The Pentagon is expected to ask Congress to release money for 77 new F-35 jets.
It’s a more than $10.7 billion purchase that would mean big business for Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, but the ripple effect would likely reach around the region.
“It affects all suppliers, because Lockheed Martin has numerous amounts of partner suppliers for piece parts and things like that,” Sam Deckich with Community Learning Center (CLC) in Fort Worth said. “Now it opens up doors for mid-sized companies and even the smaller companies as well.”
CLC is an aerospace training facility for positions at Lockheed Martin, Bell Helicopter and other North Texas companies.
“It affects us greatly. It is always good news when we have a company like Lockheed Martin hiring employees like that. They are very key partner employers,” Deckich said. “We are training per their curriculum. It’s a design curriculum by Lockheed Martin, so we are giving them the skilled labor they need for the F-35.”
CLC has seen an increase in interest in their six week training program.
“Things drop off when they are not hiring, but now with the hiring explosion and the up-ramp of production has definitely made things increase,” Deckich said. “I don’t have any lack of getting people recruited -- the phones, the emails, the texts.”
Craig Allen of Bedford is one of those people looking for employment. After working in an oil field for ten years as a manager, he was laid off. He recently completed the training at CLC and is hoping for a job at Lockheed Martin.
“I think it’s a big deal because there has been some downturn in some other fields of work and with Lockheed booming and with this class especially – they get you ready for it. You walk in and you are ready to go from day one,” Allen said.
“It would be premature for us to comment directly on the president’s budget request before its official release,” Carolyn Nelson with Lockheed Martin’s F-35 program said via e-mail. “We remain encouraged by the continued support we see for the program which reaffirms the transformational capability the F-35 delivers for our men and women in uniform.”