Florida’s Orange County Public Schools on May 29 became the first installation site for a new automated fingerprint ID-based applicant processing system for all state education and insurance workers. Officials say the new system will speed up response times dramatically, allowing schools to process applications more efficiently.

“This new state-of-the-art technology will provide us with fingerprint information within a matter of days,” said Orange County Superintendent Ronald Blocker. “It is another great tool in our efforts to ensure the safety of our students.”

Lockheed Martin Information Systems’ digital electronic system will process the fingerprints of the expected 27,000 people who apply annually for jobs in the county under a new State of Florida contract.

More than 250,000 job applications are received for jobs in the entire state’s education system and insurance industry each year. The state expects the system to be operational in all counties by July.

The Lockheed Martin system will scan an applicant’s fingerprints digitally and eliminate the use of paper cards and ink. The use of such digital fingerprint data will shorten the application process by providing a fully automated electronic transfer of prints, eliminating the handling and mailing of paper cards.

Electronic fingerprint files also eliminate the need to return and remake inked print cards that are of unsuitable quality when reviewed by the FBI. Poor-quality electronically scanned fingerprints are immediately highlighted by the system, allowing operators to rescan the prints immediately.

“This new innovative approach will provide greater ease and efficiency in processing the background information of those committing themselves to a career in Florida’s education system,” said Education Commissioner Charlie Crist.

The five-year contract awarded to Lockheed Martin Information Systems in April by the Florida Department of Education is worth approximately $8 million. The award builds on Lockheed Martin’s experience in automated fingerprint identification technology for such customers as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, other law enforcement agencies, and the U.S. Military Entrance Processing Command.