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A teachers group organized by the Buckeye Hills Career Center prepares for a driving tour of the Portsmouth Site.

A teachers group organized by the Buckeye Hills Career Center prepares for a driving tour of the Portsmouth Site.

Area teachers talk with officials at the Portsmouth Site about employment needs in surrounding southern Ohio communities.

Area teachers talk with officials at the Portsmouth Site about employment needs in surrounding southern Ohio communities.

PIKETON, Ohio – Twenty-seven area high school teachers recently visited EM’s Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant Site as part of a training program in career counseling.

   The program allows southern Ohio teachers to interact with local employers to identify jobs for area high school graduates and what skills and education those jobs will require.

   The Buckeye Hills Career Center organized the trip. The center includes a vocational school and adult education center offering a wide variety of career and technical programs. Buckeye Hills was able to organize the journey as the pilot school for a new state-funded program in career counseling designed to build awareness of career clusters and career plans available to area students.

   "EM and Fluor-BWXT Portsmouth (FBP) are pleased to have this opportunity to work with the local community to ‎ provide them with information about the wide variety of skills we need for the decontamination and decommissioning project," said EM Federal Deactivation & Decommissioning Project Director Jud Lilly. "We have a lot of work to do here, and a lot of it does not require a college degree."

The teachers took a driving tour of the former gaseous diffusion plant and had discussions with members of the management for FBP, EM’s cleanup contractor at the site. They also talked with staff involved in environmental remediation, environmental safety, health and quality, human resources, and construction of the On-Site Waste Disposal Facility. The discussions focused on job positions at the site with growing demand in the next 5 to 10 years and their educational and technical requirements.

   “Fluor-BWXT Portsmouth provided a powerful message promoting skilled craft and technical employment opportunities to our surrounding counties’ educators who will stimulate students forward thinking of jobs that do not necessarily require a four-year degree,” said Jamie Conway, training and career development coordinator for Buckeye Hills. “The feedback from the teachers reflected the message was inspiring and eye opening.”

   According to FBP Senior Human Resources Manager Bess Evans, the company is actively forming relationships with southern Ohio academic facilities. FBP also works with Pike County Career Technology Center, and has partnered with Pike and Scioto county vocational schools to create training programs for trades, including electrical and welding.