The lines, they were long — real long. But 860 lucky folks were glad they came on down — and stuck around — at the Lockheed Martin job fair Tuesday.
Lockheed offered 860 jobs “on the spot” to applicants wanting to work for the giant defense contractor — 806 for the assembly line and the rest for salaried positions, said Ken Ross, a company spokesman. More than 3,000 attended the job fair at the Sheraton Fort Worth Downtown Hotel.
Many of those hired for the production line — aircraft and avionics mechanics, painters and material handlers — will still have to take a drug test and a written test before the deal is done, he said.
Overall, Ross said, it was a successful day.
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“Absolutely! From the incredible turnout to the overwhelmingly positive feedback we heard from participants,” Ross said.
Lockheed is on a hiring spree as it boosts production of its F-35 Lightning II fighter jet in west Fort Worth. The company plans to add about 1,800 employees by 2020 at the plant, where it currently employs about 14,000 people, including roughly 8,800 on the F-35 program. Last year, Lockheed built about 50 F-35s and plans to build 160 a year by 2019.
At a similar event in June, the company made 601 job offers — 501 in manufacturing and 100 in areas such as engineering, supply chain and finance. Assembly line jobs pay well — most of those hired Tuesday will make $44,000 to $77,000 a year, depending on experience.
If you don’t have experience it is going to be tough because there is an experienced person squeezing them out.
Paul Black, president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District Lodge 776
Another job fair is planned for late August or early September, Ross said.
Anyone thinking about attending that one, however, should consider this: A few hours after the doors opened Tuesday, the company was turning away some applicants for the assembly line if they didn’t have experience. People who applied online ahead of time had an edge.
“It looks like they are pre-screening. No experience in aircraft? May as well go home,” Paul Black, president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District Lodge 776 at Lockheed, said on Tuesday morning. “If you don’t have experience, it is going to be tough because there is an experienced person squeezing them out.”
But don’t think Black doesn’t understand why people are excited about working at Lockheed. Not only are the wages and benefits good, but there’s the chance of making it a career.
Just look at the F-16 program, Black said. Production of that aircraft stretched out more than 40 years as the company delivered more than 4,500 jets, 3,600 built in Fort Worth.
“You can make a career at Lockheed, if you get on board now,” Black said.