Keeping Colorado's aerospace industry booming and competitive will require creative approaches to education, officials at Lockheed Martin told Ivanka Trump, senior White House adviser and the president's daughter, on July 22.
The aerospace giant is facing recruitment challenges in the face of a wave of retiring baby boomers and an insufficient number of graduates with science degrees, Heather Erickson, Lockheed's director of talent and organizational capability, told Trump.
“We're looking at accelerating talent development for today, not tomorrow,” Erickson said, touting the Jefferson County defense contractor's apprenticeship programs and blooming partnership with Metropolitan State University of Denver.
Trump visited the facility as part of a national tour for the White House's “Pledge to America's Workers” initiative, which seeks to encourage states, universities and companies to work together to develop apprenticeships and workforce training programs.
Trump participated in a roundtable discussion with Lockheed leaders, local elected officials and internship participants before touring the sprawling facility near Chatfield State Park.
Lockheed's signature skills development program is the Advanced Manufacturing Technician Apprenticeship Program, or AMTAP, said Sarah Turner, the program's manager.
AMTAP helps create a “career pipeline” for participants by certifying them in a variety of manufacturing skills, Turner said.
That's crucial, Turner said, because “the ability to afford a four-year degree is increasingly difficult” for many students, with many increasingly turning to trade schools and community colleges.
Lockheed's programs are encouraging, said Denver's deputy mayor Murphy Robinson, because “it's the private sector that will lead” efforts to develop Colorado's workforce.
Trump said America's booming economy with record-low unemployment offers a natural time to innovate and collaborate on training programs.
“The private sector has to tell us what skills are in demand,” Trump said. “And we need to make sure skills in tech schools are aligned with those demands.”
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