OCALA, Fla., (May 11, 2021) – College of Central Florida and Lockheed Martin representatives joined elected officials and education, industry, workforce development and community leaders to cut the ribbon and formally open a state-of-the-art apprenticeship lab.
“Apprenticeships are a unique way to provide a student with education, career training and a job simultaneously and a valuable opportunity for us to work directly with an employer,” said Dr. Jim Henningsen, CF president. “The synergy created when partners come together in the best interest of their communities is unrivaled.”
Lockheed Martin’s two-year apprenticeship program trains electronics associates who will solder circuit cards and wiring harnesses used in aerospace and defense systems. The first cohort of apprentices began their work with 80 classroom hours in the new lab before transitioning to Lockheed Martin’s Ocala facility where they receive additional education and complete the program.
“Our partnership with the College of Central Florida and CareerSource Florida extends our training capabilities and is instrumental in providing a sustainable talent pipeline for our future operations as we strive to help create highly skilled and high-wage career opportunities” said Phil Lowery, director of Lockheed Martin Ocala operations.
The partnership resulting in today’s announcement 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.
CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion, the local workforce development board serving the Ocala area, assists Lockheed Martin with identifying candidates for the apprenticeship program.
“Governor Ron DeSantis has prioritized expanding workforce education and training opportunities to help all Floridians begin and grow in rewarding careers, and apprenticeships provide a great career path,” said CareerSource Florida President and CEO Michelle Dennard.
“CareerSource Florida’s partnership with Lockheed Martin, the College of Central Florida and CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion is helping bring in-demand career opportunities to hundreds of local residents, and we’re excited to support the program’s expansion in other communities.”
Since the start of the program, Lockheed Martin has hired 349 apprentices, 20 of whom started their training in one of three different cohorts at the CF lab since February of this year.
“The Governor challenged us to be #1 in workforce and technical education by 2030. Today is another example of his leadership and vision becoming a reality,” said Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran.
“This innovative partnership with CareerSource, Lockheed Martin and the College of Central Florida puts in place a new apprenticeship program in the aerospace industry that will open new doors for Floridians looking for a rewarding high-skill, high-wage job. We remain laser-focused on expanding Florida’s workforce education and training opportunities so that Floridians can upskill quickly, acquire nationally recognized postsecondary credentials of value, and ensure high wage jobs can be filled by well-educated and well-trained Floridians.”
“Lockheed Martin’s two-year apprenticeship program will be essential in growing and retaining talent in the Sunshine State,” said Secretary of Commerce Jamal Sowell, president and CEO of Enterprise Florida, Inc. “This partnership with the College of Central Florida and CareerSource Florida will create countless opportunities within our communities.”
“Growing Florida’s skill-based workforce is a top priority for Governor DeSantis, and the Department is proud to support the apprenticeship program between Lockheed Martin and CareerSource Florida,” said Dane Eagle, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.
“Our partnership is vital in the success of these training programs throughout the state, which continue to offer valuable technical skills and sustainable great career paths for Floridians.”The two-year program will congratulate its first round of graduates in July 2021 with the next class of apprentices starting May 24.