The WORC Scholars Program is a systematic, holistic, multi-faceted, intentional approach to workforce development designed to recruit, retain, and develop STEM majors from high school to career. This program is funded by the Workforce Opportunities in Regional Careers grant provided through our partnership with the Savannah River Site Reuse Organization (SRSCRO) and the Department of Energy.
The WORC grant at USC Aiken has been tremendously successful in providing numerous scholarships to STEM majors, creating enriching undergraduate research opportunities for students, and helping with the Department of Energy’s focus on environmental cleanup and site restoration. A new investment into the WORC grant by the National Nuclear Security Administration, through the NuWork Initiative, is aimed at developing an “enduring workforce that will carry out long-term missions related to the proposed plutonium pit mission, the long-standing tritium mission, and the surplus plutonium disposition mission at SRS.” A central part of NuWork is focused on identifying the “key competencies needed for NNSA’s workforce.”
To help meet the mission of the Department of Energy through the WORC grant, USC Aiken College of Sciences and Engineering and the USC Aiken Center for Research Excellence have created a WORC Scholars Program that will develop STEM students in five distinct majors: Process Engineering, Applied Computer Science, Applied Mathematics, Chemistry, and Biology.
The goals of the WORC Scholars Program are two-fold:
- Recruit, retain, and develop capable STEM majors (particularly in underrepresented groups) to pursue and obtain STEM degrees
- Recruit students into the College of Sciences and Engineering (CSE) (specifically, majors in Process Engineering, Applied Computer Science, Applied Mathematics, Chemistry, and Biology with a concentration in Environmental Remediation and Restoration) that will be candidates for future employment at the Savannah River Site (SRS).
- Provide professional experience to these students enabling them to find meaningful careers in STEM fields that support NNSA and DOE missions
The WORC Scholars Program supports USC Aiken’s institutional goals as well as the goals of the College of Sciences and Engineering to provide the highest quality liberal arts based STEM education possible to help our students become “career ready.”
The two primary goals of the WSP will be accomplished through four focus areas:
- Professional Experience
- High School Outreach
- WORC Leaders Program