MiraCosta nuclear energy program gets boost

COAST CITIES — Students applying for the MiraCosta College Radiation Protection Technology and Nuclear Plant Operations Associate in Science degree programs will soon be benefiting from a $150,000 grant awarded to the college by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The two-year degree program is in partnership with the Southern California Edison’s San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, and offers an Institute of Nuclear Power Operations and Nuclear Energy Institute industry standards-based education that includes an eight-week paid internship at the plant.
Grant funds will provide scholarships for books, tuition and fees for 48 students to participate in the MiraCosta College Energy Technology Associate in Science Degree programs. These programs will prepare students for skilled, entry-level careers in the nuclear power industry that lead to stable, high-paying careers with excellent benefits. The SCE workers are represented by the Utility Worker’s Union of America, AFL-CIO Local 246.
MiraCosta College is the only college in the state of California to offer this program and one of a handful of colleges from across the country to receive the maximum Nuclear Regulatory Commission grant award. Originally launched as a certificate program in early 2008, the newly expanded degree program will help to close the gap for qualified entry-level nuclear workforce candidates and provide an education that is transportable to other nuclear facilities. More jobs in the industry are becoming available as more workers retire, and with new plants slated for construction, career prospects will continue to be bright through the coming years.
“Workers are retiring and the pipeline of new employees is slim,” says Dr. Eric Goldin, the lead instructor for the Radiation Protection Technician Certificate of Achievement Program. “There’s a great market for qualified technicians in nuclear power plants. There are also ample opportunities in other industries such as health care, biotechnology, and research and development. This is a great program for students who have an interest in science and math. MiraCosta is the place to be for students interested in this industry — we are definitely leading the pack.”
Students qualify for the MiraCosta programs based on their math and English placement scores, written essay and interview. “We are providing opportunities for those who prove they have scholastic abilities, the right work ethic, and the personal discipline to succeed in our industry,” Wallace said.
For additional information about the program, contact SCE’s Workforce Education Coordinator Rob Howard at (949) 368-2571.

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