Coast-to-Coast Apprenticeships Accelerate Local Pathways for Talent
Hometown Opportunities for Careers in Advanced Manufacturing
Like many of our apprentices, Kiersten Landrum wanted to build her career near home. Kiersten grew up outside of Lufkin, Texas where she graduated from Central High School in 2015. She enlisted in the Navy in 2018 and after four years of active-duty service, she participated in the Lockheed Martin Heroes program, allowing her to leverage her military skills and experiences for employment.
In 2022, Kiersten was offered full-time employment with Lockheed Martin as an Electronic Assembler in our apprenticeship program, registered with the US Department of Labor. As an apprentice, she is receiving critical training and mentoring. She is also utilizing our tuition reimbursement benefit to continue her education at Angelina College so she is ready for long-term career growth. Together, with Angelina College, we have created a manufacturing skills training lab on campus where all apprentices receive their initial training for which they earn college credit.
“This opportunity has laid the foundation for career growth within a great company and allowed me more family time while also pursuing a college degree,” said Kiersten.
Upskilling Local Talent in AI and Robotics
Josh Kweon has been interested in robots since he was a child growing up in Fairfax, VA. He participated in STEM competitions in elementary school and was active in school-based robotics groups through college. Fast forward to today where Josh is a Manufacturing Engineer apprentice building skills and on-the-job experiences in machine learning, artificial intelligence, automation and robotics. Within the Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems business area in Manassas, VA, Josh deploys the skills he is learning through the apprenticeship program and has a vision of his career path.
“Currently in my role as a Manufacturing Engineer, I work with vendors to identify robotic use cases for the scope of our work, but in the future, I hope to be knowledgeable enough to make my own recommendations and build robots that can do the tasks we need,” Josh shared.
Our Manufacturing Engineering Apprenticeship Program has helped engineers like Josh learn the skills they need to get ahead. Josh was able to gain a new perspective on his work through the training programs, attending courses directly with an external vendor, and engaging with mentors and other colleagues in the program.
Born and raised in Florida, Fernando Valdes-Recio started with Lockheed Martin as an intern before converting to a full-time Manufacturing Robotics Engineer Associate with Missiles and Fire Control in Orlando, FL. As both an intern and now an apprentice, Fernando is developing in-demand skills that are valued in his role.
“During my time in the apprenticeship program, I learned the fundamentals and some advanced topics of collaborative robots. I learned how to program them, set up safety features, and how to get data back and forth from the robots. After the apprenticeship, my team and I implemented automated torquing and precision pick and place robots for the Apache program. One system is able to torque screws at the specified position and torque values while the other system guides a sensitive optic through a narrow and complex cavity while detecting possible collisions. I also learned about machine vision and how to use Cognex cameras to take measurements, find visual defects, and guide the robot arms", he shared.
The structure of this program accelerated Fernando’s learning, and he enjoys collaborating with fellow program participants from other sites and sharing his new knowledge with other members of his team.
Apprenticeships Provide On-Ramps to Great Careers at Home
When Levona Howell left the U.S. Air Force nine years ago, she knew Lockheed Martin was the company she wanted to work for as she transitioned back to civilian life in her home state of Alabama. Having had the opportunity to be trained by Lockheed Martin employees during her time working as an ammunition specialist in the military, she was excited to learn about Lockheed Martin Space’s Advanced Manufacturing Technician Apprenticeship Program (AMTAP).
AMTAP develops electronics manufacturing technicians to ensure Lockheed Martin has enough skilled workers to support its major programs in Colorado, Alabama, and Pennsylvania. Levona has completed two AMTAP apprenticeship programs and is currently working as a technician, where she enjoys learning and earning a paycheck at the same time. Through the strong mentorship and training Levona received through AMTAP, she was encouraged and inspired to go back to school to pursue a degree in occupational health and safety at the University of North Alabama. The Lockheed Martin tuition assistance program helps offset the financial costs associated with pursuing her degree, and Levona plans to continue her career at Lockheed Martin in environmental health and safety once she completes her studies.
