JANUARY 23, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
City of Aiken Announces Partnership with SRNL at State of the City Address
Aiken, SC – The City of Aiken announced Monday it will explore building a new high-tech workforce development Center in Downtown Aiken to house elements of the Savannah River National Laboratory using $20 million in Plutonium settlement funding set aside by the State of South Carolina for that purpose.
Aiken Mayor Rick Osbon hosted fellow elected officials, City staff, and members of the public for the City’s annual State of the City address. The event summarized the City’s successes from the past year before moving into the SRNL proposal to be considered in future weeks by Aiken City Council.
Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) is the newest National Laboratory under the Department of Energy (DOE). Nationwide, there are 17 DOE National Laboratories, and SRNL is the only DOE lab in the Carolinas, serving the Southeast region of the United State along with Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. SRNL is operated by Battelle in collaboration with University of South Carolina, Clemson, South Carolina State University, University of Georgia, and Georgia Institute of Technology.
SRNL’s mission is ensuring America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions. We create high quality jobs in central Savannah River area and are an enduring economic engine by attracting advanced science and technology-based companies.
The Laboratory achieves this by attracting, motivating, and training a diverse and highly skilled workforce to execute on complex DOE programs. Therefore, SRNL is envisioning a workforce development building (WDB) that will provide the Laboratory with a pipeline for new talent acquisition as well as develop the existing employee base. Over the next five years, we anticipate hiring more than 1,500 highly-technical employees and host more than 100 faculty/graduate students and 500 undergraduate interns.
The work in the proposed building extends far beyond the five partner universities and includes an intense focus on minority serving institutions, continuing professional development of SRNL employees, recruitment of postdoc scientists; graduate students; undergraduate students; technicians (2-year degree); and precollege students. The pre-college tier is essential for building a long-term talent pipeline.
SRNL’s workforce development building is envisioned to be the hub for Laboratory’s collaboration with academic and industrial partners. SRNL would permanently place between 80-100 laboratory employees at this location to enable the following planned activities.
Director Dr. Vahid Majidi said he intends for the Downtown facility to serve as the community face of SRNL. His stated goals for the facility include:
- This building will host faculty and students and allows for scientific gathering to include technical discussions, poster presentations and other student programs,
- The building will house the next generation classroom space for training sessions and will support remote learning environments,
- This building will be a hub for STEM camps and teacher development workshops,
- University of South Carolina Aiken will have an enduring presence through their workforce development program,
- This building will be home to SRNL’s technology transfer office where laboratory’s inventions and discoveries are licensed for industrial and commercial use.
- Recruitment and Employment.
- This building will be the first stop for all new laboratory employees upon their entry,
- We will use this facility for employees interviews and appropriate required training.
- A portion of this building is open to public to foster community awareness of programs at SRNL,
- The building will be used for training of international partners when access to SRS is limited by design,
- The most recent scientific work at the lab will be displayed in this building lobby to enhance communications,
- Structurally, the building should fit with Aiken motif and host modern communication and digital amenities,
- Within the building, SRNL will maintain a property-controlled area to house the government owned equipment and projects, an open area for shared public access and a roof venue for shared public use.
Director of Operations
City of Aiken