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December 11, 2023 | Tom Ballard

ORAU launches a STEM Accelerator

The initial focus is on nuclear science and technology with space manufacturing and critical national infrastructure following in time.

With the U.S. nuclear energy industry facing significant challenges in attracting and retaining qualified talent, ORAU, known formally as Oak Ridge Associated Universities, has announced the launch of the ORAU STEM Accelerator (OSA) to help address this critical need. It coincides with and supports the national drive toward a carbon-neutral clean energy future that is expected to spur the growth of advanced nuclear reactors that are smaller, simpler to construct, more cost-effective to operate than existing facilities, and offer high-quality career opportunities.

OSA will convene a diverse network of two- and four-year academic institutions, industry, non-profit, professional organizations, labor unions, and government partners to address the toughest challenges in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, training, research, and innovation.

“OSA will focus its work in three sectors: nuclear science and technologyspace manufacturing, and critical national infrastructure,” says Olivia Blackmon, Director of the ORAU STEM Accelerator. “We’re focusing on nuclear science and technology first, because the current need is so great, with a piloted program in nuclear energy.” ORAU is working with the Nuclear Energy Institute and other partners to help solve critical challenges including:

  • Establishing a nuclear energy coalition;
  • Analyzing data for decision-making;
  • Implementing strategic talent planning;
  • Strengthening career awareness and retention;
  • Establishing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility best practices;
  • Emphasizing training and certification; and
  • Building a sustainable pipeline.

To learn more, ORAY has produced a podcast on the initiative. It can be accessed at this link.


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