Sun, May 19, 2024

SRS apprentice program is a win-win

In 2020, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) and the Lower Savannah Council of Governments (LSCOG) established an apprenticeship program to address attrition levels and create a pipeline that supports a healthy and thriving workforce. After expanding site-wide, the SRS Apprenticeship School has successfully graduated over 530 apprentices – 91% of which have accepted full-time positions at the Site.

“When multiple dedicated organizations come together, there is nothing we can’t accomplish,” said Dorian Newton, Acting Director, Savannah River Site Training. “Since the start of our partnership, LSCOG has supported over 24 registered apprenticeship occupations and contributed to workforce development at SRS.”

“It’s a win-win for all involved,” said Booboo Roberts, SRNS Program Manager, Apprenticeship School and Pipeline Programs. “Our collaboration with economic development organizations like LSCOG, WORC, and Apprenticeship Carolina has ensured the financial stability for our apprenticeship program initiatives that benefit the local community, area technical colleges, and SRS contractors.”

Apprenticeships allow companies to establish a learning pathway for participants while they pursue technical education and obtain paid on-the-job experience. Through this partnership, funds from LSCOG have been used to enroll 75 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) participants and have provided over $42,000 in supportive services to the program.

“This partnership continues to serve as an employment solution with local, regional, and state-wide impact,” said William Molnar, LSCOG Executive Director. “We are proud to support these programs as they improve access and success for diverse populations – leading to lifelong careers at the Savannah River Site.”

The Lower Savannah Council of Governments has provided key support for the SRS Apprenticeship School. Front row: André Anderson, LSCOG Workforce Development Administrator; Heidi Croft, Eckard Connects Career Coach; SRNS Apprentices Jaxsen Briatico, Laura Burgess, and Jovonna Hazel; Abigail Bowman, SRNS College Partnership and Pipeline Development Lead; and BooBoo Roberts, SRNS Program Manager, Apprenticeship School and Pipeline Programs. Back row: SRNS Apprentices Dustin Bates, Brandon Watkins, Anthony Wiles, Scottie Tarver and Stephen Young Jr.

Established in 1967, LSCOG serves Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Calhoun and Orangeburg counties. Apprentices that live in the region are enrolled in WIOA– which funds the LSCOG-Workforce Division— to support their participation in the SRS Apprenticeship School. These funds are used for supportive and wrap-around services to include tools, uniforms, travel vouchers, and need-related payments.

“The support we receive from LSCOG Workforce Development is incredibly beneficial to our program and the important missions we serve for the Department of Energy,” said Sean Alford, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer. “Our collective efforts have resulted in a viable workforce and job opportunities that will continue to help fill a wide range of positions with qualified candidates.”

Several of the region’s two-year post-secondary institutions participate in the SRS Apprenticeship School, including Aiken Technical College, Denmark Technical College, and Augusta Technical College. Future plans are underway to incorporate Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College as a participating institution. SRS apprenticeships continue to provide a highly successful alternative or compliment to a traditional four-year degree program.

For more information about the SRS Apprenticeship School, click here.

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