Rubi Solis had a job before she even graduated from Metropolitan State University’s co-op apprenticeship program with Lockheed Martin in 2017.
She was hired on full-time at Lockheed within the year she was in the program. She started as an electronics engineer during her co-op and is now a systems integration/test engineer.
“It was kind of hard to keep up just because of working full-time and then being in school full-time,” Solis said. “But once I graduated, I had a job and that to me, is an excellent skill to have, and to have that job security.”
That’s the whole point, said Sarah Turner, the program manager of Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Manufacturing Technician Apprenticeship Program. She said the program is all about creating a pipeline of STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — workers.
Lockheed Martin is an aerospace technology company. It’s investing $5 million in vocational and trade programs. It projects that it will create 8,000 new apprenticeships and workforce development opportunities through 2023.
On Monday, President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump came to Lockheed Martin to discuss the apprenticeship programs.
She emphasized the importance of the private sector.
“They play a fundamental role,” Trump said. “When we think of vocational education and skills training, the government cannot do this. The private sector knows what jobs they’ll be creating. The government can help, amplify, and reinforce with funds.”
Although Solis completed her program while in school, many of the programs are designed for people without four-year degrees.
Turner said affording a college degree is getting more difficult, and Lockheed Martin provides an alternative for young people leaving high school. She also said that apprenticeships allow people to move into the workforce faster.
“A four-year degree is not necessary for all STEM-related jobs,” Turner said.
Trump spent the rest of her visit meeting with employees and touring the facility.
Her visit was originally planned for May, but it was postponed because of the STEM High School shooting in Highlands Ranch that left one student dead.