While most students were back in classrooms this Spring, the school year was far from normal. Many formative experiences commonly part of high school have been notably absent from the last year. Among them: visiting companies and connecting with industry professionals.
So when a unique opportunity to engage students on technical career paths came up through Lockheed Martin Space's partnership in the JROTC-CS Project, Community Relations teamed up with some employee volunteers to take it on.
The JROTC-CS Project is a public-private partnership aiming to dramatically increase the number of students taking an Advanced Placement computer science course by working with the Air Force Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) network. It's based, in part, on the idea that an investment in the Company's future workforce is an investment in the United States' future economic competitiveness and national security. Lockheed Martin highly values those with technical skillsets and subject matter experts as they are critical team members that drive innovation and deliver quality products for customers.
Lockheed Martin Space has supported the first-of-its-kind Project since its inception in 2018 and this Sp ring was matched with two participating high schools—Utah Military Academy in Riverdale, UT and Aberdeen High School in Aberdeen, MS— and tasked with promoting the excitement and the possibilities within high-tech career pathways to students. Since hosting students for on-campus visits was not an option, interactive virtual presentations were designed to highlight technology developed at Space and share personal stories from team members while underscoring the increasing significance of technical skillsets in aerospace and many other fields.
The goal? Leave students curious and excited about their CS courses and more aware of career opportunities open to them. Lockheed Martin's Business Innovation, Transformation and Enterprise Excellence (BITEE) team was uniquely positioned for this job. Employees shared stories about their academic and professional pathways, examples of projects and customer capabilities they contributed to—from Pulsar spaces to running (virtually) on Mars—and all offered meaningful advice for the students. Special thanks to Amy Pallatt, Jon Uht, Dr. Steve Gerali, Anaika Sibley and Kyle Frisbie for bringing these engagements to life.
In total, more than 350 high school students participated in the engagements, most of which were junior cadets. All of them got a peek at the places CS skills can take them.