It’s been said numerous times, but it’s worth repeating: Up to 35 percent of the incumbent nuclear work force may be eligible to retire within five years. Another 11 percent of the work force may be lost through other attrition over the same period.
The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) in Prince Frederick County, Maryland, has taken the lead to replace these workers with with the
introduction of a targeted Nuclear Engineering Technology (NET) degree program, which started this Fall semester with 18 students. Students who graduate from this program with at least a 3.0, and no grade lower than a B, will receive certification from Constellation’s nuclear training department and the National Academy of Nuclear Training, enabling them to work at any nuclear plant in the country.
In addition, anticipating the growing need for qualified technicians, last week CSM unveiled the plans for a new building, to be complete by June 2012, of which 3,000 square feet will house classrooms and laboratories excluseively for the Center for Nuclear Energy Training. With the constant need for qualified employees at the several nuclear energy facilities all within a few hours’ drive, and UniStar’s planned facility at Calvert Cliffs, there is a strong demand for high-quality training programs. Wilson H. Parran (D), president of the Calvert County Board of County Commissions stated that this two-year program will “ultimately provide the expertise needed to achieve employment in an industry that leads to jobs paying good wages, and keeps jobs from being outsourced.”
As George Gellrich, Vice President of Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant, stated, “The Southern Maryland Community has been so supportive of nuclear energy and of Calvert Cliffs, it only makes sense that we grow our workforce locally, in the same community that we call home.”
Nuclear utilities around the country are working closely with institutions of higher learning to educate and train the future engineers and technicians. Constellation Energy Nuclear Group, LLC and the College of Southern Maryland realize that a strong partnership means the continuation of qualified, skilled, well-paid careers in the nuclear industry, and the long-term economic success for our country.