In 2016, West Los Angeles College and the South Bay Workforce Investment Board (SBWIB) used funds awarded by AMP SoCal to form Aero-Flex, a highly successful pre-apprenticeship engineering program that has continued to grow in demand, reach and industry focus. The program is an employer driven pre-apprenticeship earn and learn model in engineering that is working to meet the workforce development demands from the aerospace and advanced manufacturing industry.
Aero-Flex was recently highlighted by two organizations that care about the manufacturing industry and innovative approaches to workforce development: MSC, a provider of metalworking and MRO products and services, and the California Employment Development Department.
MSC – This MFG Day: Shrink the Skills Gap, Hire Apprentices
When companies are having problems finding skilled workers the adoption of an apprenticeship program is a positive solution. However, as Jeannine Kunz, vice president at Tooling U-SME asserts, it is vital to note that apprenticeships have evolved over the years. “The traditional apprentice model focused on time-based competencies,” says Kunz, “while today’s model is focused much more on accelerating and validating competencies so that workers can contribute to an organization as quickly as possible.”
For example, Aero-Flex, the nation’s first registered apprenticeship program that focused solely on aerospace engineering, allows pre-apprentices and registered apprentices to work toward degrees while obtaining on-the-job training at an earlier stage in their education and careers. Companies are also able to scale and layer on top of existing internship programs.
CA EDD – The Aero-Flex Pre-Apprenticeship Program: A Success Story
With the boom in the professional, scientific, and technical services industry, the demand for engineers has increased significantly in the Los Angeles area. The Aero-Flex program addresses this demand by building the connection between job seekers such as Andrew Noda and employers like Magnetika.
Noda has always wanted to be an engineer but was still looking for a career in his preferred field 10 years after earning his degree. Thanks to his participation in the Aero-Flex program, he had the opportunity to intern with Magnetika, a Gardena, CA based company that designs and manufactures electronic components for the A&D industry. He found that he loved this job and wanted to be part of the team. At the same time, Aero-Flex allows Magnetika, and other employers, to find and get to know people before they become full-time hires.