Lighthouse Machinists Soar with AJAC Program
On Friday, June 19th the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC) hosted a celebration and ceremony for 39 of its graduating apprentices who are employed across 24 aerospace and advanced manufacturing companies in Washington State, including three machinists from The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc: Mike Beeksma, Nathan Greenwood, and Dan Porter. The graduates were awarded a nationally recognized journey-level certificate for completing AJAC’s four-year Machining or two-year Precision Metal Fabrication program.
Founded in 2008, AJAC is a statewide, nonprofit 501(c)(3) aerospace and advanced manufacturing registered apprenticeship program. The Lighthouse was one of the first companies to sign up and be a part of the AJAC program, which was in its infancy at that time, and thus allowed Mike, Nathan, and Dan to take the apprenticeship courses for free. Mike Scheschy, Machine Shop Manager at our Seattle facility, noted:
“the [AJAC] program has allowed our employee graduates to increase their salaries and advance their careers at the Lighthouse.”
The program involved four hours a week of in-class training, machining workshops, as well as several hours of homework, covering almost everything from basic terminology and tools all the way through programming. When asked about the content of the course, Dan Porter mentioned “we learned a lot of applied math skills, algebra, trigonometry, machine shop terminology, safety, best machine shop practices, LEAN manufacturing, and its terms to better improve workflow in the shop. I spent a lot of time on the weekends studying and getting prepared for class. We also learned programming, hand programming, and using MASTERCAM software and how to edit programs.”
Mike Beeksma added, “Taking the program has allowed me to advance to the Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machines. Overall it touched base on a lot of aspects of the machining industry, and we were able to learn a lot of new things as well as review a lot of what we knew already.”
Dan also remarked that “the training has allowed us to become mentors, and we are now able to mentor other machinists at the Lighthouse to the industry standard. It helped me be more efficient in my job, and more involved in what’s happening on the shop floor.”
Congratulations to Mike Beeksma, Dan Porter, and Nathan Greenwood for completing this important training program and helping to set the stage for future Lighthouse machinists to advance their knowledge and careers in machining!