Oak Ridge Contractor Employees Recruit Prospective Graduates for EM’s Cleanup

Source: EM Update | Vol. 14, Issue 14; Contributor: Shannon Potter | April 12, 2022

EM cleanup contractor UCOR is raising awareness among soon-to-be graduates in higher education about opportunities to work at Oak Ridge.

In their latest outreach, UCOR employees volunteered at the Spring 2022 Engineering Expo at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

The event provided college students the opportunity to meet with prospective employers and learn about careers in engineer-heavy industries. It also offered UCOR a venue to share information about its projects to attract top talent to advance cleanup progress at the site.

UCOR employees highlighted the contractor’s summer internship program and answered questions about engineering disciplines during the expo. They gathered resumes and scheduled 42 interviews with students the following day.

UCOR employee Derek Holstein volunteered to conduct outreach and speak with students at the event. He brought a unique perspective as UCOR’s first hire to minor in nuclear decommissioning and environmental management as a student in the University of Tennessee’s engineering department. Holstein also participated in a design project with UCOR as a senior at the university.

Watch this video about Holstein’s journey from University of Tennessee student to UCOR employee.

UCOR partnered with the University of Tennessee to launch the first nuclear decommissioning and environmental management minor degree at a university or college in the U.S. The program is designed for the next generation of employees in the nuclear field interested in pursuing careers in EM’s cleanup mission and other nuclear related areas, such as work addressing aging reactors and nuclear facilities around the world.

Holstein says the nuclear decommissioning minor prepared him to succeed in his career.

“The decision to pursue the nuclear decommissioning and environmental management minor was one of the most impactful choices I made while attending the University of Tennessee,” Holstein said. “It served as a perfect springboard that led to a summer internship, part-time employment during my final year at school and eventual full-time employment as an engineer at UCOR.”

He added that the minor helped him develop a multidisciplinary engineering skillset, which has proven invaluable when working on complex projects at Oak Ridge.

“The minor also motivated me to sign up for the University of Tennessee’s first-year offering of the Heath Integrated Business and Engineering Senior Design Program,” he said. “This led to me becoming a member of the UCOR-sponsored shielded transfer tank disposition project, where I was able to interface and work directly with UCOR employees.”

The biannual engineering expo is the school’s premier event for recruiting engineering students. It is one of the few engineering-only co-op and internship events in the country. Representatives from 81 companies and more than 600 students attended the spring expo.