Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – Onondaga Community College’s newest program is underway and it comes with the strong likelihood of a well paying job at the end.
The school is preparing the next group of nuclear technicians to meet the urgent need the industry is facing.
The program features math classes geared specifically to train nuclear technicians.
"It's a lot harder than I thought it would be. I remember acing calculus 20 years ago and I would just have to study for a test for like 5 minutes before, being older I tend to put in more time," said Matt Payne, OCC Nuclear Technician Program student.
Payne, the father of four, jumped at the opportunity for a near certain job that pays well.
“I probably have an advantage over some of the younger people because I'm doing this not just for myself, but for my family, so I put a lot of extra effort in," Payne said.
The nuclear industry has three plants alone in Oswego and expects more than 10,000 retirements over the next decade.
The predicted retirements are creating an urgent need for people to be trained to fill those positions.
"What's nice about this program is for our college, it’s the perfect fit. We get a real chance to make an impact in the community,” said OCC Associate Math Professor Tracey Clancy.
The students in the program have to meet about 100 pages of different standards and metrics by the time they finish the two year program, which is offered at about three dozen campuses nation wide.
"We all have learning outcomes for all our classes but these, there's no wavering from, it's got to be there," Clancy said.
OCC is working with Albany on another nuclear program called the unlicensed operator tract, which they say covers more of the plant's needs and is also in demand.