DOE Funds 5-Year Grant
The local Department of Energy - Environmental Management (DOE-EM) organization, in partnership with the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) will provide $1 million a year for the next 5 years to help fill future workforce needs at the Savannah River Site (SRS).
These DOE grant dollars will help put local college students in a more favorable position to fill upcoming SRS jobs through the Workforce Opportunities in Regional Careers (WORC) program. WORC is a 5-year initiative to attract and prepare students for careers in the nuclear industry, specifically at SRS.
Funding for the WORC initiative couldn't have come at a better time. Over the next 3 to 5 years, nearly half of the Site's workers are eligible to retire. Competition to secure qualified workers is fierce throughout Georgia and South Carolina for technicians, engineers, scientists, quality specialists, mechanics, welders and production operators. So, the local workforce pool needs to grow.
"This is definitely good news for Aiken, Allendale, Barnwell, Columbia and Richmond counties," said Sanford Loyd, Chair of the SRSCRO. "There are a lot of jobs to fill over the next 5 years, and we'd like to fill them with local residents. The WORC grant will help ensure a steady supply of SRS workers for many years to come."
In an ongoing effort to springboard students toward nuclear careers, the WORC program involves Aiken Technical College, Augusta Technical College, Augusta University, University of South Carolina Aiken, and University of South Carolina Salkehatchie degree programs that are directly related to the industry. The objective of the project is to better enable students to develop critical skills needed for careers that support DOE-EM and NNSA's nuclear missions.
The SRS Community Reuse Organization and DOE, in coordination with local colleges and universities, will carry out the WORC grant under the direction of Mindy Mets, NWI® Program Manager. Collectively, they have successfully implemented a similar 5-year-grant called ANSR - Advancing Nuclear Skills Regionally.
ANSR also began with funding from DOE to help students connect with employers in the nuclear work force. More than 821 students have enrolled in ANSR programs; 159 have graduated; and 90% are working in their chosen field, many at SRS.
WORC will continue to fill the workforce pipeline needs of DOE by offering program marketing to attract students, scholarships and potential on-the-job training opportunities.
Appropriations and Budgets
The middle of May, May 15th to be exact, is when the House and Senate are required by law to have adopted a budget for the coming fiscal year. The law also allows Congress to start to adopt next year's appropriations even if it still hasn't agreed to the budget that's supposed to guide its consideration of those bills. So, the appropriations process has begun in earnest on Capitol Hill and even though Congress has not yet passed a budget, both chambers are moving forward with appropriations bills. The Senate has laid out its top line spending targets known as 302(b) allocations for the twelve Appropriations subcommittees to direct the appropriations process as provided in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (BBA). The House is pushing ahead without an official 302(b), though the House Appropriations Committee has said it will move forward with informal allocations based on the top line limit set in the BBA last year.
But even though the House and Senate are now allowed to proceed without a budget being in place, it doesn't appear that many - or perhaps any - of the fiscal 2017 appropriations will be enacted by the start of the year on October 1. If the appropriations bills are not enacted before the fiscal year begins on October 1, Congress may pass a continuing resolution, which allows for continued funding, providing additional time for completion of the appropriations process. A continuing resolution, often referred to as a CR, is a temporary bill that continues funding for all programs based on a fixed formula, usually at or at least based on the prior year funding levels. Congress can pass a CR for all or just some of the appropriations bills. CRs can increase or decrease funding and can include "anomalies," which adjust spending in certain accounts to avoid technical or administrative problems caused by continuing funding at current levels, or for other reasons.
It appears at this time, the government is headed toward another Continuing Resolution (CR) or even a "cromnibus" which is a combination of a long-term omnibus spending bill and a shorter-term continuing resolution. For SRS, due to the temporary nature of most CRs, it is difficult to plan operational work beyond the specific time limits of the funding. Work slows down because of the lack of definitive funding and inability to plan toward a specific budget. This year a new CR would benefit MOX by keeping it at the previous construction level, but the EM budget would be reduced and the much needed infrastructure funding would be inadequate.
The Big Event
The 2016 Big Event location for Nuclear Science Week (NSW) has been
! This year's event will take place in Wilmington, NC during the week of October 17-21, 2016.
"North Carolina and Wilmington in particular, is a great location to host the Big Event for Nuclear Science Week given the significant concentration of nuclear technologists in the state. A key focus this year will be showcasing how current and future nuclear technologies are harnessed for the benefit of humanity," said Derek Bass, Wilmington Big Event 2016 Chair and Lead System Engineer at GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy. "The strong regional presence of high technology enterprises in the state, such as GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, Duke Energy and North Carolina State University, provides a rich environment for innovation to bring about this benefit."
Through the support of staff members from the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History and industry partners such as Entergy, the American Nuclear Society, the Nuclear Energy Institute, the Savannah River Site Community Reuse Organization and others, a National Nuclear Science Week steering committee works to promote community engagement and education regarding the contributions of the nuclear science industry and those who work in it every day. Events are held throughout the country, and any community is invited to get involved and host a Nuclear Science Week celebration. Each year a different city is chosen to host a "Big Event" and smaller celebrations take place throughout the country.
Plans are already in progress for the South Carolina and Georgia region that includes the Savannah River Site, Plant Vogtle and V.C. Summer. Site tours, Education Days, the CNTA Annual Edward Teller Lecture and STEM Career Connections are all part of the exciting week ahead. Click
for more information about these events.
A group of local leaders made its annual spring trip to Washington, D.C. just last week. The annual trip to Washington is a collaborative effort between the Augusta, North Augusta, Aiken, and Columbia County Chambers of Commerce.
This trip allowed approximately thirty regional leaders to make the trek to our nation's capital for three days of visits to have their collective voice heard. During the trip, the leaders meet with Senators and Congressmen and staffers from both South Carolina and Georgia. In addition, trips are made to government agencies with a community presence and impact such as the Department of Energy and the Pentagon. As noted by Teresa Hass, representing SRNS, the size of the group along with the expertise and organizations /institutions represented is impressive and does make a difference with our appointed and elected officials.
Leaders with direct ties to the SRSCRO included Sue Parr, David Jameson, Dr. Sandra Jordan, Terra Carroll, Tammy Shepherd, and Rick McLeod.
1. Five Colleges and Universities in Georgia and South Carolina partnered with the SRSCRO and DOE to establish the ANSR grant program in 2010.
2. Since 2010, 5 new degree programs have been established in the region to support nuclear workforce needs. These are the Nuclear Quality Systems Associate Degree and Nuclear Welding Degree at Aiken Technical College, the Chemical Technology Associate Degree and Nuclear Career Advisement at Augusta Technical College, Nuclear Science Tracks in Chemistry and Physics Degrees at Augusta University, Environmental Remediation and Restoration Biology Specialized Degree at University of SC Aiken, and STEM Programs at University of SC Salkehatchie.
3. The cumulative student enrollment in ANSR programs is 821 students to date.
4. As of February 2016, 159 students have graduated from ANSR degree programs.
5. Already, 143 students (90%) have accepted jobs in local industry.
6. More than 3854 students have participated in quality STEM programs through ANSR.
7. Because of the ANSR grant, there are newly established collaborations with local employers and new opportunities for student internships.
8. Student scholarships are allowing non-traditional students to attend the colleges full-time and complete degrees.