Members of UCOR’s management team receive the “Top Workplaces” award from the Knoxville News Sentinel. In its first year participating in the awards program, the contractor placed second among the region’s large businesses.
Members of UCOR’s management team receive the “Top Workplaces” award from the Knoxville News Sentinel. In its first year participating in the awards program, the contractor placed second among the region’s large businesses.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. – Investing in the workforce of the future to accomplish EM’s mission in Oak Ridge has garnered impressive results: cleanup contractor UCOR was recently named one of the “Top Workplaces” in the region by the Knoxville News Sentinel.

The award came from a confidential, third-party survey of the EM contractor’s 2,000-member workforce and will now serve as a tool to continue attracting top talent for workforce development.

More than 50% of the UCOR workforce responded to the survey, providing nearly 2,900 comments. Workers rated the company on engagement factors, culture drivers and more. That feedback provides a window into the opportunities and challenges faced by many EM contractors and subcontractors working to retain existing workforces while also recruiting in a highly competitive environment.

“This is such a credit to our team that works so hard to deliver the cleanup mission of the Department of Energy,” said UCOR President and CEO Ken Rueter. “One of the strongest things that came out of the survey was how much our workforce appreciates our dedication to keeping them safe. Safety is essential to the type of work we do — cleaning up deteriorating, contaminated facilities on the Oak Ridge Reservation.”

This was UCOR’s first time participating in the “Top Workplaces” awards, joining 100 regional companies vying for the designation. UCOR ranked second out of all large businesses, which are categorized as having more than 500 employees. The company also captured the Top Workplaces “Training Culture Award’ based on workforce feedback about the level and quality of training provided.

“The attention, energy and resources UCOR has invested to become a top workplace benefits our mission greatly,” said Oak Ridge Office of EM Acting Manager Laura Wilkerson. “They are helping attract the best skill and talent in the industry for us to continue advancing complex cleanup efforts at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Y-12 National Security Complex.”

In addition to feeling safe on the job, UCOR workforce members indicated that EM’s work is important to them.

Now, with employee feedback in hand, the company is developing an action plan to maintain momentum as a top workplace.

“We know that to compete for talent in a tight regional and national job market, we need to be as dedicated to employees as they are to us,” Rueter said. “We have some great tools in place to listen to our workforce so that we can keep moving our mission forward in the safest possible way.”