AIKEN, S.C. – The Savannah River Site’s (SRS) liquid waste contractor for the EM program has established a new partnership with a South Carolina technical school to train students for critical roles while continuing their education.
The new initiative establishes a co-op program between Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College and Savannah River Mission Completion (SRMC) that aims to prepare students for potential employment at SRS. The co-op program gives participants the opportunity to be trained by senior employees and put their classroom knowledge to practice in a unique work environment.
The pilot year of the program is specifically for electrical and instrumentation (E&I) mechanics, a role necessary for maintaining and repairing equipment that support EM liquid waste facilities.
During the program, students are enrolled in school while working full time at SRMC. Even though they are not taking classes, they are able to earn credits required for graduation. Students’ tenure at SRMC also allows them the opportunity to be mentored one on one by employees who have extensive experience.
The pilot year of the program will open doors for more students and technical schools, a win-win for those involved, according to SRMC President and Program Manager Dave Olson.
“This new partnership with Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College is a step in the right direction for filling vital roles in the liquid waste program,” Olson said. “The combination of education and onsite experience will equip students for their careers while providing SRMC with potential job candidates. Graduates of technical colleges are integral to moving our mission forward.”
The first co-op participant, Robert Ott, is working with E&I mechanics in the SRS Tank Farms, where liquid waste is stored before being removed for disposition. Ott decided to pursue the E&I field after a lifelong interest in all things electrical.
“I chose SRMC because of the opportunity to learn and gain experience in the E&I field,” Ott said. “An added benefit is that I’ll receive training in nuclear-specific areas, like how to work in radiological areas.”
Ott’s favorite part of the co-op? The work environment.
“Everyone here is willing to lend a helping hand,” Ott said. “I had heard people say that this is a great place to work — and they were right.”
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