Students Preparing for High-Paying Jobs in Calvert

CSM Opens Center for Nuclear Energy Training in Prince Frederick

LA PLATA, Md. (November, 16, 2010)—This fall, 18 students began working toward the College of Southern Maryland’s new associate’s degree in Nuclear Engineering Technology: Instrumentation and Control (NET). With both an academic and industrial focus, the degree program will provide training necessary to install, test and maintain components and control systems in nuclear power plants-training that could lead to jobs where employees can earn from $48,000 to $60,000 a year as a result of the 20-year license extension at Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant (CCNPP) and as current employees retire. The skills acquired through the NET program are transportable to other fossil fuel energy companies as well.

At a ribbon-cutting celebration Sept. 21, CSM officially opened the Center for Nuclear Energy Training (CNET) where students will take Introduction to Power Plant Principles and Nuclear Theory, Semiconductors, Basic Electronics, and Electrical Systems Documentation and Standards.

The process of implementing the new program began when the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) asked nuclear power companies to pick a community college partner that could work with them to develop a curriculum for training technicians, said CSM President Dr. Brad Gottfried.

“Constellation came to us and said, ‘We want you to work with us,’” Gottfried said, “They provided funds--over $300,000 in equipment and scholarships--to help us get started.”

“This is a textbook example of partnerships,” said Gottfried. Through partnerships with Constellation Energy Nuclear Group LLC (CENG), the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the NEI and other industry organizations, CSM is poised through its NET program to train area workers for high-paying career opportunities, with the possibility to earn an industry issued credential--a certificate that is recognized by nuclear power plants nationwide, Gottfried said.

Ten students currently in the NET program have each received $5,000 in scholarships; $3,750 from the NRC and $1,250 from CENG.

“NRC scholarships provide the opportunity for students to receive excellent education and training in nuclear engineering technology, enabling the U.S. nuclear industry to call upon a well-trained workforce to operate nuclear plants with the highest degree of safety,” said John Gutteridge, manager of the NRC’s Nuclear Education Grant program.

CCNPP Site Vice President George Gellrich, who spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, said that the 892 people who currently work at the plant are the core of the company’s strength. Unfortunately, he added, most of the workforce is “getting up in age” with 50 percent of workers eligible to retire in the next five years.

“This program comes at a really great time,” said Gellrich. “When you look at where the country is situated right now with energy, we have a big challenge ahead of us. We not only need nuclear energy, we need any type of energy we can get--solar, fossil, wind and the like. Here at the College of Southern Maryland you’ve had the vision that we can become a satellite of very important training for the nuclear industry. Not just for Calvert County, but for the country. And we’ll set a model for the rest of the country as to what other plants can do.”

“The process that started with developing curriculum and setting up state-of-the-art learning labs is now ready for our students,” said CSM Vice President of Academic Affairs Debra Tervala. “The opportunity for students to take classes and to get hands-on training on equipment that mirrors what program graduates will face on the job is exciting.”

NET scholarship recipient Ron Wilkinson of Barstow, agrees, “It’s nice to have a dedicated training center specifically for this program and it will be good to have a place to train that replicates a working environment.”

The CNET is located at a temporary facility south of the Prince Frederick Campus until the proposed Prince Frederick Campus Building 2 with dedicated classroom and lab space for the NET program is completed in 2012.

For information on the NET program, visit

Source: CSM

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