First cohort of Elma HS manufacturing apprenticeship program celebrated

On Tuesday night the Elma School District celebrated the success of the first cohort of students taking part in a program to provide youth apprenticeships in the local manufacturing industry.

The school district held an achievement banquet at the Elma High School Commons featuring a packed room to highlight the success of the students and the program.

Kaleb Anderson, Brandon Orcutt, Logan Zimmerman, Sonny Mougous, and Misael Oliveros Farias were on hand in front of friends, family, coworkers, and the community to celebrate their efforts.

Photo by KXRO

In May 2022, the five Elma students signed on to take part in the youth apprenticeships through the AJAC: Advanced Manufacturing Apprenticeships program, providing them an opportunity to take part in the apprenticeship program through local businesses, working towards their 2000 hours needed to earn their journeyman cards.

The students earned their apprenticeship with local employers including Sierra Pacific Industries, A&R Aviation, Vaughan Company, and Pacific Ironworks. 

The students took part in 150 hours of college-level classroom instruction while working part-time during the school year, and full-time over the summer for the companies.

When the program started, Elma CTE Director Christi Kershaw stated that the five students initially worked with three industry partners and in the second cohort it has grown to eight students working with five industry partners. 

A third cohort is scheduled to start this summer.

As part of the program, the district gained grant money allowing for new equipment to help train at EHS. 

The opportunity in Elma is the first youth apprenticeship program to launch in Grays Harbor County, and the 14th school district to offer AJAC’s Youth Apprenticeship since 2017. 

For the students to take part in the program they had to be at least 16 years old and hold a minimum GPA, along with other requirements.

To learn more about the program, visit the AJAC Youth Apprenticeship web page.