NNSA Blog

Engineering has always been an in-demand skill at Pantex, and for six years, the Pantex College Pre-hire program has worked well to help meet the need. But the growing demand for employees in other hard-to-fill jobs has meant the program is branching out in a new direction.

Shane Rogers, who has managed the pre-hire program since it started in 2007, just returned from a month-long tour of seven colleges in Texas and New Mexico. In addition to engineers, Rogers was looking for scientists and IT professionals who had important knowledge they could bring to the plant.

This is the first year Rogers looked for computer science (CS) and computer information systems (CIS) majors, in addition to the traditional engineering, math and science majors. The number of high-paying jobs in the IT marketplace makes it extremely difficult to find and recruit people with that skill set.

The pre-hire program reaches out to juniors and seniors who will agree to come to work at Pantex, in exchange for reimbursement of tuition and fees for up to two years. A group of students are interviewed at the schools, then selected candidates are invited to come to Pantex for a second interview and a chance to see some of the work done at the plant. The first semester of the program in 2007, Rogers made offers to six students. This semester, he hopes to make 26 offers.

Recruiters visit a variety of schools proximate to Pantex, including West Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, University of Texas at El Paso, New Mexico State, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and University of New Mexico. Students from as far away as Tennessee and Maryland have been invited for onsite visits following phone interviews. 

Pantex College Pre-hire program helps recruit next generation employees

Apr 14, 2014 at 3:00 pm

The Department of Energy’s Savannah River Operations Office (DOE-SR) formed a partnership with the Department of Defense and returning veterans through the Operation Warfighter (OWF) Program, offering active-duty veterans 120-day internships working among the federal workforce at the Savannah River Site (SRS). 

SRS is a key DOE industrial complex dedicated to environmental cleanup, nuclear weapons stockpile stewardship, and nuclear materials disposition in support of the U.S. nuclear non-proliferation efforts. The site also develops and deploys technologies to support radiological and chemical cleanup activities following 40 years of producing materials used for nuclear weapons, primarily plutonium and tritium.

For the last six months, DOE-SR has hosted a small group veterans based out of the Army’s Ft. Gordon in nearby Augusta, Ga. The OWF veterans serve internships in occupational disciplines like contracting, safety and information technology.

About the photo:
Veterans gaining intern experience at Savannah River Site (from left): Yadira Bonilla-Cuevas, Terry Harris, Jonathan Ginsberg (Regional Coordinator, Operation Warfighter Program), Mark Spurlock, Dirck Moise and Deanna Yates, of the DOE Savannah River Operations Office, Office of Human Capital Management, recently met to discuss the intern program. Bonilla-Cuevas recently was hired as a federal employee after serving an Operation Warfighter internship.  (DOE-SR Photo by Doug Aiken.)

Savannah River Site hosts military interns

Apr 3, 2014 at 11:00 am

Cooking dinner will be a lot easier for about 20 needy families in Amarillo thanks to the generosity of Pantexans, who used a grocery store promotion to secure more than $6,000 of cookware for a local charity.

More than 70 pots and pans were donated to local charities by Pantexans Scott and Lauri Minton, who had been collecting stickers donated by their coworkers. The stickers represent nearly $100,000 in groceries purchased from United Grocery Stores, an area chain that has been giving stickers redeemable for cookware since October.

Lauri Minton said she and her husband started collecting the stickers when they realized they did not need new pots and pans, but that there were people in Amarillo who did. The Mintons spread the word around the plant, and were quickly overwhelmed with the positive response.

As the promotion entered the final days, word spread through social media, and the pace of giving picked up even more.

The pots and pans – over 21 complete sets – were dropped off at Martha’s Home Friday, an Amarillo shelter that provides a place to live for homeless women with children while guiding them toward a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. Several pots and pans were also donated to the Pantex Christmas Project, which has been providing Christmas gifts to needy families for more than 50 years. 

Pantexans donate more than $6,000 of cookware to families in need

Pantexans donate more than $6,000 of cookware to families in need

Apr 3, 2014 at 10:00 am

The National Security Campus continues to receive accolades for an outstanding safety record during the move to its new, state-of-the art facility in Kansas City, Mo. In 2013, the NSC achieved its best safety performance on record despite moving thousands of employees and, literally, tons of equipment. The on-time, on-budget move is scheduled to be completed by August.

The National Safety Council presented NSC with the Perfect Record Award, which recognizes 12 months without an occupational injury or illness that resulted in days away from work. In addition, NSC recently obtained certification of OHSAS 18001 Standard for occupational health and safety assessment.

NSC nears move completion with outstanding safety record

Apr 1, 2014 at 5:00 pm

William H. Goldstein named director of LLNLWilliam H. Goldstein began his role this week as the new director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Norman J. Pattiz, chairman of Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC (LLNS), which manages the Laboratory for NNSA, made the announcement March 27.

