers, welders, painters, dry-wallers," he said. "They offer a variety of different training programs."

Tomson is a machine apprentice at MI. For him, the AJAC program has gone great. He likes the on-the-job training. The hands on experience is the most beneficial, he said.

Machinists Inc and AJAC work together

A CNC lathe is being set up at MI for a production run by third year AJAC participant Michael Tomson.

"What's nice about the program, it reiterates what you've already done or seen. It goes into stuff you haven't done a lot of," Tomson said. "It gives you a more well rounded education. It opens your mind to not just the job in front of you, but whole machining practices."

The course covers a variety of topics like Manufacturing Basics, which teaches manufacturing, job plans, drawings, basic math, tolerances, engineering specs and major tools like saws and drills.

"It has been absolutely beneficial for me," he said. "It's a great way to expand your knowledge of a trade you are already in."

For more information on AJAC, go

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