Quality Magazine

1/28/08 Lockheed Martin and Project Lead The Way Partner to Develop the Next Generation of Engineers

January 28, 2008

BETHESDA, Md. and CLIFTON Park, NY--Lockheed Martin Corp. and Project Lead The Way today announced their partnership in Engineers in the Classroom, Lockheed Martin's innovative K-12 education outreach initiative designed to develop the next generation of engineers. Because of the looming shortfall of qualified engineers to fill the country's technical workforce, developing engineers has become a national imperative.

As one of the world's largest systems and technology companies, Lockheed Martin employs more than 70,000 engineers, technologists and scientists. Project Lead The Way Inc., is a national not-for-profit organization that provides standards-based pre-engineering and technology curriculum to more than 2,200 high schools and middle schools nationwide. The program offers eight, full-year high school engineering courses and five middle school modules, all of which employ rigorous problem-based learning experience and integrate national math and science learning standards.

"Lockheed Martin sets the standard of commitment to education and to the nation with their innovative and comprehensive Engineers in the Classroom initiative," said Niel Tebbano, Vice President of Operations for Project Lead The Way Inc. "Their initiative recognizes that the solution of the future engineering and technical workforce problem resides in a systemic approach embedded in dynamic partnership. Project Lead The Way is honored to contribute in such a significant way with Lockheed Martin in this initiative, and is committed to its full success."

In the absence of a national K-12 engineering learning standard, Project Lead The Way has become the de facto national standard. "Project Lead The Way's track record of preparing students for college engineering programs is unparalleled," said Jim Knotts, Lockheed Martin's Director of Corporate Citizenship. "Project Lead The Way students are five times more likely to major in engineering than the national average, their freshman to sophomore retention rate in the degree is over 80%, or double the national average, and their freshman GPA in engineering study is greater than that of their peers."

In communities near Lockheed Martin's major business locations, the corporation is working with schools that have or will implement the Project Lead The Way curriculum. The curriculum provides engineering-focused academic rigor, and is the basis of the Engineers in the Classroom initiative. In those same schools, Lockheed Martin will supplement the curriculum by supporting hands-on extracurricular activities, which encourage teamwork and supply relevance for the engineering principles learned in the classroom.

The piece that connects the academic rigor and the hands-on relevance is the relationship created between Lockheed Martin engineers and the students. Going into classrooms as guest lecturers and coaching extracurricular teams, the engineers will be role models and mentors for students. As subject matter experts, Lockheed Martin engineers can also serve as advisors for teachers. Teachers and guidance counselors heavily influence the paths students take. They are vital to a comprehensive approach to developing engineers. The Project Lead The Way program includes mandatory teacher training as well as guidance counselor training.

In this first year of the initiative, Lockheed Martin is working with Project Lead The Way in schools in California, Colorado, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, and Texas. Starting mostly with high schools and expanding to their feeder middle schools, the Engineers in the Classroom initiative creates a pipeline that offers the opportunity for seven continuous years of student involvement on the pathway to engineering. A new competitive scholarship will help bridge students from high school into college. "The partnership with Project Lead The Way offers our employees not only the opportunity to engage with motivated, energetic students, but also the chance to serve as advisors, coaches and role models to those same students; possibly inspiring them to become an engineer. We are proud to join forces with Project Lead The Way to help tackle the engineering shortfall that is looming in this country," concluded Knotts.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin employs about 140,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration, and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products, and services. The corporation reported 2006 sales of $39.6 billion.