AIKEN, S.C. (February 11, 2019) – The liquid waste contractor at the Savannah River Site (SRS), Savannah River Remediation (SRR), hired more than 375 new employees last year and is on track to hire at that level during the next year.
In 2018, SRR brought on 378 new employees to join its team of now roughly 2,450 workers. New hires filled positions in varying disciplines, including engineering, production operations, electrical and mechanical maintenance, work planning, safety, and radiological protection.
The 2018 hiring initiative helped SRR “break even” on attrition rates. Additionally, the hiring increase will support new missions: The Saltstone Production Facility is transitioning to 24-hour operations to support the future operation of the Salt Waste Processing Facility.
At 37 years, the average age of the new SRR hires in 2018 is significant, according to Dave Hollan, SRR Administrative Services Director. When the SRR contract began in 2009, the average employee age was 54. Now the average is 48 and continuing to decrease as the younger generation enters the workforce.
“The missions at the Savannah River Site have been going strong since the 1950s,” Hollan said. “Naturally, we are seeing more and more waves of employees reaching their retirement milestone. SRR is actively seeking to balance this growing rate of attrition by bringing in the next generation workforce.”
It’s especially beneficial to be diligent in this hiring process now, while new hires can learn alongside experienced workers, Hollan added.
“Transfer of institutional knowledge is key,” Hollan said. “A subject matter expert with 30 years of experience with our processes who can mentor and coach a new employee hands-on becomes invaluable to the learning curve of that new worker.”
Of note, almost a third of the new hires in 2018 are U.S. military veterans.
“Military veterans display impeccable leadership capabilities and know how to succeed within a team,” Hollan said. “These individuals come to the SRR workforce as a great asset with unique skillsets ready to help us meet our mission.”
The job area that saw the greatest increase was production operation; the current operator training class includes more than 160 trainees. The trainees are part of the Liquid Waste Operator Fundamentals program, which is about 20 weeks and includes the requisite site general/regulatory training. Following the fundamentals training, trainees take facility-specific training programs required prior to being a qualified operator.
In addition, SRR has hired eight former employees from the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility (MOX) project since October 2018 to be a part of the liquid waste mission.
SRR is the liquid waste contractor at the Savannah River Site for the U.S. Department of Energy. SRR is composed of a team of companies led by AECOM with partners Bechtel National, CH2M, and BWX Technologies. Critical subcontractors for the contract are Orano, Atkins, and AECOM N&E Technical Services.