An electrician installs fiber optic cables inside an electrical powerhouse for the Effluent Management Facility at the Hanford Site’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant.
An electrician installs fiber optic cables inside an electrical powerhouse for the Effluent Management Facility at the Hanford Site’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Electricians, radiological technicians and project control analysts are projected to be among the most in-demand professions across the EM complex in coming years, according to a recently completed analysis.

In conjunction with the Energy Facility Contractors Group (EFCOG), which represents contractors at DOE sites, EM recently completed a set of projections looking at workforce needs at cleanup sites over the next five years. With EM’s cleanup mission set to last for decades, one of EM’s pressing challenges is ensuring the next generation of workers is ready and available.

“Developing, recruiting and retaining the next-generation workforce EM will need across the country will be critical to ensuring our continued progress,” EM Senior Advisor William “Ike” White said.

Over the next five years, according to the analysis, EM sites will need approximately:

  • 11,000 operators
  • 8,700 radiological technicians
  • 6,500 electricians
  • 5,500 project controls analysts
  • 3,500 project managers
  • 3,500 mechanics and
  • 2,300 work planners.

Going forward, EM will use the analysis to help shape potential new workforce development efforts and refine existing programs. EM contractors have programs to help recruit and train workers in a variety of necessary fields. For example, EM Los Alamos Field Office cleanup contractor Newport News Nuclear BWXT-Los Alamos has established “boot camp” programs with the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos for radiological control technicians and waste processing operators.

“With greater knowledge of the jobs and skills EM will need over the next five years, we can ensure that workforce development programs across the DOE complex are having the most impact and generating the best returns,” said Kristen Ellis, acting EM associate principal deputy assistant secretary for regulatory and policy affairs.

The analysis can also assist EM in working with local communities near cleanup sites to meet workforce needs, ranging from development programs at local educational institutions to ensuring communities have the necessary infrastructure to support increased employment. In August, EM and EFCOG, working with the Energy Communities Alliance (ECA), will have meetings with local officials near Los Alamos, New Mexico, on workforce needs there. The meeting is intended to serve as a pilot that EM could replicate with local officials near other cleanup sites.

“This is great information as it provides the municipalities, economic development entities and local educational intuitions with information to shape new workforce development efforts and refine existing programs,” ECA Executive Director Seth Kirshenberg said.