Source: The Blade | Liz Skalka | October 7, 2019

A Toledo-area congressman and a senior government official want to get the word out about jobs that could become available in America’s nuclear weapon production and oversight programs.

U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) was joined Monday at the University of Toledo by National Nuclear Security Administration head Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, who helps oversee the development and maintenance of the nation’s nuclear weapons arsenal.

Their message: With 40 percent of the NNSA’s work force eligible for retirement, the agency is looking to hire 7,000 people a year for the foreseeable future to keep up its national work force of 42,000 people.

For the first time, the agency brought its national job fair to Ohio, starting with UT.

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Miss Kaptur is chairman of the House’s Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, which authorizes the NNSA’s spending.

While the NNSA doesn’t operate any sites in Ohio, the agency works with subcontractors in the Buckeye State and places recent graduates in its labs and facilities across the country.

“We’re sort of below the radar,” said Ms. Gordon-Hagerty, a Detroit native and also the undersecretary for nuclear security at the U.S. Department of Energy. “This gives us an opportunity to express to students around the United States that they can work for us.”

The biggest misconception students may have about working for the NNSA is needing to be an engineer or scientist, or even needing to have an advanced degree, she said.

“Certainly, we build nuclear weapons and we maintain the United States’ nuclear weapons stockpile. Most people think they have to be a nuclear-trained scientist or engineer in order to work here, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. We have [political science] majors, we have people with nontechnical degrees who come to work for us,” Ms. Gordon-Hagerty said. “We can find a great fit for anyone.”

The job fair kicked off a week-long initiative by Miss Kaptur and UT to connect northwest Ohio students interested in science, technology, engineering, and math careers with opportunities in science, space, manufacturing, and national security. The program aligns with Miss Kaptur’s work as chair of the energy and water subcommittee, which secured $37.1 billion for the U.S. Department of Energy in fiscal year 2020.

“Our region has the ability to compete,” Miss Kaptur said. “Our people are intelligent and hardworking.”

Later in the week, Miss Kaptur, UT, and the National Science Foundation will host a forum to highlight GEARSET, the university’s NSF-founded pilot program for students who wish to pursue engineering degrees. They’ll also mark National Lab Day to connect students with laboratory directors, researchers, and scientists from the Department of Energy