LAKELAND, Fla. — Lockheed Martin has expanded its apprenticeship program to Polk County.

The move is in line with the global company's goal of providing 8,000 new apprenticeship opportunities by 2023.  According to a company spokeswoman, as of October 21, the company has offered nearly 1,900 workforce development opportunities in the areas of high school internships, new college hire rotations, mid-career development and technical apprenticeships.

In the company's Lakeland office, three apprentices from Lake Gibson High School are learning the fundamentals of payroll. The apprentices work 16 hours a week, and the program lasts over the span of two years.

"We get paid to get taught, which I see as a great opportunity," said Naydelin Franco, one of the apprentices.

"I think it's good. I like what I'm doing right now, like doing all of the payroll calculations," said Dan Ying Jiang, another apprentice working in the Lakeland office. "I actually enjoy doing it.  It's all coming easy for me."

The apprenticeship program allows the company a chance to create a new pipeline of talent.

"They'll end up with a certification when they come out and also a department of labor certificate so it's a really great opportunity for them," said Christine Michalik, Director of of Lockheed Martin's Finance and Business Operation.

In its other locations, Lockheed Martin is offering apprenticeships in engineering, operations, and advanced manufacturing.

In 2018, the company also pledged to invest $150 million in STEM scholarships and employee education by 2023.

You can learn more about the apprenticeship program by clicking here.