Agreement between RCNET, Excelsior College Set to Fill Nuclear Industry Leadership Void
By Mike Lesczinski, Excelsior Life News Staff--
Excelsior College and the Regional Center for Nuclear Education and Training (RCNET) today announced a new educational partnership aimed at developing the next generation of nuclear industry leaders. The RCNET is comprised of 37 community colleges that follow the Nuclear Uniform Curriculum Program (NUCP), a framework for educating and developing operators and technicians for nuclear power plants.
Under the educational agreement, graduates of these associate degree programs will be able to pursue, at a reduced cost, a bachelor’s degree from Excelsior’s accredited program in nuclear engineering technology or other technical areas. A four-year degree is widely considered preferred path for leadership positions within most nuclear facilities.
“The looming workforce shortage in the nuclear industry affects all levels including leadership. This partnership between Excelsior and RCNET helps address this leadership void by providing technicians affordable, doable pathways to advanced degrees and leadership training,” said Kevin Cooper, director of the Regional Center for Nuclear Education and Training.
“Just as the NUCP has created a pipeline of nuclear technicians, this agreement between Excelsior and RCNET will help produce seasoned nuclear leaders capable of navigating the industry through the many challenges that lie ahead,” said Dr. Jane LeClair, dean of Excelsior College’s School of Business and Technology.
With 39 percent of the nuclear workforce eligible for retirement by 2016, the nuclear industry launched NUCP in 2007, a standardized educational program for operators and technicians in nuclear facilities.
RCNET, the first of its kind in the nation, was established at Indian River State College in 2012 through a $3.1 million National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technological Education (ATE) grant. Acting as a centralized resource, RCNET will provide curriculum, training for faculty and staff and facilitate communication and collaboration across the nuclear industry, colleges and universities.
Excelsior College, a private, nonprofit distance learning institution in Albany, New York was founded in 1971. It is comprised of four schools: Business and Technology, Health Sciences, Liberal Arts and Nursing. Excelsior's Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Engineering Technology is accredited by the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET, 111 Market Place, Suite 1050, Baltimore, MD 21202, 410-347-7700; www.abet.org, ABET is a specialized accrediting agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).