Latest apprenticeship program is fusion of energy research, technical know-how

By Alex Wolmart
Princeton | Jul 18, 2019 at 2:30 am

The state’s economy is changing, and jobs and apprenticeships are changing with it.

Gov. Phil Murphy this week announced a new registered apprenticeship program to support electrical technician, electronic technician and mechanical technician occupations at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.

The Governor’s Office said increased support for the jobs will further fusion energy research in the state as part of Murphy’s attempt to grow the New Jersey Apprenticeship Network.

“We must ensure that our residents are prepared for jobs in the 21st-century economy,” Murphy said. “This new program is another significant step toward our efforts to provide New Jerseyans with the essential skills they need in order to succeed.”

The program is a partnership between the U.S. Department of Labor, New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development and the Mercer County Technical Schools.

By helping advance the fields of fusion energy and plasma physics research at the national laboratory, participants will help to develop scientific understanding and key innovations needed to realize fusion as an energy source for the world.

“Our Office of Apprenticeship has been working to spread the message that apprenticeships can bring new opportunities to all sectors,” Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said. “Bringing apprenticeships to a leader in scientific research proves that this earn-while-you-learn model has far-reaching capabilities across all industries looking to development pipelines of talent.”

Apprentices will support the maintenance and operations of fusion reactors and other devices.

“(Apprentices) will become highly skilled technicians who will help us carry out our mission of developing fusion as a clean, safe, and abundant source of electric energy,” said Steve Cowley, the PPPL director.

Job-related classroom instruction is provided to apprentices through the MCTS while they receive 8,000 hours of on-the-job training at PPPL, competitive pay and Princeton University benefits. Eligibility for full-time employment after completion of the program is also provided.

To learn more about the Garden State’s apprenticeship opportunities, please visit nj.gov/labor/apprenticeship.