For Immediate Release
Contact: Sonya Johnson
OAK RIDGE, Tennessee, Aug. 15, 2019 – Workforce development is at the heart of a new partnership between UCOR, an AECOM-led partnership with Jacobs, and Pellissippi State Community College. The collaboration is focused on ensuring that Oak Ridge has a continuing pipeline of trained, qualified workers for environmental cleanup and other future industry needs.
To launch the partnership, UCOR is contributing $100,000 toward construction of a new math and science building at Tennessee’s largest community college. As part of the partnership, other programs are in the works to strengthen small businesses and the broader workforce. On August 13, UCOR and Pellissippi sponsored a Small Business Diversity Summit that presented information from global companies about building more diverse and inclusive workforces. UCOR is also developing a speaker series at Pellissippi State targeted to small businesses that will address workforce safety management, including lessons learned from the company’s high-risk work in the DOE Complex. UCOR and Pellissippi are currently exploring developing an Industrial Hygiene program that would help provide local industry with often hard-to-find professionals in this field.
As the Department of Energy’s lead cleanup contractor in Oak Ridge, UCOR employs 1,800 workers, many of whom are employees for small business subcontractors. ” Ken Rueter, UCOR president and chief executive officer, explained the company’s commitment to workforce development, “With decades of environmental cleanup remaining in Oak Ridge, companies like ours will continue to need a well-trained, highly-skilled workforce.” Rueter added, “We view Pellissippi State as a vital partner in making sure these future workers are available.”
With the rapidly changing demographics of the regional workforce, there is a growing need for new workers and a corresponding need to train them. That requires expanding existing classroom and laboratory space for that training.
Pellissippi State is meeting that need with the new Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science, an 82,000-square-foot facility being made possible by contributions like that from UCOR as well as state funding.
“We appreciate UCOR’s support for Pellissippi State and for higher education in general,”
Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise, Jr. said. “The need is great. Some of our laboratories are at full capacity 12 hours a day, five days a week. The new building will double the capacity of many of Pellissippi
State’s core courses.”
Located on the Hardin Valley campus in Knoxville, the new building will provide 18 classrooms, six computer labs, and nine science labs as well as a teacher education center. Ground was broken for the project in May. It is expected to open for classes in 2021.
Wise said the new math and science center is part of the largest expansion of Pellissippi State’s facilities in 44 years. Groundbreaking is planned for later this year for a new 62,000-square-foot workforce development center on the college’s Blount County Campus in Friendsville.
UCOR is responsible for cleanup of DOE’s East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP), former home of the Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant, and other parts of the Oak Ridge Reservation. The company is supporting DOE in transforming ETTP into a multi-use industrial park that will be home to new job-producing industries.
UCOR NR 2019-05