Faces of the Recovery Act: Jobs at Savannah River Site

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The Savannah River Site in Aiken, SC has been able to create/save thousands of jobs through the Recovery Act. These are the stories of just a few of the new hires.
Skila Harris, Doug Clark, Bill Picciano, Kelli Culpepper, Nancy Cole,
Energy Department Video

SKILA HARRIS:  We understand the health risks associated with radioactivity much better today than we did 50 years ago.  And at the sites where this country was developing its weapons, we were not responsible in how we handled those materials.  The recovery act has allowed us to accelerate the clean-up, hire a lot more people so we can return these sites to the way that they were, and benefit the community, while at the same time giving people jobs.

MR.     :  All right, ready?


            Name’s Doug Clark, and hired out of here on June 30th, 2009, and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has been a godsend to me and my family.  I was in the forest products industry, had a good job for 28 years, and then we got laid off about two years ago and it’s been hard finding a job.

BILL PICCIANO:  I got started back in 19 – I’m sorry, 2007.  I got laid off from Boral Brick, spent about three months looking for work then, and then I found a job under a contract with no insurance, and it was a year contract.  And I actually spent a year and three months before I got let go from there.

KELLI CULPEPPER:  I was unemployed for a year.  Before that, I spent six years working on the commercial side as a chemistry technician at a place, Colleger Eston (ph), up in Morris, Illinois.  And I left there because I was working a rotating shift – I’m a single mother, three kids – and on the verge of my second divorce.

NANCY COLE:  I’ve been out of work for two years, and I’ve been doing some odd jobs over that time.  I have three kids, and I’m a single mom.  And it was really hard.  We had to rely on other people to give us food, and we even lost our home.  It was really bad.

MR. CLARK:  Got a son going to college, just started last year, and this is his second year, so we wondered how we were going to get him in school and keep him in school.  And of course, things really getting tight, as far as the bills and all.  So –

MR. PICCIANO:  We started running out of money at the house.  We didn’t have insurance.  I ended up putting the kids on Medicaid so they could stay covered.  And we had pretty much made our last house payment in May and ran out of money, and we were trying to figure out where we were going to get the next house payment for June.  And the last week of June, NX, Incorporated, who I worked through, called and offered me a job as a logistics expeditor.  So I told them I’d take it just because I needed the work and I needed to keep my family out of hock.

  We started with some checks finally rolling in, and we’ve still got to get some things in line.  But we pretty much got our house now back on track and all that good stuff. 

MR. CLARK:  Now that this has come along, it’s really, really made a difference in our family.

RAHMEL OLIVER:   It’s like you’re walking different or, you know, you can – not that you were sitting down, but you can really stand up and, you know, just – I’m glad of the opportunity.

MS. COLE:  I’m a radiological control inspector.  I keep people safe.

MR. OLIVER:  I mean, you’ve got a chance.

MR. CLARK:  It just gives you a lot of pride to be able to wake up in the morning and know you’ve got not just a job, but a good job, and you can come to work and provide for your families, and that’s a real good feeling.

MR. PICCIANO:  Hi, my name is Bill Picciano.  I was hired June 7th, 2009.

MS. COLE:  Nancy Cole, I started June 15th, 2009.

MS. CULPEPPER:  Kelli Culpepper, August 3rd, 2009.

MR. OLIVER:  Hi, my name is Ramel Oliver.  I was hired on August 24th, 2009.

MR. CLARK:  Doug Clark, June 30th, 2009.