Nuclear Workforce Development Program Begins

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Chattanooga State Community College

The inaugural class of nuclear professionals from the Tennessee Valley Authority began training Monday in a new workforce development program offered by Chattanooga State Community College.

The students will complete a rigorous 20-week program to achieve a Senior Reactor Operator (SRO) Management Certification. The new certificate program builds on Chattanooga States existing relationship with TVA, which has hired a number of students who have completed one of the related engineering technology programs in Nuclear Power or Radiation Protection. The new SRO Certification program gives Chattanooga State a superb opportunity to showcase what we can do to build the skills and knowledge that nuclear power employees need to prepare for the industrys future, said Engineering Technology Dean Tim McGhee. It is also the first opportunity for us to use the new nuclear reactor control room simulators we installed this spring, which were made possible by a grant provided by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, he adds. The grant award of $960,550, part of a total of $1,290,786 in workforce development grants provided by Governor Haslam in 2013, funded equipment for the colleges new nuclear plant stimulation lab and an expansion of its advanced mechatronics program. The grant is part of Haslams Drive to 55 effort to increase the number of Tennesseans with postsecondary credentials. To supplement its new simulator, Chattanooga State has brought in new full-time and adjunct faculty drawn directly from the nuclear power industry to ensure the SRO Certification program focuses on real-world applications that can enhance the safety and reliability of nuclear power. SRO Management Certification is a nuclear industry program designed to give qualified, experienced nuclear employees similar knowledge and skills as the individuals who are responsible for controlling and operating nuclear power plants, said Brian Finn, TVA Nuclear general manager of training. While individuals who hold SRO Management Certification are not licensed to operate a plant, the program provides an in-depth understanding of the technical requirements needed for safe reliable operation. According to Dean McGhee, our relationship with TVA dates back to the origins of Chattanooga State many years ago. It is only fitting that we enter this new phase of our longstanding partnership as the College prepares to celebrate its 50-year anniversary. For more information about Chattanooga States nuclear training programs, visit or call 423-697-4434.