Partnerships Make Nationwide Aerospace Engineering Apprenticeship Program a Reality

Posted By: Jeannine Kunz, Vice President, Tooling U-SME on February 26, 2018

Partnerships Make Nationwide Aerospace Engineering Apprenticeship Program a Reality

Last week, we announced Tooling U-SME’s involvement in the development and registration of the nation’s first Aerospace Engineering Apprenticeship – a new national learning program created for the engineering discipline. Tooling U-SME collaborated with the South Bay Workforce Investment Board (SBWIB) and the Aero-Flex team of employers and colleges to build the first registered apprenticeship, which was approved by the U.S. Department of Labor Apprenticeship Office (USDOL).

Gaining approval from the USDOL is a significant accomplishment, as the federal agency’s support confirms we are developing the right learning and development programs that align with the nationwide effort to increase the number of apprenticeships in America.

Tooling U-SME began working with the SBWIB and Aero-Flex Unilateral Apprenticeship Committee in 2016 when the groups introduced the employer-centric “earn and learn” Aero-Flex Pre-Apprenticeship Engineering program. Tooling U-SME engaged employers and partners in the Los Angeles South Bay region to determine the workforce skill sets needed in the aerospace engineering sector. The program was first championed by Northrop Grumman Corp. and now includes Impresa Aerospace LLC; L3 Electron Devices; Magnetika Inc.; Space Vector Corp.; TEN TECH LLC; Verisurf; and Zodiac Water and Waste Aero Systems. The intel from this collaboration helped produce an online assessment to identify knowledge gaps, create the framework that defines skills and coursework required for meeting aerospace workforce development needs, and establish the best curriculum options for industry-specific occupational skills.

The Aerospace Engineering Apprenticeship allows employers to scale nationwide, applying the framework to workforce development wherever the company does business. The Aero-Flex model was designed from conception to validation by industry partners and employers who appreciate a nontraditional model that would “flex” curriculum and program design to meet their business needs.

A key component of the Aero-Flex Apprenticeship model is the flexibility companies have to design a program and develop curriculum that meets their specific business needs. The model also allows students interested in becoming an aerospace engineer to gain real-world experience, with the ability to receive customized, employer-driven training while they pursue an education in the engineering field. At the end of the program, employers gain skilled talent and the apprentice finds gainful employment.

As the USDOL sees the benefits of an innovative employer-driven framework to create a registered apprenticeship within an important occupation, the partners behind Aero-Flex provided the technical, educational and workforce development expertise. In addition to Tooling U-SME and the SBWIB, these partners include West Los Angeles College, El Camino College and Training Funding Partners, along with funding through the CA Apprenticeship Initiative of the CA Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, the California Workforce Accelerator Fund and AMP SoCAL (Advanced Manufacturing Partnership of Southern California).

These types of partnerships are essential if we truly want to close the talent skills gap and compete successfully in the global market. We congratulate all the partners, employers and colleges that accepted the challenge to bring the Aerospace Engineering Apprenticeship to fruition.

If you want to learn how to build a strong competency-based apprenticeship program, reach out to us at 866.706.8665.

Tags: ;, Aero-Flex, "Aero-Flex Pre-Apprenticeship Engineering", aerospace, "AMP SoCAL (Advanced Manufacturing Partnership of Southern California)", "and Training Funding Partners (TFP)", "and Zodiac Water", apprenticeship, "CA Apprenticeship Initiative of the CA Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office", "El Camino College", engineering, "Impresa Aerospace LLC", "L3 Electron Devices", "Magnetika Inc.", "Northrop Grumman Corp.", SBWIB, "skills gap", "South Bay Workforce Investment Board", "Space Vector Corp.", "TEN TECH LLC", "the California Workforce Accelerator Fund", "U.S. Department of Labor", USDOL, Verisurf, "Waste Aero Systems", "West Los Angeles College"