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Case Study/Profile

JFF Supports Lockheed Martin’s Apprentice Workforce

June 6, 2020

At a Glance

JFF worked with Lockheed Martin to transform an inefficient, state-by-state apprenticeship model into a centralized and streamlined national program.

The Need

By 2028, an estimated 2.4 million manufacturing jobs will go unfilled in the U.S. For large-scale manufacturers like Lockheed Martin, the estimated $2.5 trillion of manufacturing GDP at risk across the country due to this shortage is concerning.

“The U.S. aerospace and defense industry relies predominantly on an American workforce and is disproportionately impacted by the shortage of skilled manufacturing workers to fill critical jobs,” said Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson at the White House in 2018 speaking about America’s skills gap. “This challenge requires government, industry, and educators to work together to develop a workforce with the skills to compete in the 21st century.”

In July of 2018, Lockheed Martin pledged to create over 8,000 new work-based learning opportunities, including 5,400 technical apprenticeships, by July 2023. These programs would allow Lockheed Martin to grow its own workforce and provide workers with the skills needed to succeed in today’s manufacturing industry. But in so doing, the company was faced with a set of challenges.

Initial Business Challenges

  • How to effectively manage a centralized apprenticeship program running in dozens of sites across state lines;
  • How to fund the development of the program;
  • How to create truly impactful development experiences for apprentices; and
  • How to navigate the requirements of registering an apprenticeship program with the United States Department of Labor.

Lockheed Martin corporation is one the world’s largest aerospace and defense companies. The company employs over 110,000 employees and recognizes the importance of attracting, hiring, and developing a diverse, capable workforce of engineers, machinists, technicians, inspectors, assemblers, and other specialized workers. With a tightening labor market, Lockheed Martin continually prioritizes the recruitment, training and retention of a skilled workforce.


The Solution

In beginning their journey to building their apprenticeship capability and providing over 8,000 new work-based learning opportunities, Lockheed Martin had the advantage of a solid foundation. Over their history, they had developed thorough onboarding programs for over 70 of their roles that included nearly every essential component of an apprenticeship. To evaluate and begin to move some of these programs into Registered Apprenticeships, Lockheed Martin engaged with JFF in early 2018.

Partnering with JFF

In support of Lockheed Martin, JFF assisted in creating a strategy to look at the 70 “apprenticeship-like” programs across their company and convert as many as possible into Registered Apprenticeships. With JFF’s help, Lockheed reevaluated their time-consuming and inefficient state-by-state registration approach—where inexperienced line managers were responsible for working through each state’s registration requirements—for a more centralized, national registration process. JFF pulled from their years of expertise in building impactful development experiences to advance workers, developing apprenticeships, and working with the United States Department of Labor (USDOL), to serve as a key advisor for Lockheed Martin’s entire apprenticeship initiative.

In addition to expertise, JFF was also able to provide initial manufacturing sector apprenticeship funding from USDOL as part of an initiative to expand apprenticeship. This funding allowed for JFF to evaluate each program and to provide Lockheed Martin the guidance and support to structure the content of the experience into Registered Apprenticeship with USDOL. This included capturing the learning experiences, structuring job-related feedback and coaching, and increasing rigor of job performance into the necessary components of a Registered Apprenticeship program.

“JFF was able to guide us in applying for and gaining national registration with the U.S. Department of Labor. JFF’s assistance in helping us establish our National Standards of Apprenticeship with the USDOL was a significant enabler for our ability to efficiently scale Lockheed Martin apprenticeship programs across the enterprise,” said Jon Gustafson, who leads the company’s apprenticeship resource function.


Through JFF’s support, Lockheed Martin was able to develop a range of nationally approved Registered Apprenticeship programs under eight different apprenticable occupations such as engineering, manufacturing, cyber, and IT, with more being developed and submitted for approval each passing month. In total, Lockheed Martin has registered 23 different apprenticeships programs. Each apprentice who completes their program receives a nationally recognized industry credential from USDOL.

Lockheed Martin is accelerating its work to build and roll out additional apprenticeship programs for their employees. In all, Lockheed Martin plans to evaluate its 70 apprenticeship-like programs across the company for registration under its National Standards of Apprenticeship.

This case study was developed with the support of Salesforce and the Walmart Foundation.

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