Lockheed Martin, Pa. begin IT program for high schoolers

Lockheed Martin Management & Data Systems launched Pennsylvania's first registered information technology apprenticeship program, in cooperation with the state and the school district of Philadelphia, the company announced Jan. 11.

Lockheed Martin M&DS, based in King of Prussia, Pa., is a unit of Lockheed Martin Corp., Bethesda, Md.

M&DS staff will train students in the newest technologies supporting a wide range of products and services. Training will focus on math, communications, science, IT, software systems, engineering and professional development. Program components include mentoring, job shadowing, rotational assignments and hands-on training.

The program will link students to Philadelphia business leaders, employers and post-graduation full-time employment in the IT market.

The ability to offer attractive career opportunities to residents improves the commonwealth's chances of retaining and attracting skilled workers.

"Apprenticeship programs are a key part of my priority work-force development goal. This Lockheed Martin program is a practical way to give Pennsylvanians high-tech skills for high-tech, well-paying jobs," said Johnny Butler, Pennsylvania's labor and industry secretary.

Lockheed Martin M&DS has been developing the three-year program since early 2001 and received its certification from Pennsylvania Nov. 8. Eighteen juniors at Mastbaum Tech and Kensington High School will begin training this month.

The students will work eight hours a week during the first year of the program. During their senior year they will work 16 hours per week, and 32 hours per week during summer vacation. The third year they will work full time. M&DS will pay the students $8 an hour, said Esteria Johnson, program manager.

After completing the program, students will be recognized as IT technicians, a title equal to a post-secondary or associate-level degree, and will be offered full-time positions with Lockheed Martin.

M&DS is paying for most of the program, including the time of engineers serving as mentors, and the students' hourly pay, Johnson said. The company will receive a $100,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry for transportation and material costs.

The Philadelphia Youth Network, a nonprofit organization that connects the education and business worlds in Philadelphia, has helped prepare students and organize transportation arrangements.

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