SRNS-hosted job fair at USC Aiken attracts hundreds of MOX employees
Hundreds of Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility project workers, facing mass layoffs, flooded the USC Aiken Convocation Center on Wednesday for a job fair.
Some people started lining up for the fair as early as 2 p.m., according to several officials at the event. The job fair, which was closed to the general public, began at 4 p.m. and ran until 8 p.m.
Twelve companies – including Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, Savannah River Remediation, Bridgestone, Parsons and E2 Consulting Engineers – were represented at the fair. Resume and interview classes were held concurrently. SRNS hosted the fair on behalf of the National Nuclear Security Administration, the semiautonomous U.S. Department of Energy agency that terminated the MOX project in full on Oct. 10.
SRNS is the Savannah River Site management and operations contractor; SRR is the liquid waste contractor. Parsons is involved with the Salt Waste Processing Facility.
Albert Lowery, a roughly 10-year MOX worker, said the job fair was both a “very smooth process” and a “big help.”
Lowery, who worked in construction engineering, said the job fair’s innate face-to-face nature afforded him a better employment chance as compared to an online or over-the-phone application and interview.
He also said his MOX coworkers appreciated the job fair as a whole.
SRNS President and CEO Stuart MacVean, who arrived at the job fair around 5 p.m., said he was blown away by the turnout.
“So I got to tell you, when I drove up, it was like, ‘Holy cow,’” MacVean said, later adding, “It’s a great opportunity for the different companies that are here to look at and talk to some prospective folks.”
MacVean – who at one point Wednesday described the mass layoff situation as a “tough time” for those involved and affected – said the NNSA mentioned the idea of a job fair on a call about a month ago.
“And this is what became of that,” the CEO said, “and it’s working out really well.”
MOX, located at SRS, was designed to turn weapons-grade plutonium into nuclear fuel. The project employed about 1,800 people. MOX was not completed before the project contract was killed.
The first round of layoff notifications at the MOX project was issued in early November. Two more waves of layoffs are scheduled.
“You’ve got a lot of good people that have been doing really good, hard work, and it’s just unfortunate we’ve gotten to the end of that project, and it’s time to do something different,” MacVean said.