Lockheed Martin, Penn State, Bucks County Community College Enter Partnership to Expand Opportunities for Inner-City Youth
KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa., 01/13/2005 -- Lockheed Martin, Bucks County Community College and Pennsylvania State University are making it easier for low-income, inner-city youth to complete their college degrees.
Representatives from Penn State and Bucks signed an agreement today that encourages participants in Lockheed Martin’s Information Technology (IT) apprenticeship program to pursue degrees in information sciences and technology. The agreement offers participants and graduates an opportunity to pursue an associate degree in computer science from Bucks County Community College. Those credits then may be applied toward a bachelor’s degree in information sciences and technology from Penn State.
Students will have an opportunity to take degree classes at Lockheed Martin’s King of Prussia campus, making it more convenient for them to participate. Lockheed Martin will provide full tuition reimbursement to program graduates and apprentices who have completed the first half of the apprenticeship program.
“This agreement strengthens the unique industry, academic and community partnership that has been established to invest in the future of today’s inner-city youth,” said Sondra Barbour, vice president of Operations for Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems & Solutions. “It recognizes the potential these young men and women possess, encourages them to reach for their dreams, and gives them an opportunity to succeed.”
Today’s milestone comes as the company prepares to recognize 13 program participants Jan. 27 for completion of the three-year apprenticeship program. The participants, all Philadelphia high school graduates, began the program as juniors in January 2002 and have since completed more than 1,000 hours of formal instruction, 3,000 hours of on-the-job training, and more than a year of rotational assignments. These graduates will be honored during a special ceremony Jan. 27 at the Union League of Philadelphia, 140 South Broad Street, Philadelphia.
Lockheed Martin’s IT Apprenticeship Program was developed in 2001 in cooperation with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the School District of Philadelphia to provide inner-city youth with education and career opportunities. The program has expanded to include 55 participants from four Philadelphia schools. The students are employed full time by Lockheed Martin once they complete the first half of the program.
“Our goal is to train young people and interest them in IT at a time when demand for IT professionals is high,” said Barbour. “The participants in our program bring enthusiasm and the fresh insight of a new generation, one shaped by its own set of values and perspectives. They, and others like them, are important to the future of the IT industry.”
Since its creation, the apprenticeship program has benefited from a unique community partnership that includes the School District of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Youth Network, a nonprofit organization that provided early planning, organized transportation to the facility for students, and has provided ongoing support. Today’s agreement between Pennsylvania State University and Bucks County Community College expands that partnership.
“We’re proud to be a partner with Lockheed Martin and Bucks County Community College to extend an already successful program,” said Penn State Abington Dean and CEO Dr. Karen Wiley Sandler. “Penn State Abington’s participation provides another important step toward a bright future for these young men and women.”
Founded in 1964, Bucks County Community College is a public, two-year institution that confers associate degrees and certificates for nearly 90 academic programs of study. In addition, Bucks is a leader in providing on-site training programs for partners in business and industry.
Located in suburban Philadelphia, Penn State Abington offers 13 four-year degree programs — as well as courses toward more than 200 majors that can be completed at other Penn State University campuses — to 3,250 undergraduate students.