Defense contractor ManTech International partners with Purdue on workforce development

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Virginia-based defense contractor ManTech International Corp. has grown its Indiana operations from a handful of employees to about 100 over the past three years, and the company says Purdue University’s online degree programs are helping it meet its growing workforce demands in the state.

ManTech offers cybersecurity services, software systems development, data analytics and other services for the Department of Defense as well as federal civilian agencies and U.S. intelligence agencies. The company was founded in 1968 and has just over 9,000 employees, with operations outside Indiana in Herndon, Virginia; Jacksonville, Florida; and multiple sites in Maryland.

In Indiana, ManTech set up shop at the Naval Surface Warfare Center at Crane, about 80 miles southwest of Indianapolis, in the summer of 2018, with five employees working on a single defense contract. Today, the Crane site has secured eight different prime contracts worth a combined $1.5 billion.

The company currently operates out of two buildings at Crane and will soon open a third, a 77,000-square-foot facility set to open in January.

“We’re really excited about it, and we expect our growth to continue,” said Jim Hanley, a ManTech vice president and division manager for ManTech’s naval aviation division.

One continuing challenge has been finding enough qualified cybersecurity talent for the Crane site, but it’s getting help.

“Cybersecurity in particular is a field where there’s high demand and a shortage of qualified individuals for that demand,” said Jeff Buck, dean and vice president of the school of business and information technology at Purdue University Global.

Purdue University Global, which is Purdue’s online-education division, launched in 2018 when Purdue acquired Iowa-based Kaplan University. The division specializes in programs for working adults.

To help ease the talent shortage, Purdue University Global and ManTech formed a partnership several years ago for the purpose of developing online degree programs available at no cost to ManTech employees.

The fourth such program, a master’s degree in data analytics, started on Wednesday. Students can choose concentrations in Amazon Web Services cloud technologies, information security and assurance, project management or secure software development and quality assurance.

Though the program was specifically created for ManTech’s needs, Buck said any Purdue Global graduate can enroll.

Hanley said employee interest in the online Purdue programs has been strong. His division has 350 employees, and at any given time, he said, 20 to 30 of them are enrolled in one of the degree programs.

Because cybersecurity professionals are in such high demand and have many potential job options, Hanley said, the Purdue University Global program offers ManTech a way to tap into employees who don’t have to be wooed away from other parts of the country.

“Through programs like this, we’re able to find local talent,” he said.

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