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The College of Southern Maryland’s nuclear engineering technology associate degree program was recognized by the League for Innovation in the Community College as a Workforce Preparation and Development 2012 Innovation of the Year.

CSM was recognized for developing and implementing an innovative partnership with an area employer to meet current and future workforce needs while providing local students with the training necessary to secure high-paying jobs in the communities where they live.

Alliance award winners met criteria of quality, efficiency, cost-effectiveness, replication potential, creativity and timeliness.

“It is an honor for CSM to be recognized for the work that CSM’s NET Coordinator Bob Gates and others have provided in cementing such a valuable partnership with one of Southern Maryland’s top employers. By addressing the workforce needs and the training necessary to meet those needs through this innovative partnership, local students will have greater opportunities to build exciting, rewarding careers as nuclear engineering technicians without having to leave Southern Maryland,” said CSM President Brad Gottfried in a news release.

In 2008, CSM and Constellation Energy Nuclear Group created a partnership under the Nuclear Energy Institute’s Nuclear Uniform Curriculum Program to address a looming shortage in trained nuclear energy technicians in the region. Working with partners, CSM developed associate’s degrees in three specific NET disciplines to meet the requirements of both the stringent nuclear industry curriculum and demands of the regional workforce.

The Center for Nuclear Energy Training was funded through grants and established at a temporary site near CSM’s Prince Frederick campus. The facility includes state-of-the-art trainers for the hands-on experience to enhance the knowledge-based curriculum.

“This partnership has resulted in programs that provide our industry partner with highly trained, entry-level technicians. For our community, the partnership is providing high-paying jobs; and for our students who meet the strict program entry requirements, the partnership is providing scholarships that cover tuition,” Gates said in the release.

The first degrees were awarded for the program in May 2012, and many of the graduates were granted opportunities for local positions.

There were more than 40 students in the NET program during the fall semester.

In the spring, CSM’s Prince Frederick campus will complete a second building with more than 3,000 square-feet of classroom and lab space dedicated to the NET program.

The League for Innovation in the Community College is an international organization dedicated to catalyzing the community college movement and improving community colleges through innovation, experimentation and institutional transformation.

Go to www.csmd.edu/BAT/NETInstrumentation/. For information on the Nuclear Energy Training Center at CSM’s Prince Frederick campus, go to www.csmd.edu/news/archive/2011/b580bb4a1499362664667c55faf50f8d6f2d016f.html.