AIKEN -- U.S. House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn was joined recently by Savannah River Site officials and representatives from all eight of South Carolina’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to discuss existing and potential partnerships.
The goal for the gathering was to ensure the growing workforce at SRS reflects the diversity of our state by creating and strengthening meaningful partnerships between public and private entities at SRS and South Carolina’s HBCUs. The summit’s speakers discussed developing talent in South Carolina, professional recruitment and training, and existing partnerships. The event concluded with a memorandum of understanding signing between Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, South Carolina State University,and Claflin University.
Denmark Technical College signed an MOU with Savannah River Remediation in October that provided a formal avenue for collaboration as well as opportunities to expose students to career opportunities at SRS.
“There are students from rural communities who are gifted and want to learn, but with no opportunity,” Clyburn said. “We’ve got to be a little more innovative and what better way than to start right here at this facility. Let’s decide that we are going to devise the ways and means to make it work. All we need is a chance for these young people and they are relying on us to help them.”
The MOU outlines opportunities for scholarships, curriculum development, faculty engagement, and pathways for employment that will be provided to qualifying students and schools.
“These are specific about what we’re going to do and what we could use from the universities to be able to make these partnerships work,” said Stuart MacVean, president and CEO of Savannah River Nuclear Solutions. “I’m looking forward to kicking things off and making them work for students.”
The MOUs feature internship opportunities for students in a wide range of potential careers involving business administration, operations and STEM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) professions.
The MOUs also commit SRNS talent management professionals to make campus visits at both universities for resume-building workshops as well as interview skills development and career exploration sessions.
“Beyond giving our students an opportunity to be here we’ve had an opportunity to have a faculty member work on our campus to help train our students,” said Dr. Willie Todd, President of Denmark Technical College. “They have assisted us in purchasing equipment for our campus which has been very beneficial. This is really a good opportunity for our students.”
“These MOUs will ensure students graduate with a high degree of confidence that they will be successful in obtaining the skills needed to qualify for jobs at SRNS,” MacVean said. “That’s the goal we’re mutually pursuing.”
SCSU President Dr. James Clark stated that he believes the SCSU MOU represents an important long-term commitment between SRNS and students.
“We are grateful for the resources the SRNS executive team has generously provided to us. This will be used to further enhance the state’s only undergraduate nuclear engineering program. This effort demonstrates the value of partnerships and collaborations between corporations and institutions of higher education working together for a common and admirable cause.”
The MOUs were signed at the SRS-HBCU Partnership Summit at Aiken County’s Applied Research Center and were endorsed by Clyburn.
SRNS has established extended partnering agreements with several HBCUs since becoming the management and operations contractor at SRS in 2008.
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