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What is the Nuclear Uniform Curriculum Program?

The Nuclear Uniform Curriculum Program consists of a three-step approach to 1) quantify the need, 2) define the curriculum, and 3) Implement the right number of programs in each region. The intent is that graduates could be waived or exempted from portions of the required initial training.

PHASE ONE: QUANTIFYING THE NEED

In the first phase of the Uniform Curriculum Program, the industry assessed the status of associate degree education programs, defined what curricula were being offered and to determined the supply and demand needs for critical work force areas. A survey was developed, implemented, assessed and periodically repeated to accomplish the goals of this phase.

PHASE TWO: DEFINING THE CURRICULUM

During the second phase of the project, the industry works with the community colleges to define the curriculum and program requirements for each concentration.

These documents serve as a tool to accomplish the following:

  • establish industry guidance for associate degree programs providing education for nuclear power careers;
  • ensure consistency among the educational programs;
  • define the expected knowledge level of graduates with the aim of reducing initial training time at utilities and vendors;
  • provide a detailed overview of topics covered in community college degree programs and those that are included in plant-specific training programs.

To help interested parties put the new materials to use, the task force created a toolkit with complementary activities. The toolkit helps companies strategically determine whether or not new education programs are needed in their areas, what should be taught and who potential partners could be. The toolkit’s package of materials specifically includes:

  • business case development,
  • transition and new program action plans,
  • instructions on how to develop scholarship programs and internship programs,
  • suggestions on how to use industry experts in the classroom,
  • recruiting materials,
  • partnered community colleges contact list,
  • lessons learned from the pilot program.

PHASE THREE: PILOTING THE PROGRAM

The third phase was to pilot the strategic implementation of the new program. A fall 2008 pilot effort was initiated and seven consortia participated, comprising community colleges and their industry partners. This pilot included the curriculum covered in ACAD 08-006 for non-licensed operators, chemistry technicians, health physics technicians and maintenance personnel for operating nuclear facilities. The pilot schools use the information provided in the toolkit to apply for federal grants to implement their transition or establish new programs. Lessons learned from the pilot schools are collected and then provided to other partnered community colleges and their industry partners.

As other programs are identified, additional pilots will be implemented.