Source: Entergy Nuclear
By 2016 approximately 40 percent of the nation’s nuclear power plant workers are expected to reach retirement age. Entergy Nuclear is collaborating with Excelsior College – a nonprofit, regionally accredited distance learning institution based in Albany, N.Y. – to mitigate this potential workforce shortage and accelerate its staffing pipeline.
Under the collaborative agreement, Entergy employees and their spouses can pursue higher education at reduced tuition rates. The facility will put a particular focus on the new associate in science in nuclear technology, which is designed for students pursuing careers as nuclear plant equipment operators. The curriculum adheres to the Nuclear Energy Institute’s Nuclear Uniform Curriculum Program. Through Excelsior College, this curriculum is delivered entirely online.
“With 15,000 employees here at Entergy and about 6,000 of them in nuclear, we are excited to provide an additional opportunity to further their education and skills,” said Pete Persson, vice president of human resources operations for Entergy. “This collaborative effort with Excelsior College will not only benefit our employees, but serves as a step we are taking to prepare for our future workforce needs.”
The NUCP provides a framework within which potential plant staff can obtain the foundational knowledge of core nuclear industry topics required by the National Academy for Nuclear Training. Graduates of the program will receive a NANT certificate, allowing them to bypass selected industry training requirements.
“This collaboration is intended to develop the current workforce while also providing a ready supply of graduates with the capabilities, knowledge and training to come in and advance into technical positions,” said Dr. Jane LeClair, dean of Excelsior College’s School of Business and Technology. “With the nuclear industry at a turning point, Entergy is demonstrating the foresight necessary to lead in the coming decades."
Excelsior College is one of only 41 schools nationwide, and the only distance learning institution, to be approved for a student chapter of the American Nuclear Society. In addition to its associate program developed to meet the NUCP requirements, Excelsior’s bachelor’s program in nuclear engineering technology is accredited by the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET, Inc., a specialized accrediting agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.