WKCTC now offers a twelve-week Radiation Control Technician training program in an effort to support our local economy by meeting the need for this skilled position at the former Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant. Fluor and its subcontractors, who are working on the clean-up efforts at the plant, currently import RAD Techs to fill the positions. Now, thanks to Paducah Bank, PED, WKCTC, Fluor, and PACRO, these high-paying jobs can be kept in the community and contribute to our economy. RAD Techs test and monitor radiation contamination levels at nuclear facilities and hospitals to ensure safe working environments. They also ensure that workers have proper protection if contamination is present.
“As part of our mission to the community, we are working to help reverse the economic impact that the PGDP closing had on the local economy,” says Jim Pape, vice president of workforce and economic development for West Kentucky Community and Technical College. “Each student who successfully completes the program not only improves their own economic situation, but also improves the economy for all of western Kentucky. We see this partnership becoming the model for how other companies and industries can train their workforce and keep jobs in the area.”
Paducah Bank will be financing loans for at least sixteen students enrolled in the program. These loans cover the full $3,000 needed for tuition, books, and pre-screenings. They will have a two-year payback term and no payments are due until after the program is completed. Career Solutions Community will help pay tuition for some students who were displaced after the closing of USEC. The students who complete the five-class compressed format program will earn the Radiation Control Technician Certificate and will be eligible to take the DOE core exam. Once they pass the exam, they can officially seek employment as a RAD Tech. Fluor has committed to hiring local people for these positions once they are officially qualified as RAD Techs.
“The most successful strategies in economic development involve public/private partnerships,” adds Scott Darnell, executive director of PACRO (Paducah Area Community Reuse Organization). “We were faced with the challenge of how to help candidates pay for educational opportunities, and Paducah Bank came with a solution. Paducah Bank and WKCTC are putting our citizens back to work. These are the type of partnerships we will continue to develop that will move our region forward.”
“We are thrilled to have this opportunity to work in conjunction with so many great local organizations to improve the lives of hard-working local men and women who have fallen on tough times since the closing of USEC,” says Mardie Herndon, president of Paducah Bank. “We always say that Paducah Bank is Paducah’s Bank, so contributing to the local economy is one of our top priorities. We are honored to be the financial partner for this program.”
WKCTC has screened applicants very heavily before accepting them into the program in order to further ensure quick employment after completion. The screening process is the same as is required for anyone seeking employment at Fluor and consists of a physical, drug screen, and background check.
A total of 22 students are currently enrolled in the program classes which began six weeks ago. Once they complete the program on September 8, they will have earned seventeen college credit hours, a nationally recognized certificate, and will have the ability to earn, on average, between $25 and $30 an hour working as a certified RAD Tech. It is an amazing opportunity for motivated individuals in our community. The training program will then begin again in late September with another group of students. In all, over 150 people – ranging from 18 to 60+ years old – have applied for the program.