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INL Workforce Development

INL Projections Point to Continued Growth, High Demand for Top Talent

Published in the March 2023 Issue Published online: Mar 09, 2023
Viewed 1097 time(s)



By Jeremy Johnson, INL Communications

 Idaho National Laboratory is projecting significant growth as the lab remains at the forefront of scientific innovation and technology.

“The lab is achieving breakthroughs that will make the world safer, cleaner and more secure for future generations,” INL Director John Wagner said. “With increased support for our clean energy and national security missions, it is critically important that we have the workforce needed to deliver for the nation.”

INL resident labor economist Hope Morrow recently released the lab’s annual workforce forecast showing growth in various areas. Morrow predicts the lab will need over 2,800 new employees in the next five years. “INL’s demand for top talent continues to grow, but labor market tightness has not let up,” Morrow said. “Labor competition is still at an all-time high, as many Idaho businesses also see an increased need for a robust workforce.”

With growth across INL’s mission areas in nuclear energy, national and homeland security, and integrated energy systems, there is increased demand for engineers, technicians, and skilled trades. The five-year forecast shows this will include over 600 openings for engineers and around 750 openings for technicians and trades.

INL is developing workforce pipelines to manage labor needs.

 “We have built really dynamic K-12 STEM and university programming to develop a workforce that serves INL and its partners, but with this level of continued growth INL is moving to expand those development opportunities,” Morrow said

 In addition to university and K-12 engagements, INL strategizes with community colleges to develop curriculum and training opportunities. For example, the College of Eastern Idaho has been a valuable partner to INL in developing programs like pre-engineering, construction, radiation control and craft/trades programming. This instruction is critical to reduce barriers for students to access education in these fields, leading to employment opportunities at the lab or with an industry partner.

 “As the college expands its partnership with INL to offer training and education for these types of jobs, it provides our population with the opportunity to be hired for jobs that can support a family in high demand and technical careers,” said CEI President Rick Aman.

 CEI and INL signed a memorandum of understanding to further this partnership, where INL committed to investing in technical support, curriculum development and some financial investment.

 In addition, CEI provides the lab with expanded access to a diversified and regional labor pool and professional development opportunities for INL staff members to engage and teach in the community college space.  

 Another aspect of the working relationship is support of the Eastern Idaho Workforce Training Center (EIWC). The training center was transferred to CEI in May by Bonneville County, working in partnership with the city of Idaho Falls and the Regional Development Alliance. The facility focuses on training the workforce in Idaho Falls and the surrounding area.

“This center will be industry-led and needs community support,” said Penny Lyon, interim director of EIWC. “With the guidance of the advisory board, and CEI’s educational strength, we are excited to help businesses deliver training their way.”

The goal for this facility is to deliver training in a variety of areas at the lowest possible cost to build skills, improve employment options and increase wages.

“Investing in our workforce is the most critical return on investment we can make,” said Morrow, who is also head of Regional and Community Workforce Development at INL. “We are thankful to our partners and our community for continually supporting Idaho National Laboratory and all our workforce needs now and, in the future.” 

To learn more about careers at the Idaho National Laboratory go to https://inl.gov/careers/

About Idaho National Laboratory
Battelle Energy Alliance manages INL for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy. 

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