AUGUSTA, Ga. - WITH AN AGING WORKFORCE IN THE AREA, TRAINING HIGHLY SKILLED WORKERS IS CRITICAL. A NEW GRANT IS HELPING AUGUSTA TECHnical College fill those gaps and MOVE THE ENERGY WORKFORCE FORWARD, WITH THE HELP OF A LOCAL PARTNER.

AUGUSTA TECHnical College's NUCLEAR ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM IS THE ONLY ASSOCIATe of APpLIed SCIENCE PROGRAM IN THE STATE AND ONE OF only 23 minority serving institutions to offer it IN THE NATION.

DR. MELISSA FRANK Alston, PROVOST of Augusta technical college, SAYS THE PROGRAM IS ABOUT TO ENHANCE EVEN MORE FOR STUDENTS. The college announced in early January it received A $500,000 GRANT FROM THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY.

IN COLLABORATION WITH SAVANNAH RIVER NATIONAL LABORATORY, AUGUSTA TECHnical College is improving ITS NUCLEAR ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM CURRICULUM. Highlights will include A NEW COURSE, AN APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM, SITE VISITS AND A SUMMER INTERNSHIP PROGRAM.

“SRNL WILL BE PART OF SOME OF OUR CAREER FAIRs, THEY’LL BE DOING LUNCH AND LEARNS, THEY’LL TOUR OUR STUDENTS," Dr. Frank-alston says. "THE STUDENTS WILL HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO REALLY ENGAGE THE STAFF, THEY CAN ANSWER QUESTIONS THAT STUDENTS HAVE PARTICULARly ABOUT CAREER OPPORTUNITIES AND WHAT IT’S LIKE TO WORK AT THE SITE.”

THE GRANT HAS ALSO GAINED ATTENTION FROM THE BIDEN-HARRIS ADMINiSTRATION FOR ITS COMMITMENT TO ADVANCED MANUFAcTURING.

Dr. Frank-alston says students are eager for the new opportunity. “THEy're VERY EXCITED, THEy're VERY HAPPY," she says. "ANYTIME WE HAVE OPPORTUNITIES FOR OUR STUDENTS, THEy're VERY EXCITED.”

Currently, THE PROGRAMS RETENTION RATE IS 75%, BUT THEY ANTICIPATE THE NEW course WILL ATTRACT EVEN MORE STUDENTS. “WE REALLY TRY TO RECRUIT AND RETAIN STUDENTS HERE BECAUSE WE KNOW THEY WILL HAVE GREAT JOBS AS TECHNICIANS," Dr. frank-alston says. "SO, THERE’S A NUMBER OF OPPORTUNITIES, ESPECIALLY AS WE SEE IN MANY OF THE SITES THAT PEOPLE ARE RETIRING.”

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