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Lockheed Martin, one of Baltimore County's larger employers, officially opened its sixth facility Monday in Woodlawn and announced plans to add 160 information technology jobs to a work force that exceeds 1,500.

The company's Information Systems & Global Services division has refurbished and rewired a nearly 42,000-square-foot brick building on Woodlawn Drive near the Social Security Administration complex. In the past year, the company has hired about 200 employees in its efforts to provide a wide variety of services to SSA, which is continuing modernization efforts.

The proximity of the service provider to its federal customer reflects a partnership fostered during the past two decades, William S. Gray, deputy commissioner for systems at SSA, said at Monday's ribbon-cutting ceremony. With nine out of 10 Americans 65 and older receiving Social Security benefits and more than 80 million baby boomers on the brink of retirement, the agency must rely on the most up-to-date technology to deliver its services, Gray said.

"We have to have the best Web site in government and a seamless serving architect that makes sure the system is up and available continually," he told the crowd of about 100 officials and company employees. "Lockheed Martin has provided sound expertise and counseled us on how to improve."

Headquartered in Bethesda, Lockheed Martin is the largest provider of information technology services, systems integration and training to the U.S. government, according to its Web site. Social Security and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services together employ nearly 13,000 at the Woodlawn headquarters and both are expected to add jobs this year, officials said.

"These three big entities help make Baltimore County the third-largest center for federal employees in the nation," said County Executive James T. Smith Jr. "These new jobs are particularly important in this troubled economy."

As part of its community outreach, the company offers classroom programs to interest area middle school students in science and math careers and works closely with area colleges, providing students with internships that have frequently led to permanent jobs, said Michael Leff, Lockheed Martin program director.

"We have had terrific success with local colleges and universities," he said. "The students get a wealth of experience working with our customer."

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