Augusta Technical College is receiving a $264,000 grant from the state of Georgia’s Office of Workforce Development.
The funds are through the office’s “Apprenticeships for Economic Recovery Grant,” also called the “Apprenticeship Grant.” It provides funding for eligible Registered Apprenticeship Programs (RAPs) across the state. The goal is to support post-pandemic economic recovery.
Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) has accepted the role of apprenticeship sponsor.
“The SRS apprenticeship School is excited to expand our existing technical school partnerships to include Augusta Technical College,” stated Dr. Dorian G. Newton, Deputy Director of Site Training at the Savannah River Site. “Through this new partnership, we hope to better provide apprenticeship opportunities that improve access and success for diverse populations in both Georgia and South Carolina which lead to new, challenging lifelong careers.”
The grant will support up to 60 apprentices by covering expenses including tuition, fees, books, tools, supplies, and assessment in technical instruction and on-the-job training.
“It just gives them a great opportunity to join that pipeline of workers. They’re going to have an opportunity to join a program that’s already set up, to put them in a job at the end of the apprenticeship,” explained Julie Langham, Vice President of Economic Development at Augusta Tech. “They really have hands-on training while they’re going through the apprenticeship. They’re getting the hands-on training at the site and they’re getting that classroom instruction that backs up the on-the-job training.”
The 2023 list of Top States to do Business, released in October by Area Development magazine, ranks Georgia number one for the 10th year in a row. Among the categories upon which the rankings are based is workforce development. Georgia was number one in that category.
“Georgia sits atop the list of states with the best workforce training opportunities,” wrote the magazine. “At the heart is the state’s Quick Start program. It’s offered through the Technical College System of Georgia and delivers customized training targeted at new and expanding businesses. Companies in manufacturing, biotechnology, information technology, and other sectors need tech-savvy workers with specific skills, and this program has helped attract those businesses to Georgia.”
In the SRNS apprenticeship program, students will complete 530 hours of classroom instruction along with 480 hours of on-the-job training. Studies will include mechanical science, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and process control.
The SRNS Apprenticeship School helps build a workforce pipeline for various missions at the Savannah River Site (SRS), including the managing and operating contractor at the site, as well as for Savannah River Mission Completion (SRMC), the liquid waste contractor, and the Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL).
Langham said the program at Augusta Tech will begin in January 2024 with a cohort of 20 students. She said they would like to start with two cohorts, and they are currently looking to hire an additional instructor to make that possible.
This is the second partnership agreement Augusta Tech has developed this year with the Savannah River Site (SRS).
On Sept. 5, the school signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL), one of the missions on the site. That creates technician apprenticeships and workforce development needed to fill current and future job openings with SRNL.
The apprenticeship technician pathways program will launch in January 2024.
SRNL is the applied research and development laboratory for the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management. It focuses on national and international energy issues, the environment, and national security.