Appointed with the concurrence of the DOE and NNSA, Goldstein is the 12th director of the Laboratory since it was established in 1952. Goldstein also will serve as the president of LLNS, replacing Parney Albright, who stepped down as Laboratory director and LLNS president in November 2013.

Read more.

Apr 1, 2014 at 11:00 am

About 300 employees of Savannah River Site management and operation contractor Savannah River Nuclear Solutions participated in the annual Central Savannah River Area Heart Walk, raising funds for the American Heart Association. SRNS employees raised $76,492, and SRNS donated $10,000.

SRS employees raise funds for American Heart Association

Apr 1, 2014 at 10:00 am

The Cleantech Open, the world’s largest accelerator for clean technology start ups, hosted a regional networking event last week to discuss the challenges and opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs to do business with Lawrence Livermore and Sandia national laboratories.

Cleantech Open meets with Lawrence Livermore, Sandia national laboratories

The event at the Livermore Valley Open Campus (LVOC), which is a joint initiative between both labs, drew an audience of 121 that included the private sector, lab researchers and economic development administrators. It consisted of two panel discussions on moving lab technologies to the market place, followed by a networking session.

Both laboratories, which cosponsored the event with the i-GATE Innovation Hub, have clean energy technologies for which they would like to find commercial partners to develop further.

About the photos:
U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell gave opening remarks at the event. He said clean technology is important for region’s economy and that more partnerships should be formed between the public and private sectors.

The panel Discussion members are, from left: Brandon Cardwell, VP of i-GATE Innovation Hub, Brian Steel, cop direct of Cleatech to Market program, Rob Lamkin of Cool Earth Solar, Andy McIlroy, Sandia’s senior manager of the Livermore Valley Open Campus, and Betsy Cantwell, director of  Economic Development at LLNL.

Cleantech Open meets with Lawrence Livermore, Sandia national laboratories

Cleantech Open meets with Lawrence Livermore, Sandia national laboratories

Mar 26, 2014 at 10:00 am

The most recent NNSA quarterly summary of experiments conducted as part of its science-based stockpile stewardship program is now available here

The quarterly summary prepared by NNSA’s Office of Defense Programs provides descriptions of key NNSA facilities that conduct stockpile stewardship experiments. These include some of the most sophisticated scientific research facilities in the world including, the Dual Axis Radiographic Hydrodynamic Test (DARHT) facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory, National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the Z machine at Sandia National Laboratories. The summary also provides the number of experiments performed at each facility during each quarter of the fiscal year.

The U.S. Stockpile Stewardship Program is a robust program of scientific inquiry used to sustain and assess the nuclear weapons stockpile without the use of underground nuclear tests. The experiments carried out within the program are used in combination with complex computational models and NNSA’s Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) Program to assess the safety, security and effectiveness of the stockpile. An extraordinary set of science, technology and engineering (ST&E) facilities have been established in support of the stockpile stewardship program.

Mar 25, 2014 at 2:00 pm

The National Security Campus culminated its Diversity Among Us-themed celebration with a special guest speaker on March 13. Dr. Andres Sayles, DOE Principal Deputy Director of the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity, spoke to employees about inclusion and fostering mentorships. He praised employees’ passion for encouraging STEM education and volunteering in the classroom.

Dr. Sayles joined the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity in September 2013. In his role, Sayles supports initiatives that ensure underrepresented communities and minority businesses fully participate in DOE programs and are favorably impacted by energy policies. Prior to his current assignment, Dr. Sayles was the Director of Diversity Strategy and Implementation for the U.S. Army, where he developed and led implementation of strategic plans that sustained the Army as a national leader in diversity and supported the Army’s 1.3 million soldiers and civilians who serve our country.

NSC employees celebrate diversity

Mar 19, 2014 at 2:00 pm

More than 40 engineers, scientists and technicians from the Savannah River Site recently brought creative science- and engineering-based demonstrations to more than 3,000 middle school students, captivating their minds with things like flying objects and robotic creatures to give them a broader understanding of the field of engineering.

Over a two-week period, employees of SRS management and operations contractor Savannah River Nuclear Solutions conducted  99 demonstrations at 31 middle schools in the region surrounding SRS in honor of National Engineers Week 2014

Called “teach-ins,” the demonstrations have proven to be instrumental in promoting the importance of a high level of math, science and technology literacy. 

Middle schools in seven South Carolina and Georgia counties have participated in this outreach program managed and sponsored by SRNS since 2008. During this time period, over 10,000 students from this region have benefited from the creative work and hours of effort provided by hundreds of enthusiastic teach-in volunteers.

National Engineers Week celebrates the positive contributions engineers make to society and is a catalyst for outreach across the country to kids and adults alike.

About the photo:
Savannah River Tritium Enterprise engineer Bill Wabbersen explains how air can be used to float a home-made hovercraft capable of supporting two students at the 2014 teach-in at Riverside Middle School in Evans, Ga.

SRS 'teach-ins' show why math and science are cool

Mar 13, 2014 at 4:00 pm