North Texas Community Commitment Holds the Key to the Future in STEM
Creating an engineering talent pipeline is critical to the future. Today’s grade school students will man the missions to Mars, and they will be our nation’s future engineers, leaders and dreamers.
That’s why commitment to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education is necessary from start to finish. Our focus at Lockheed Martin is on developing well-rounded technical professionals and leaders beginning in the K-12 classroom, through college and after joining the team. Here’s how we’re influencing the future in North Texas.
In 2016, employees at our Aeronautics site in Fort Worth dedicated thousands of hours to STEM education through Engineers in the Classroom (EITC). Through the program, which the company supports nationwide, Fort Worth engineers mentor more than 16,000 students. During their time together, students are introduced to tangible STEM concepts, which is critical during those formative years when interests can blossom into future careers.
“It is a joy for me to field questions, participate in hands-on activities, and build relationships with students and teachers," said Troy Lambert, Lockheed Martin engineer and EITC volunteer in Fort Worth. My hope is that through this program, I will have the same impact on students' lives as those who visited my classroom did for me.”
Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is another way we reach the nation with STEM education. Our partnership with PLTW in local communities helps provide educational resources to supplement public school STEM education. In 2015, we brought this partnership to Fort Worth, presenting a $1 million grant to the Fort Worth Independent School District.
In 2016, we launched Generation Beyond, featuring a Mars-themed virtual reality school bus that traveled to schools and museums all over the nation, including Fort Worth’s Museum of Science and History!
STEM education doesn’t stop at grade school. We provide paid internship opportunities for high school and college students at our Fort Worth facility, which allows for sustained exposure to technical concepts and our guiding principles.
“I was able to work in three labs during my internship and use a high power laser named ‘The Devil’,” said Cameron McBride, who interned as a high school student in 2016.
McBride is now a mechanical engineering freshman at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA), the third largest engineering school in Texas, and plans to return to Lockheed Martin’s Missiles and Fire Control campus in Grand Prairie, Texas for his first college internship this summer.
Cameron won’t be alone when he returns. Lockheed Martin is home to more than 1,300 UTA alumni and recently sponsored the school’s career development center to help provide resources for all students. Employees regularly participate in annual on-campus recruiting events at schools like UTA to ensure stories like Cameron’s continue to flourish. Those efforts paid off, as the Aeronautics team extended employment offers to more than 600 college hires and interns during the 2016 -2017 academic year, with 78 percent choosing to continue growing their career with Lockheed Martin thereafter.
Lockheed Martin offers a variety of leadership development programs to team members, facilitating growth at every level of employment. For example, the Fort Worth Training Center of Excellence will soon open its doors to provide F-35 manufacturing employees with continuous technical education opportunities and a rich hands-on learning experience.
“Leveraging advanced manufacturing technologies and workforce partnerships is how we’ll stay ahead of industry trends, train and develop our employees to exceed expectations, and prepare a future workforce to sustain our industry,” said Jon Gustafson, Lockheed Martin lead for Workforce and Economic Development. “We also work with industry partners to develop advanced manufacturing common curriculum to address the education and training needs of the aerospace industry.”
Lockheed Martin also helped stand up the DFW Regional Aerospace Consortium to strengthen the regional workforce and focus on developing a talent pipeline for future growth. As part of this consortium, we provided funds to develop FLYBY DFW, a gaming app to encourage middle and high school students to explore aerospace career paths.
“We are honored to be part of vibrant communities that share our focus on STEM education and workforce development,” said Jean Wallace, vice president of Human Resources. “We recognize the power that comes through partnership, so we’ve worked diligently to establish strong connections with our local workforce development board Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County, schools and industry leaders in North Texas to create employment opportunities in the aerospace industry.”
NAWB President and CEO Ron Painter had this to say about Lockheed Martin, “Their willingness to be true partners to their respective workforce boards [has] improved career opportunities and ultimately increased the economic potential of citizens and other businesses in their regions [and is] an example of how a company can reach beyond its own self-interest to advance an entire community’s economic vitality.”
Jean Wallace added, “It’s truly humbling to be recognized for our contributions, and the best part is that these accolades are truly a reflection of our community and the great team we have here at Lockheed Martin.”