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SRS, Denmark Tech create paid apprenticeship program

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Savannah River Nuclear Solutions and Denmark Technical College have created a paid internship program to train Savannah River Site nuclear operators.

The apprenticeships, open to area residents and students from local colleges and universities, involve nuclear operations, radiation control, maintenance and other positions typically requiring a technical school certificate or bachelor’s degree, according to a news release.

The program has registered 139 apprentices across 15 occupations, the release said. About 20% of those have become full-service employees.

“We’re continually looking for new opportunities to expand this initiative,” Dorian Newton, program manager, apprenticeship and pipeline training at SRS, said in the release. “We’re currently assisting the president of Denmark Technical College, who has expressed a strong desire to partner with SRNS, to develop an apprenticeship program that will meet the needs of their students in the area of nuclear operations. This, of course, will help achieve one our company’s most pressing objectives: creating a strong employee pipeline filled with qualified candidates possessing a wide variety of skills and talent who can begin their careers at SRS ready to productively contribute while requiring a minimum of additional training.”

Denmark Tech is a two-year college that primarily serves Bamberg, Barnwell and Allendale counties.

“We’re mirroring a highly successful and robust program at Denmark Tech that was established at Aiken Technical College years ago. We want to pass on the benefits of that program to the students attending Denmark Tech as well,” said Janéssa Smith with SRNS human resources. “Building this program at Denmark Tech is also highly desired because of the valuable resources DTC’s students bring to our workforce.”

When not attending classes at Denmark Tech, each student works two days a week at SRS, earning a competitive starting salary.

“Financially, this is an optimum situation for participating students seeking apprenticeships as nuclear operators,” Newton said. “They receive a paycheck from SRNS, while in many cases, much of their college-related expenses will be covered by grants through the school and other local resources, in partnership with the Lower Savannah Council of Governments, such as tuition, purchasing books and paying fees.”

Denmark Tech is now accepting applications for fall 2022 classes associated with the Nuclear Operators Certificate.

“At the least, they (students) will earn transferable credentials issued by the U.S. Department of Labor for graduating students of this program that are recognized by multiple organizations nationally. … Our desire is to hire everyone who completes this apprenticeship program,” Smith said.

Reach Melinda Waldrop at 803-726-7542.

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