“If you’re looking for a place to start your career, Courtland, Alabama, is a growing site with many great opportunities”, Lenova said. AMTAP Alabama is proud to partner with local secondary and post-secondary education partners and the workforce boards as we work together to develop on-ramps to great careers for our community.
As a recognized US Department of Labor Apprenticeship Ambassador, we are proud to share our apprenticeship experience, and are committed to championing apprenticeship opportunities as a company and with our apprenticeship partners. Apprentices at Lockheed Martin have the opportunity to grow their skills, pursue their passions, and build the foundation of a strong career while having a significant impact on our national security mission. Investments in the future of workforce development continue to open up pathways for individuals looking to start their careers, change paths and contribute to exciting work in the aerospace and defense industry.
Read on to learn about more apprentice and partnership success stories!
From Military to Lockheed Martin
After eight years of active-duty service in the Navy, Daniel Johnson and his wife decided that it was time to make Huntsville, Alabama their permanent home. The Space AMTAP (Advanced Manufacturing Technician Apprenticeship Program) provided Daniel the opportunity to settle down in one location and leverage his military experience in a career with Space.
Daniel’s Lockheed Martin story began with AMTAP in 2019 where he was a production manufacturing technician apprentice. Since joining, Daniel has been promoted twice and today is a Technical Trainer. He is among 80+ AMTAP apprentices to have received more than one promotion since the beginning of the program in 2016.
“AMTAP provided me a great foundational base to be successful at Lockheed Martin. Everyone is always willing to teach and share knowledge” Daniel shared.
Upskilling Talent in Cyber
RMS developed the Cyber Accelerator Program (CAP) to address the need to build critical cyber skills for current and future programs. The purpose is to accelerate the upskilling/reskilling of current employees with strong technical backgrounds by providing 110+ hours of individually tailored learning solutions including academic, experiential learning and mentorships. Since 2019, the program has hosted 3 Cohorts with over 50 participants.
In 2020, CAP graduated their first apprentices. Amanda Simpson and George Gresko were two of the Graduates who completed the accelerator program and advanced into new cybersecurity positions.
“CAP has provided me an immense amount of opportunities, including training, networking and more. Cyber is such an interesting field. This opportunity has opened so many doors and possibilities for the future,” said Amanda who is now in a critical RMS Cyber Program.
George has since been promoted to First Line Manager leading his Cyber Security team. In addition, as part of his duties, he is taking over as a CAP business representative and acting as Advisor to a new CAP Apprentice.
“CAP was a great program that really prepared me for my career in cyber. There are so many resources to take advantage of including interesting courses, hands-on classes, and access to cyber subject matter experts. Given today’s emphasis on cyber technologies, I thought this program was essential for my development and I would highly recommend it", he said.
From High School to Lockheed Martin
Helen Caron began developing her technical expertise in third grade when she found her passion for STEM in her robotics club.
“Being in robotics has really shown me what the STEM field is like and helped me get the opportunity to work for Lockheed Martin” says Helen.
She has now been a part of Lockheed Martin’s Rotary and Mission Systems T.A.L.E.N.T (Training Aspiring Locals to Engineer a New Tomorrow) team for the past four years. The T.A.L.E.N.T. Registered Apprenticeship program provides a full-time job with training, mentoring and hands-on experience to capable high school graduates who are ready to join the workforce. Helen has proven her capability time and time again and recently became one of the newest and brightest installers at the submarine shipyard in Groton, Connecticut, where she developed a new method for wrapping power cables. Her new method, which was later called “The Helen Method,” received great recognition from the customer. Go in the field with Helen!
Na’Keena Brown had been a Funeral Director for 11 years when she decided to join the Aerospace & Defense industry.
