New Class of Radiation Control Technicians to Begin Training at Portsmouth, Paducah Sites

A new cohort of junior radiological control technicians-in-training will begin classes next month, learning the skills necessary to monitor radiation levels at contamination areas and in the air at worksites to help keep the public and workers safe.

The USW Tony Mazzocchi Center (USWTMC) will hold the trainings in collaboration with the former Portsmouth and Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant sites.

Shortages of RCTs at both sites led to the creation of the program in partnership with the USWTMC, USW locals and the area community colleges.

The upcoming cohort of 23 students begins classes on March 6 at Portsmouth, while the Paducah program begins March 7 with 20 students.

USWTMC Training Program Assistant Fiona Galley said students in the RCT programs come from all walks and stages of life.

“Students range from recent high school graduates to more established folks who just want a career change,” said Galley.

The RCT training program is made free to participants through a National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences grant and lasts around six months. The program trains students to be well-prepared to apply for jobs as junior RCTs at the DOE sites after graduation.

If they are hired as junior RCTs, they can later advance to senior RCTs and then to lead technicians.

RCT programs yield high job placements

USW Local 550 at the Paducah site graduated its first cohort of RCTs last fall, with 19 of the 20 graduates going on to secure jobs at the Paducah DOE site after graduation.

Last September’s graduating class at Portsmouth, held at the USW Local 1-689 union hall, began with 20 students and ended with 16 graduates.

Josh Murray, a 2022 Portsmouth junior RCT program graduate, said he’s looking forward to transferring the tools he’s learned in the class to the workplace.

“I understand the importance of this career and the need for radiological protection for both myself, co-workers and for the general public,” Murray said.

Andria Smalley, the lead worker trainer for the Portsmouth program and member of USW Local 1-689, said teaching the courses to community members was an honor.

I know the students will do great things and be a wonderful reflection of the USW and our RCT program,” said Smalley.

To read more about the USWTMC’s radiological control technician training program, click here.

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