Lockheed Martin apprentice program builds future workforce
Posted on 11/16/2018
Picture of group of seven PWCS graduates, four seated and three standing behindMost college students face the daunting challenge of securing their dream job after graduation. Lockheed Martin, partner of Prince William County Public Schools (PWCS), has taken the anxiety out of that challenge for seven PWCS graduates who are on track for careers with the global aerospace engineering corporation.

“With the need for engineering roles greater than ever, it makes sense to reach out to local talent to capitalize on the ever-increasing skills being taught in schools today,” said Melissa Banks, systems engineering manager for Lockheed Martin. “Our future success depends on a constant supply of highly trained, highly capable, technical talent. We believe a lot of that talent is right here in Prince William County.”

The graduates are among more than a dozen total from Prince William and Manassas City Public Schools who have benefited from an initiative launched in 2017 by Lockheed Martin’s Manassas site. Through its apprentice program, Lockheed Martin hires local high school graduates, gives them non-traditional educational opportunities, and puts them on career paths, with one year of structured on-the-job training and benefits included. Once completed, the apprentices continue in the program with opportunities for advancement in their careers.

Forest Park, Patriot, Stonewall Jackson, and Woodbridge High Schools have one graduate each in the Lockheed Martin apprentice program, while Gar-Field High School has three. The students support software, systems integration, and test engineering on multiple anti-submarine warfare programs. All are enrolled at Northern Virginia Community College, furthering their education and taking advantage of the Lockheed Martin tuition assistance program while working full-time jobs. They continue to mentor and volunteer in Lockheed Martin’s K-12 STEM outreach events.

Forest Park High School Principal Richard Martinez believes students should consider apprentice programs and internships before graduating high school.

“Lockheed Martin’s apprentice program complements the Forest Park information technology specialty pathway,” Martinez said. “Such career opportunities inspire students while building the reputation of our region for growing a tech-savvy workforce of the future.”

Banks said that Lockheed Martin looks toward expanding the apprentice program across engineering, building and trades, and non-engineering functions, and hopes to double the program size by summer of 2019.