Albany, New York (PRWEB) January 21, 2013
Excelsior College and the Regional Center for Nuclear Education and Training (RCNET) today announced a new educational partnership aimed at developing the next generation of nuclear industry leaders. The RCNET is comprised of 37 community colleges that follow the Nuclear Uniform Curriculum Program (NUCP), a framework for educating and developing operators and technicians for nuclear power plants.
Under the educational agreement, graduates of these associate degree programs will be able to pursue, at a reduced cost, a bachelor’s degree from Excelsior’s accredited program in nuclear engineering technology or other technical areas. A four-year degree is widely considered the preferred path for leadership positions within most nuclear facilities.
Currently, there are 1,368 students enrolled in RCNET programs eligible under this agreement.
“The looming workforce shortage in the nuclear industry affects all levels including leadership. This partnership between Excelsior and RCNET helps address this leadership void by providing technicians affordable, doable pathways to advanced degrees and leadership training,” said Kevin Cooper, director of the Regional Center for Nuclear Education and Training.
“Just as the NUCP has created a pipeline of nuclear technicians, this agreement between Excelsior and RCNET will help produce seasoned nuclear leaders capable of navigating the industry through the many challenges that lie ahead,” said Dr. Jane LeClair, dean of Excelsior College’s School of Business and Technology.
With 39 percent of the nuclear workforce eligible for retirement by 2016, the nuclear industry launched NUCP in 2007, a standardized educational program for operators and technicians in nuclear facilities.
RCNET, the first of its kind in the nation, was established at Indian River State College in 2012 through a $3.1 million National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technological Education (ATE) grant. Acting as a centralized resource, RCNET will provide curriculum, training for faculty and staff and facilitate communication and collaboration across the nuclear industry, colleges and universities.
Excelsior College, a private, nonprofit distance learning institution in Albany, New York was founded in 1971. It is comprised of four schools: Business and Technology, Health Sciences, Liberal Arts and Nursing. Excelsior's Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Engineering Technology is accredited by the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET, 111 Market Place, Suite 1050, Baltimore, MD 21202, 410-347-7700; http://www.abet.org, ABET is a specialized accrediting agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
Excelsior College http://www.excelsior.edu is a regionally accredited, nonprofit distance learning institution that focuses on removing obstacles to the educational goals of adult learners. Founded in 1971 and located in Albany, NY, Excelsior is a proven leader in the assessment and validation of student knowledge. It offers more efficient and affordable access to degree completion through multiple avenues: its own online courses and college-level proficiency examinations, and the acceptance in transfer of credit from other colleges and universities as well as recognized corporate and military training programs. Excelsior College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Due to growth, an aging workforce, international competition, and natural attrition the nuclear industry in the United States is experiencing unprecedented workforce demands. Specifically, over the next two decades, nuclear workforce needs will exceed the current pool of trained personnel. Current training platforms are not scaled to meet this need which puts both the industry and our nation at risk. In August of 2011, NSF established the Regional Center for Nuclear Education and Training (RCNET) to address these workforce demands in a unified and systematic way.
RCNET is located at Indian River State College in Fort Pierce, FL and is a consortium of 46 colleges and universities, 35 industry partners, and multiple agency and other partners.
RCNET’s primary focus is on two-year college training and it involves partnerships between academic institutions and employers to promote improvement in the education of nuclear technicians at the undergraduate and secondary school levels. RCNET is also responsible for curriculum development, professional development of college faculty and secondary school teachers, career pathways to two-year colleges from secondary schools and from two-year colleges to four-year institutions, and providing standardized quality resources to schools across the region.