Apprenticeship Program at SRS Provides Training, Potential Employment for ATC Students

Staff Report

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020

Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS), the manag-ing and operating contractor at the Savannah River Site, has recently partnered with Aiken Technical College (ATC), Apprenticeship CarolinaTM (AC), and the Lower Savannah Council of Governments (LSCOG) to begin an Operator Apprenticeship program to help local students further their careers while providing a pipeline of trained and ready operators to combat rising attrition.

“Like most DOE Sites, SRS has been preparing for the impacts of an aging workforce for sev- eral years,” said SRNS Deputy Vice President of EM Operations Janice Lawson. “Not only will this program help the apprentices gain skills to help them in getting jobs but will also help provide SRNS with trained operators who can quickly backfill positions that become vacant.”

The eight-month pro- gram simultaneously allows for students to complete their class- room work and on the job training by allow- ing them to spend two days a week in the classroom and two days a week on Site. At the end of the program, if open- ings and funding are available, an operator posting for full time employment will be approved and the apprentices are then provided a preferred hiring status in the selection process.

SRNS paid the tuition for the 10 apprentices enrolled in the first round of this program. The apprentices are also paid for their time in train- ing on Site. Apprentices will learn the basic qualifications of a production operator includ- ing conduct of operations principles, radiation worker training and qualification, and how to perform shift rounds.

“I wanted the opportunity to learn something new and to grow a reputable career with a stable environment for my family,” said Operator Apprentice Kevin Thomas. “I would tell people interested in working at SRNS not to be intimidated by not having certain specific skills. All you need to have is a motivation for success and the company will train you and help you achieve your goals.”

The Operator apprenticeship program is part of Apprenticeship CarolinaTM (AC). AC is a division of the South Carolina Technical College System, leads South Carolina in registered apprentice- ship programs that help businesses and communities thrive economically. With the guidance of AC as well as the LSCOG, the operator apprenticeship program has been registered both nation- ally and in the state of South Carolina by the Department of Labor.

“We appreciate the work of the Site Training department to ensure these Operators are trained for success,” said Lawson. “We hope that this is just the beginning of apprenticeship opportuni- ties at SRS.”