Lynn Strickland has led the organization for over 10 years , though , she said , “ If I had directed my career path , I never would have guessed that I ’ d wind up in apprenticeships .” Yet , given that the organization has grown annually ( on average ) to serve over 400 apprenticeships with 330-plus partnering employers in 18 counties , it seems that she landed where she needs to be . They ’ ve served over 3,200 individuals and groups to date — combining employers , community partnerships , and the registered apprentices , pre-apprenticeship , and youth apprenticeship programs .
Strickland has a master ’ s in organizational leadership with a graduate certificate in human resources and a bachelor ’ s degree in business administration with an emphasis in management . She is proud of her military service and served nine years in the Army . As a leader , she is personable and intuitive , and it is easy to see how she can serve many constituents at once .
She said , “ I think this work is important because we need workforce development to remain competitive as a state .” She noted that apprenticeships had been around for over 100 years in the U . S . But they have evolved to now include non-traditional apprenticeships like AJAC . She said there is an excellent need for apprenticeships now , “ with workforce needs for all different industries ; what we can add ( via AJAC ) in Washington is a proven method to train individuals . It , meaning apprenticeship , is a tool in the workforce development toolbox .”
Strickland is responsible to state leaders and funding sources . She and her team also foster relationships with hundreds of companies throughout Washington .
They primarily work with small to medium businesses to help them understand that if they take on and mentor apprentices , it will impact that person ’ s life — providing them with a living wage while also growing their business .
They also must appeal to future apprentices . Maybe the prospective candidate is a person who has been on a non-traditional path with school , or perhaps is someone who loves reading , writing , and arithmetic , but wants to see the physical product of their work .
People who take the apprenticeship path are not necessarily non-book learners . They like to have their hands in the mix , seeing the result of their efforts .
Janet Schmidlkofer with K & N Electric in Spokane Valley is one of those who highly value apprentices in her business .
Apprenticeship Occupations – Earn While You Learn –
Youth Apprenticeships – Automation Technician and Production Technician
Entry-Level Apprenticeships – Industrial Manufacturing Technician , Industrial Machine Operator , Precision Metal Fabricator
Advanced Apprenticeships – Machinist ( Aircraft Oriented ), Industrial Maintenance Technician , Plastic Process Technician
Career Advancement Apprenticeships - CNC Programmer , Tool & Die Maker
She serves as the family-run business CEO , doing sizeable industrial repair and manufacturing . Theirs is not a business that will get a high volume of applicants — but the work is mission critical for bridges and dams to operate . K & N Electric is classified as a small business with 49 employees in two locations ( Spokane and Moses Lake ). She has embraced the apprenticeship model to the point that she serves as board chairperson for AJAC .
She said , “ AJAC is employer needs-driven ; it is a great recruitment tool to find people interested in the position and craft capabilities .” Beyond that , she added that the apprentices , who come on as employees while completing training , “ allow us to sell more .” Ultimately , they can make more sales because of the AJAC program .
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