1,200 stimulus jobs remain at SRS

AIKEN --- If you applied but haven't heard back on one of the many open stimulus jobs at Savannah River Site, officials say you shouldn't give up hope yet.

"They're still in the game," said Paivi Nettamo, a spokeswoman for the Savannah River Nuclear Solutions Recovery Act project. "... If you're in the database ... you will be considered."

Last month, job fairs were held in Aiken and Augusta, with crowds putting in applications for about 3,000 jobs being created by Recovery Act projects at SRS.

On Friday, SRS announced that it had hired its 1,000th new employee with the stimulus money for environmental cleanup at the site -- Frankie Hutto, of Williston, S.C., an experienced truck driver and heavy equipment operator.

"I had been out of work for two months, and at age 53 I was worried about not being offered a job at the site," he said in an SRS news release. "But it worked out great, and I'm pleased to be here."

Ms. Nettamo said about 800 site employees also have been retained for stimulus jobs. But that leaves about 1,200 jobs to be filled, she said.

"We're estimating the hiring will continue for another few months," she said, adding that peak staffing levels are projected for November.

Some administrative, project-control and accounting positions have been filled, she said.

"Initially, we brought in a lot of employees that we needed to have in place so that when the rest of the work force came in we had a structure to support the additional work force," she said.

SRNS has even entered into lease negotiations for more than 7,000 square feet of office space in Aiken County's Cooperative Research Center at the Savannah River Research Campus. County officials have said that SRNS, which provides management and operations support for SRS, needs the office space for workers it planned to hire with part of the $1.6 billion in federal stimulus money.

Ms. Nettamo said a wide range of jobs are still open, though no more job fairs are planned.

The Recovery Act project at SRS is scheduled to last until September 2011, Ms. Nettamo said, adding that most of the jobs created will last until then. Beyond that, she said, "The site is looking at new missions, so at that point in time there could be other positions available. ... These people will have the training and will be ready for the nuclear renaissance that the nation is experiencing already."

Reach Preston Sparks at (803) 648-1395, ext. 110, or preston.sparks@augustachronicle.com.

STILL WANT TO APPLY?

Applicants are still being accepted via the Web site www.srs.gov/recovery/employment. Savannah River Nuclear Solutions spokeswoman Paivi Nettamo said there's no deadline for submitting applications online.