Governor Ron DeSantis announced today that Lockheed Martin and CareerSource Florida have partnered to develop and refine a registered apprenticeship program. Lockheed Martin, one of the nation’s leading global security and aerospace companies, has led the development of a regional workforce and education ecosystem and will model the program across its major regional operations in Florida and nationwide.
“Lockheed Martin’s new apprenticeship program with CareerSource Florida exemplifies many of the reasons why Florida is the best state to do business: we are focused on job creation, partnerships, innovation and workforce education,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “The expansion of workforce education and training programs is an essential element of our mission to ensure Florida is No. 1 in the nation for workforce education.”
Lockheed Martin Corporation employs approximately 114,000 people worldwide. In Florida alone, the company employs more than 17,000 residents at 66 facilities across the state.
“Lockheed Martin is committed to creating 8,000 new apprenticeship and workforce positions within the company through 2023 and this program is one way we’ll do that,” said Monet Nathaniel, vice president of human resources at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “These students serve as a cornerstone of our future talent and the success of our workforce, and we’re proud to partner with CareerSource Florida to help us create highly skilled and high-wage career opportunities for Floridians.”
The partnership with CareerSource Florida began in 2019 when Lockheed Martin launched an initiative to hire and train apprentices across its enterprise over the next five years. CareerSource Florida, the Governor’s principal workforce policy board, provided support in building those apprenticeship programs, recruiting potential talent, and identifying grant opportunities to defray training costs.
“The mission of the CareerSource Florida network is to connect employers with qualified, skilled talent,” said CareerSource Florida President and CEO Michelle Dennard. “Providing customized solutions for companies like Lockheed Martin in targeted industry sectors is one of the most important contributions our team can make to help diversify Florida’s economy and grow opportunities for Floridians to prosper.”
Lockheed Martin’s Ocala facility is home to the pilot program, with strong support from CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion, the local workforce development board. The two-year apprenticeship program trains electronics associates who will solder circuit cards and wiring harnesses used in aerospace and defense systems. The Ocala program includes 265 new apprentices so far.
“These apprentices are getting a foothold in a great company with growth potential for their careers,” said Thomas E. “Rusty” Skinner, Jr., CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion CEO. “We are honored Lockheed Martin entrusted us to lay the groundwork for this unprecedented pilot program. And, to other businesses in our state, we encourage you to explore how we can create a custom talent solution for you as well.”
The apprentices begin their journey with 160 hours in the classroom at Lockheed Martin’s Ocala facility. This month, the training expanded to a dedicated classroom at the College of Central Florida’s Ocala campus, where the apprentices can earn between nine and 12 college credits for that paid training. Those credits also count toward an Associate in Science degree in Engineering Technology, which the employee can pursue if they choose to do so.
“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. James Henningsen, College of Central Florida president. “Our Engineering Technology program at the College of Central Florida is a very marketable degree in the workplace, and we appreciate this opportunity to support our students, our industry partners and our community.”
“Apprenticeship programs are a viable on-ramp toward higher educational attainment and workforce readiness that allows students the opportunity to learn while they earn. Through apprenticeship programs like this one, the Department of Education continues to strive to make Florida the number one state in the nation for workforce education by 2030,” said Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran. “I want to thank Governor Ron DeSantis for continuing to deliver on his promises, and Lockheed Martin, the College of Central Florida, CareerSource Florida and CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion for working on this collaborative apprenticeship model – a pathway to success for Floridians.”
“Under Governor DeSantis’ leadership, DEO remains committed to expanding apprenticeships throughout the state,” said Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Dane Eagle. “Joining with our local and state partners, we can work collaboratively to help Floridians find gainful employment through apprenticeship programs.”
In addition to ongoing work to expand apprenticeship opportunities alongside the Florida Department of Education and Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, CareerSource Florida administers the Quick Response Training and Incumbent Worker Training grant programs to offset training costs for new or expanding businesses. These grants have facilitated additional growth for Lockheed Martin, which trained 884 new hires and 396 incumbent workers over this first year of the grant programs.