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ORAU Launches STEM Accelerator To Address Challenges In STEM Education, Training, Research And Innovation

By Business Wire

Business Wire
Overall Rating

OAK RIDGE, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--America’s nuclear energy industry faces a critical problem that ORAU’s newly launched STEM Accelerator hopes to solve.

The drive toward a carbon neutral clean energy future is anticipated to spur the growth of advanced nuclear reactors that are smaller, simpler to construct, more cost-effective to operate than existing facilities and offer high-quality career opportunities. However, there is a critical shortage of the skilled professionals needed to oversee manufacturing, construction and operation of these facilities.

The ORAU STEM Accelerator (OSA) was created to help bridge this gap by convening a diverse network of two- and four-year academic institutions, industry, non-profit, professional organizations, labor unions and government partners with the aim of addressing the toughest challenges in STEM education, training, research and innovation.

“OSA will focus its work in three sectors: nuclear science and technology, space manufacturing and critical national infrastructure,” Olivia Blackmon, OSA director said. “We’re focusing on nuclear science and technology first, because the current need is so great, with a piloted program in nuclear energy.”

The U.S. nuclear energy industry faces significant challenges in attracting and retaining qualified talent.

“Retirements, retention issues, inflation, shifting demographics, etc. This is all documented from the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), and projections are suggesting worsening labor market conditions over the next decade extending into 2060,” Blackmon said, adding that something needs to be done and quickly to reverse this trend.

To that end, OSA is already plugged into some major national efforts in collaboration with the NEI and other partners to help solve these critical challenges, including:

  • Establishing a Nuclear Energy Coalition
  • Analyzing data for decision-making
  • Implementing strategic talent planning
  • Strengthening career awareness and retention
  • Establishing diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility best practices
  • Emphasizing training and certification
  • Building a sustainable pipeline

“Our goal is to drive research and development, advocate for innovative training and education solutions, shape policy, and deliver tangible outcomes to strengthen the United States STEM workforce,” Blackmon said.

To learn more about OSA, visit https://orau.org/partnerships/stem-accelerator.

Contacts

amy.schwinge@orau.org

First published on Mon, Dec 18, 2023

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Tags:

ORAU Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) Carbon Neutral Clean Energy

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