Cultivating the Next Generation of Talent Through Apprenticeships

Jennifer Roberts worked in logistics for several years as a manager, but she wanted something more.

In February, she got her wish – beginning a new career at Lockheed Martin through the Missiles and Fire Control Ocala Electronic Associate program.

In 2018, Lockheed Martin launched a workforce development initiative to create 8,000 work-based learning opportunities  and to invest $50 million in educational programs by 2023 across the United States.

Today, Lockheed Martin is over halfway to our goal having created over 5,300 new workforce development opportunities across the nation and investing nearly $7 million into our STEM and Vocational Scholarship Programs in the past two years alone.

In partnership with the College of Central Florida and CareerSource Florida, we officially cut the ribbon on a state-of-the-art innovative apprenticeship lab at the college’s Ocala campus.

That classroom is where Jennifer and other apprentices in the two-year program learned how to solder circuit cards, creating the opportunity for lifelong careers with Lockheed Martin. Apprentices later learn wiring harnesses back at the Ocala facility.

“Soldering and cable harnessing are the two main skills we use here at Ocala, and I had never learned them before my time with Lockheed Martin,” she said. “So, for me it was a bit of a challenge going into the program and learning new skills, but the instructors definitely helped. The entire onboarding process from HR to the instructors and training in general were helpful and made me more comfortable.”

The apprentices earn 80 classroom hours in the lab before transitioning back to the Lockheed Martin Ocala facility for more instructions and complete the program.

 As Jennifer puts it, the program offers an “earn while you learn” benefit, gaining nine to 12 credits while in the program and is a step toward the Science and Engineering Technology associate degree.

To ease the transition from classroom to the real-life environment, the designers of the program set up the classroom exactly how the desks and manufacturing floor are set up.

“When we went back to the Ocala site and eventually on the manufacturing floor, there was no intimidation because I was familiar with the way it needed to be set up and be successful,” she said. “And the instructor that we had from the very first day of training was a Lockheed Martin instructor who followed us through the college all the way through the entire training.”

On top of receiving the US DOL Apprenticeship Credential, apprentices all will receive three other credentials from Lockheed Martin upon completing training.

  • SMT Surface Mount Technology Solder Certification
  • PTH Plated Through Hole Solder Certification
  • Lockheed Martin MFC Harness/Cable Fabrication Certification

The program’s first class will graduate in July, and the next round of apprentices will begin learning May 24.

“Even though I was starting over in my career and had to learn a new skill, this program provided me with the right tools to learn the specific skills Lockheed Martin uses, and it offers a pathway for growth and greater opportunities for the future.” - Jennifer Roberts, electronic associate apprentice