Boulder, CO is home to many key defense contractors, like Sierra Nevada Corp., Lockheed Martin, and Ball Aerospace. In addition, local, homegrown companies are also growing their presence in the aerospace market. A key component of growth is driven by the University of Colorado Boulder, which is creating a talent pipeline. With Lockheed Martin as the lead contractor for the Orion spacecraft for the Artemis program, NASA’s goal to return to the moon with the first woman on its surface by 2024, the team is well on their way to achieving its November 2021 unmanned test flight in support of NASA’s mission. But Lockheed isn’t only space focused. They also offer candidates positions in cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.

“What the new era of space is about is commercializing now. Now that NASA sort of paved the way with exploration, and we pretty much got down the science living in low-Earth orbit(LEO), that’s why we can build the space station … put that in low-Earth orbit by commercial companies, and then that sort of frees up NASA to then do the harder things again,” Janet L. Kavandi, veteran NASA astronaut and executive vice president in the Sierra Nevada’s Space Systems Group said.

Colorado has led the way in space for years. Vicky Lea, director aerospace and aviation at the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp explains, “You have kind of a national vision, a national space-exploration vision, and then that obviously drives companies, a commercial response to provide the products and the technologies that are going to be needed to fulfill that mission.”

Layoffs Impacting the Cleared Industry

CACI Following the end of contract with the U.S. Air Force, CACI issued 73 layoff notices in their San Antonio office. While the contract end date was initially July 2020, a bridge extension kept the lights on into 2021. CACI has a cybersecurity and cyberspace research and development facility in San Antonio, supporting the Air Force, as well as other federal government customers. With almost 300 employees, that include engineers and intelligence analysts, CACI remains a presence in Texas. Every defense contractor knows that all contracts come to an end.

Hiring impacting the Cleared Industry

Lockheed Martin While Lockheed Martin is shutting down operations in their 465-employee Baltimore County plant in the next two years – as well as a Massachusetts plant, the defense contractor has plans to consolidate operations in their Syracuse, NY campus. Engineering and production positions will be the primary roles to relocate to New York with the company unclear on remaining personnel numbers. Lockheed employs about 1,800 people currently at Electronics Park, and is currently looking to fill 60 open positions.

“After securing record-breaking contracts in recent years, it’s no surprise Lockheed Martin is investing in even more work – and more jobs –in Central New York,” U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, the Senate majority leader said in a statement. He added, “I will continue to use my role as majority leader to continue to grow and protect good-paying jobs in Central New York and help Lockheed Martin in Salina do what it does best: produce superior technology and employ scores of New Yorkers.”


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Opportunity to Watch

Clearly, cybersecurity is an issue. However, how to get ahead of the talent gap curve continues to be an elusive goal. BAE Systems has found a way to bridge the gap between veterans with the skills but lack of connection to an employer. BAE Systems has linked up with Fortinet Veterans Program in order to locate veterans who have the skills they need to fill the cyber holes. With services at no cost, Fortinet gives back by providing veterans with tech skills training in order to transition jobs after they move on from the military. Making connections can be hard – even with the right skill sets on your resume.

“Veterans have already proven themselves twice — first in the military and then when completing a rigorous program like Fortinet’s. They’re highly trainable, quick to learn and take accountability seriously,” said Nanci Long, talent acquisition business pursuits manager at BAE Systems. “Couple that with the impressive resumes and technical skill sets, and you would be hard-pressed to find better candidates for the work we do … it’s the work ethic of our veterans that makes BAE Systems such a strong company overall. I am convinced of that.”

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Jillian Hamilton has worked in a variety of Program Management roles for multiple Federal Government contractors. She has helped manage projects in training and IT. She received her Bachelors degree in Business with an emphasis in Marketing from Penn State University and her MBA from the University of Phoenix.