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Lockheed seeks to retain staff

By Kristen Bishop 340-2443

COURTLAND — A Lockheed Martin expansion in Courtland isn't likely to bring new jobs to the area but may allow the company to retain current employees, said a company spokeswoman.

Lockheed Martin is constructing six ordnance-processing buildings in Courtland for a total cost of more than $27.26 million, according to agreements with the Lawrence County Industrial Development Board.

Construction started in December, and officials hope to have one building completed by August.

The expansion is part of the U.S. Department of Defense's Missile Defense Agency's Targets and Countermeasures program. Lockheed officials said in November that the project would bring 35 jobs after the first year and another 40 by the third year.

In December, however, The Missile Defense Agency discontinued the Boost-Vehicle-Plus effort, which existing Lockheed employees in Courtland were supporting.

Of the 42 employees on that program, 12 already are working on the Targets and Countermeasures program and 30 are working on Boost-Vehicle-Plus closeout activities or general facility support.

Lockheed Martin spokeswoman Lynn Fisher said the company is finding new assignments for the 30 remaining employees at the end of program close-out in the next few months.

"We will make every attempt to place the remaining employees in positions on the Targets and Countermeasures program at Courtland," she said.

Those employees would fulfill the company's original requirement for 35 new hires after the first year of construction. It was unclear if Lockheed Martin would still hire 40 more employees by the third year.

"It's still early to tell exactly what will happen, but that's the direction we are moving," said Fisher. "We should have it all worked out in the next few months."

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