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LES & ET US Moving Forward On NMJC Campus

LES & ET US Moving Forward On NMJC Campus photo 2/5/2007 4:13:06 p.m. - Hobbs, NM. It may seem like a calm before the storm; however, the National Enrichment Facility (NEF) Training Center, located on the New Mexico Junior College campus, is abuzz with Louisiana Energy Services (LES) and Enrichment Technology (ET US) trainers, who are aggressively moving forward with the training of the facility's employees.

LES, the management entity that will operate the NEF, had 21 employees arrive on the NMJC campus in August of 2006 to complete a series of 'special training courses.' LES' official training program, which began September 25, 2006, will utilize a Systematic Approach to Training (SAT), which will result in a six-phase operator certification program.

The first phase of training, called 'fundamentals,' was completed in December 2006. "We like to call the first two months 'engineering fundamentals,'" David VandeWall, Deputy Production Manager for LES, explained. Through arrangements with NMJC, the intensive first phase of training consisted of approximately 400 seat hours, which is 32 credit hours, in 2 1/2 months' time. Phase one of the training consisted of physics, chemistry, mathematics (up to calculus), thermodynamics, radiation protection, electrical theory, and other course work, which was taught by several NMJC professors/instructors including Joel Keranen, Randy Cook, and Charles Adams.

"We are now in the process of developing our training materials from engineering design information before we begin phase two of the training called 'process systems.' In this phase and throughout the rest of the program, the employees will learn the operating systems that will be used in maintaining the facility," explained Larry Kelley, Training Manager for LES.

This training program is not only classroom but also performance based, which means that LES employees will travel to Almelo, the Netherlands, for on-the-job training where the employees will carry out actual job transactions. "The systems used at Urenco's plant in Almelo are almost identical to those that will be used at the Eunice facility. After returning from Almelo, employees will then be trained on the differences between the two facilities," said Kelley.

ET US, the entity that will build the actual facility and manage the centrifuge technology, had 24 employees arrive on the NMJC campus in January 2007 to begin fundamental training. The fundamental courses to be completed through NMJC include all levels of welding, technical math, interpersonal communications, cultural diversity, and various computer courses. The employees will be enrolled in both traditional and customized credit courses while at NMJC. While additional training will take place on the NMJC campus, it will not, however, be offered through the college. After these employees complete their fundamental training, they will return to Almelo for their classified training.

According to Dr. Jo Hayes, Director of Training Programs at NMJC, "NMJC's schedule of courses is expanding as new employees are hired. We are already scheduling summer courses, which may involve as many as 40 ET US employees. NMJC is already experiencing demanding proliferation working with these highly focused, energetic newcomers to Lea County."

As with any calm, it is a sure sign of the liveliness to come.

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