AIKEN, S.C. – The first 36 students graduated from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management (EM) Savannah River Site (SRS) liquid waste contractor’s Nuclear Fundamentals Certificate program this summer.
The program, a partnership between Aiken Technical College (ATC) and Savannah River Mission Completion (SRMC), is the contractor’s first class in this new program.
SRMC’s training department is working with ATC and Apprenticeship Carolina to fill nuclear operator positions. Apprenticeship Carolina, a division of the South Carolina Technical College System, is a statewide program that works to attract new companies to the state and provide comprehensive workforce solutions to ensure they stay and grow there.
In the Nuclear Fundamentals Certificate program at SRS, the students took seven months of intensive training with courses in chemistry, physics, engineering, and radiation fundamentals, completing two college-level classes in an abbreviated semester. A strong grasp of each topic is critical to understanding how facilities operate at SRS.
SRMC President and Program Manager Dave Olson said recruiting and training the right people for these positions is crucial to the future of the site’s liquid waste program.
"These students have proven that they want to be an important part of the liquid waste team at SRS," said SRMC President and Program Manager Dave Olson. "We are extremely pleased to have this partnership with Aiken Technical College, which helps us strengthen our team while providing important job opportunities for the local workforce."
As part of the operator-related training, students participated in SRS regulatory courses, facility training and other requirements. The workers attended two days of classes each week and worked at SRS the other two days.
ATC President Forest Mahan says his school is serving as an important link between businesses and students who seek a technical career.
"One of the goals of a strong technical college like ours is to partner with businesses in our community to produce high quality workers to fill their job opportunities," Mahan said. "Nuclear fundamentals training will provide a career level for these students that they might never have dreamed of reaching before."
The second group of employee trainees is scheduled to be hired and begin the certificate program in January.
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