Hector Balderas, president, Northern New Mexico College (far left) and Brad Smith, president and general manager, Newport News Nuclear BWXT (far right) celebrate the graduation of students Milnor Branch (left) and Dominic Montaño (right).
MCLEAN, Va., (Oct. 19, 2023) — Two HII (NYSE: HII) partnerships recently celebrated important milestones that illustrate HII’s commitment to building and supporting the education and training of a future nuclear workforce.
The Newport News Nuclear BWXT (N3B) Nuclear Operator Apprenticeship Program (NOAP) in Los Alamos, New Mexico hosted graduation ceremonies for students. N3B is a joint venture owned by HII Nuclear, a business unit of HII, and BWX Technologies, and executes the Los Alamos Cleanup Contract for the Department of Energy (DOE).
In addition, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) began its twentieth apprenticeship program with the introduction of a new mechanical engineering discipline. SRNS, a Fluor and HII joint venture, is responsible for the management and operations of DOE’s Savannah River Site, located near Aiken, South Carolina.
These apprenticeship programs illustrate HII’s significant investments in local communities to build the skilled and motivated workforce required to ensure nuclear programs protect the community and environment surrounding the nuclear site.
“Investing in workforce development to safely and successfully support all aspects of nuclear projects is of vital importance to HII for multiple reasons, spanning from environmental stewardship, to economic growth to societal well-being,” stated Michael Lempke, president, HII Nuclear. “For nations and companies alike, sustainable growth is reliant on a constantly evolving workforce that can meet current demands and anticipate future challenges.”
The N3B apprenticeship program began in 2020 and is offered in conjunction with the Northern New Mexico College (NNMC) and its applied science in nuclear operations associate degree program. N3B pays tuition and related education expenses for its apprentices who earn that degree.
NNMC developed its associate degree program in partnership with N3B and incorporated the curriculum into the apprenticeship program.
The two recent graduates of the NNMC program are full-time N3B employees who received full employment benefits during their on-the-job training. They will now monitor safety compliance, support daily operations, and manage inspections as part of the DOE’s commitment to clean up legacy waste at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).
The SRNS apprenticeship program and the new mechanical engineering discipline are part of an ongoing commitment to create innovative workforce development at SRS. The Mechanical Engineering Apprenticeship Program is designed for college students who are enrolled in an accredited engineering degree program. Students receive paid on-the-job experience while completing approximately 1,000 hours per year on competency-based and job-related training. Graduates from the apprenticeship program receive a nationally recognized credential from the U.S. Department of Labor and an opportunity of full-time employment with SRNS.
“As the largest employer in many of the communities in which we operate, HII believes that businesses share in the responsibility of developing a skilled workforce. We prioritize attracting, training and retaining top talent to deliver on our critically important missions,” Lempke stated.
Across the company HII invests more than $110 million a year in workforce development, education and training initiatives, including:
- – Apprentice schools at our Newport News and Ingalls Shipyards
- – Academic partnerships with two- and four-year colleges and universities
- – Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) investments in elementary, middle and high schools.
Information on the N3B’s Apprenticeship Program is available here: https://n3b-la.com/apprenticeship-program
Information on the Savanah River Site Apprenticeship School is available here: https://www.srs.gov/general/outreach/apprenticeship/apprenticeship_school.htm
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