National Nuclear Security Administration

NNSA to Provide Millions to Develop Future Regional Workforce

June 17, 2019

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NNSA Administrator Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty announces plans for supporting development of the future workforce

AIKEN, S.C. – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has announced an additional $5 million investment in developing the future workforce to carry out vital missions at the Savannah River Site (SRS).

Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty, Under Secretary for Nuclear Security of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Administrator of the NNSA, announced that the agency will provide a new contribution of $1 million per year for the next five years through a local nonprofit that supports programs at five post-secondary education institutions in the region around SRS.

“For nearly 70 years, the men and women at Savannah River Site have played a critical role in our Nation’s defense. The schools here in the Central Savannah River Area have been instrumental in preparing that workforce,” said Administrator Gordon-Hagerty. “As many of you know, our mission at Savannah River Site will be growing – not decreasing.  We will continue to rely on you to train the workforce for the future.  The Department of Energy and NNSA are committed to this partnership and helping sustain the great work being done.”

The investment represents a 100 percent increase in the funding for the Workforce Opportunities in Regional Careers (WORC) program administered by the Savannah River Site Community Reuse Organization (SRSCRO). WORC partners with Aiken Technical College, Augusta Technical College, University of South Carolina – Aiken, Augusta University, and the University of South Carolina – Salkehatchie to support NNSA and DOE - Environmental Management (DOE-EM) long-term workforce needs, with focus on SRS missions. Administrator Gordon-Hagerty announced the increase during an event at Aiken Technical College on June 17, flanked by leadership from the five educational institutions and the SRSCRO. She was also joined by South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson and Georgia Congressman Rick W. Allen.

In 2016, NNSA and DOE-EM began working with SRSCRO to develop an avenue that would ensure a capable workforce at SRS. The result was the WORC grant, established to fund local colleges and universities in the region, to develop and retain workers with the requisite skills, experience, certifications, and proficiency across multiple scientific, engineering, technical, craft, and business support disciplines. 

Since FY16, DOE-EM and NNSA have been funding WORC at a combined total of $1 million per year. This new $1 million per year investment is in addition to that ongoing funding.

Growing NNSA missions at SRS in support of the nation’s nuclear deterrent, including the proposed plutonium pit mission and the long-standing tritium mission, prompted NNSA to enhance its efforts to develop an enduring workforce that will carry out these long-term missions.

WORC funds support students training for:

  • Industrial, Electrical, Mechanical, Chemical, Welding and Computer Technology
  • Radiation Protection Technology (RPT) & Nuclear Engineering Technology
  • Process Engineering & Computer Science
  • Environmental Remediation & Restoration Research
  • Chemistry & Physics with a concentration in Nuclear Science

For more information on the WORC Program, see: srscro.org/nuclear-workforce-initiative/college-university-programs