“When I first started the apprenticeship training program, I feared I was not going to be able to catch on and learn the skills since I did not have an engineering background. However, the instructors made the classes at SAU Tech fun, and the one-on-one training approach really helped with my confidence in my abilities", Na’Keena stated.
Today, Na’Keena is an Inspector Senior for the Missiles and Fire Control Camden location where she performs inspections using certified skills on both ground and flight electronic assemblies. Through an educational partnership with Southern Arkansas University Tech, Lockheed Martin’s CMAP (Camden Manufacturing Apprentice Program) provides individuals in the Camden community access to multiple career pathways. The MFC talent acquisition strategies have diversified their apprenticeship program, which is now is comprised of 40% women
The Power of Partnerships for Apprentices
Florida Partners Equip Talent for Careers at Lockheed Martin
Working with Career Source Florida and its local workforce investment board, CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion, Lockheed Martin’s Mission and Fire Control Ocala facility has hired and trained over 450 Electronic Associate apprentices. “Apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs equip Floridians with core and technical skills needed for in-demand jobs, an essential component of Governor Ron DeSantis’ vision that Florida will be the No. 1 state for workforce education,” said CareerSource Florida President and CEO Michelle Dennard.
“The CareerSource Florida network’s partnership with Lockheed Martin is providing valuable opportunities for new apprenticeships in an industry vitally important to growing our state’s economy.” The board is identifying and pre-screening candidates to ensure a higher quality pool of talent for Lockheed Martin. In addition, under a new partnership, the College of Central Florida has built an on-campus training lab to support the program, expanding the capacity of Lockheed Martin to meet its training and hiring objectives.“
The college’s unique partnership with Lockheed Martin will create an academic pathway for its employees to earn college credit while on the job,” said Dr. Rob Wolf, dean of Business, Technology and Career and Technical Education.
No Experience Required to Thrive in Space
Lockheed Martin Space in Denver, Colorado developed AMTAP (Advanced Manufacturing Technician Apprenticeship Program) in partnership with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. This registered apprenticeship program leverages local talent opportunities — including a focus on military veterans — by using the county workforce centers in the Denver metro area to support program promotion and retention. AMTAP’s training program, which has expanded to Alabama, provides “no experience required” on-the-job training for certification and qualification in production manufacturing techniques.
Mark Sigloch, a military veteran, and his two sons, Josh and Sean are current apprentices. “I wish I’d known about AMTAP as soon as I left the military,” Mark says, “I would have gone straight into the program.”
Training Aspiring Locals to Engineer a New Tomorrow
The Rotary and Mission Systems Manassas T.A.L.E.N.T. (Training Aspiring Locals to Engineer a New Tomorrow) apprenticeship program capitalizes on the ever-increasing level of technical expertise that individuals are developing prior to college through high school CTE programs, Project Lead The Way and robotics. Lockheed Martin registered this program in 2020, providing capable high school graduates that are not immediately entering a four-year college a full-time job with training, mentoring and hands-on experience. The Manassas T.A.L.E.N.T. program recognizes the importance of strong business and community relationships, and Lockheed Martin team members serve on three of the county’s education boards and maintain open communication with the local school leaders, teachers and counselors to ensure a strong pipeline of prepared students.
Technical Schools Prepare Students for Apprenticeships
At Aero Greenville, the Aircraft Maintenance Technician Pre-Apprenticeship to Apprenticeship program thrives thanks to partnerships with local and state resources, such as Greenville Technical College, ReadySC and the South Carolina Technical College System. Greenville Technical College delivers the two-week pre-apprenticeship training course that provides participants with real industry training for potential placement in Aero Greenville’s registered apprenticeship program.
According to Ben Sabol, Manager, of Greenville Site Operations Capabilities & Resources, “This collaborative effort to build a highly skilled and diverse workforce supports the continued growth we are seeing across our site. Today, two of the program’s first cohorts are now proudly supporting the F-16 production line, demonstrating the immediate value of programs like this, not only for the company but for the community as well."