The next long line you may see in downtown Fort Worth may not be the one to see Santa Claus in Sundance Square, but those attending the next Lockheed Martin Aeronautics job fair.
On Dec. 5 the company will hold its fourth local hiring event at the Sheraton Downtown Fort Worth where it hopes to fill at least 500 assembly line jobs, said Ken Ross, a company spokesman. It will be held from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
While walk-up candidates will be accepted, applicants are encouraged to review the position requirements at LockheedMartinJobs.com, Ross said. If a job seeker meets the necessary conditions for hiring, it is recommended that they pre-register for the event, giving them a specific time to check in for interviews.
Lockheed is looking for employees to work the F-35 assembly line as structural and electrical assemblers, aircraft and field service mechanics and painters to apply high-tech coatings to the stealth fighter.
Hopefully, pre-registration will cut down on the long lines the company experienced at previous job fairs. At least 3,000 people attended a similar event in July and some of them got in line in the pre-dawn hours.
“It should cut down on the longer lines because everyone will go through a smoother process,” Ross said.
Experience is a plus — only 40 percent of those receiving initial letters of intent actually make it through a rigorous screening process that includes aptitude tests and a background check. Competition for the jobs is stiff because manufacturing workers can make up to $75,000 a year, depending on experience.
“It’s absolutely better if you have experience ...” Ross said.
Lockheed Martin is hiring as it prepares to boost the production of the F-35 Lightning II fighter. The company plans to hire about 1,800 employees by 2020 in Fort Worth. The plant employs about 14,500 people, including 8,800 on the F-35. So far, the company has hired 435 for the assembly line.
To help train its new employees, Lockheed Martin also established a $14 million training program where employees to make sure they have the technical skills necessary to build the futuristic fighter.