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Lockheed Martin Invests in Early Career Talent through Cloud Certification Challenge on AWS

2022

Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 114,000 people worldwide. Like most companies in this tight labor market, it is experiencing increased competition for talent. Lockheed Martin hires thousands of interns annually and strives to train and retain promising individuals for its future workforce. Recognizing the demand for cloud skills in the marketplace, and specific demand for Amazon Web Services (AWS) expertise, the company saw a way to upskill and improve job readiness of early career talent. 

Lockheed Martin turned to AWS Training and Certification, for digital and classroom training from experts at AWS to help people build and validate their cloud skills. Working alongside AWS Training and Certification, Lockheed Martin developed a program to help interns earn industry-recognized credentials in the form of AWS Certifications. Through this initiative, Lockheed Martin is fostering a culture of continuous learning, developing early career talent, and supporting business transformation.

Lockheed Martin team upskilling
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With the help of the AWS Training and Certification team, we can make all of our employees and interns aware of the possibilities on the cloud.” 

Mark Crowe
Project Engineer, Lockheed Martin

Searching for Upskilling Opportunities on AWS

Every year, Lockheed Martin hosts thousands of interns supporting early career development. “We have built the Lockheed Martin intern program to be dynamic, deliver real-world learning opportunities, and expose interns to emerging technologies,” says Andrew Schmidt, PhD, director of Enterprise Talent Acquisition at Lockheed. “We aim to strengthen our interns’ professional portfolios so they are competitive for roles at Lockheed Martin and beyond.”

Lockheed Martin’s Enterprise Talent Acquisition team is responsible for the corporation’s internship program and creates unique professional development opportunities for interns across all business areas. The program builds technical skills and hones soft skills that are crucial for success in the workplace. During their time at Lockheed Martin, interns are offered numerous internal training tools, and the AWS Cloud Certification Challenge provided another opportunity to develop and certify cloud skills.

In 2020, Lockheed Martin gathered its information technology interns for AWS GameDay—a collaborative learning exercise that tests skills in implementing AWS solutions to solve real-world problems in a gamified, risk-free environment. “We knew that AWS Training and Certification curated very strong resources,” says Nicholas D’Antonio, workforce development strategist at Lockheed Martin. “AWS Certifications hold a lot of value not only internally but also on the external talent marketplace. We wanted to provide our interns with the opportunity to earn an industry-recognized credential.”

Working with AWS Training and Certification, Lockheed Martin developed the Cloud Certification Challenge, a self-paced pipeline for interns to earn the credential for AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner, which helps organizations identify and develop talent with critical knowledge related to implementing cloud initiatives.

Investing in Early Career Talent with the Cloud Certification Challenge

During summer 2021, 300 Lockheed Martin interns participated in the first Cloud Certification Challenge. During the program, interns completed AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials, a digital course for individuals to develop a fundamental understanding of AWS. The course—for technical and nontechnical individuals alike—is hosted through AWS Digital Training, which offers free, on-demand courses developed by the experts at AWS. Interns attended optional live training webinars taught by AWS instructors. At the conclusion of the self-paced training, interns scheduled exams to earn AWS Certifications. “By becoming AWS Certified Cloud Practitioners, our interns have tangible credentials to supplement their experiences,” says D’Antonio. “We got a lot of positive feedback from interns saying that obtaining an industry-recognized certification was key to developing their skills.” 

Lockheed Martin is developing an early career talent pool that is skilled in cloud technologies. By earning AWS Certifications, interns can differentiate themselves from their peers and grow in their careers. “We see very significant upskilling on AWS among our participants,” says Mark Crowe, project engineer at Lockheed Martin. “Once they complete the training pipelines, they take the skills they’ve learned into their daily workloads or future careers. We’ve seen quick advancement on AWS with some of these participants.” Equipped with foundational skills, these interns can innovate faster on AWS if they join Lockheed Martin on a full-time basis. 

Participants feel empowered to share and expand their cloud knowledge. “The knowledge that I gained while preparing for AWS Certifications is invaluable,” says Quintin Ioime, intern at Lockheed Martin. “I feel comfortable explaining the benefits of certain AWS services or using the cloud instead of a server.” After Ioime passed the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam, he participated in a project at Lockheed Martin involving AWS services. With his knowledge of AWS services, Ioime was able to contribute ideas that helped optimize costs and inform the team’s architecture decisions. In December 2021, Ioime further expanded his cloud skills and achieved AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate, which validates the ability to design and implement distributed systems on AWS, after only 3 months of preparation. 

Lockheed Martin’s program equips interns with tangible credentials, differentiating its offerings from similar programs. “Achieving AWS Certifications has really boosted my confidence in my cloud knowledge,” says Ioime. Due to the program’s success, the company can develop stronger relationships with potential future hires. “In the labor market, an intern has multiple career options,” says D’Antonio. “If our Cloud Certification Challenge has an impact, the intern knows that Lockheed Martin is a company that’s willing to invest in them. This differentiator will keep the intern interested in us for the long term.” 

At Lockheed Martin, the pursuit of knowledge is a key cultural pillar. “We want to live true to the principle that we are a company that invests in learning and in its employees,” says D’Antonio. “This is demonstrated through our substantive internship experience. Our interns are working on real-world products and are gaining meaningful skills and credentials.” Whether an intern becomes a full-time employee or works elsewhere, Lockheed Martin can work alongside AWS Training and Certification to deliver valuable training opportunities.

Promoting a Culture of Learning at a Global Aerospace Corporation

With the Cloud Certification Challenge, Lockheed Martin successfully advanced interns’ knowledge and is helping to close the cloud skills gap. To uphold its culture of learning, Lockheed Martin will continue to host and implement upskilling initiatives alongside AWS Training and Certification. “At Lockheed Martin, we remain on the cutting edge of all technologies,” says Crowe. “With the help of the AWS Training and Certification team, we can make all of our employees and interns aware of the possibilities on the cloud.”


About Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin is a global aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technologies corporation. Based in Bethesda, Maryland, the organization engages in the research, design, development, and manufacture of advanced systems, products, and services.

Benefits of AWS

  • Upskilled 300 Lockheed Martin interns
  • Strengthened access to early career talent
  • Provided opportunities for interns to earn AWS Certifications
  • Promoted a culture of learning across the organization

AWS Services Used

AWS Digital Training

Self-paced digital training on AWS Skill Builder is available any time you need it. AWS Digital Training offers free, on-demand courses developed by the experts at AWS.

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AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials

This updated digital course is for individuals who want to develop a fundamental understanding of the AWS Cloud, independent of any specific technical role. 

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AWS GameDay

GameDay is a collaborative learning exercise that tests skills in implementing AWS solutions to solve real-world problems in a gamified, risk-free environment.

Learn more »

AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner

This credential helps organizations identify and develop talent with critical knowledge related to implementing cloud initiatives. Earning AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner validates cloud fluency and foundational AWS knowledge.

Learn more »


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