ICYMI: INL sees robust job growth

Posted on 01/12/16 in Uncategorized, No Comments

Post Register
January 7, 2016
By Bryan Clark

It has been a good year for Idaho National Laboratory.

Lab representatives on Thursday gave the Legislature’s Economic Outlook and Revenue Assessment Committee an update on its growth over the past year, and growth has been strong.

INL’s total business volume grew from $832 million in fiscal year 2014 to $917 million in 2015, 10 percent year over year growth. The lab also hiked its payments to local subcontractors from $125 million to $130 million, increased its average salary from $87,500 to $88,600 and generated $58 million in state and local taxes.

The lab hired a total of 503 new employees in 2015, up substantially from 354 in 2014.

“We’re growing in a lot of exciting areas that are solving big national challenges,” Director Mark Peters said. “We’re growing in nuclear energy research, but we’re also growing in other clean energy research and in national security.”

Peters told the committee that he anticipates work on cybersecurity issues will be a major growth area for INL in coming years. The biggest problem: a lack of adequately trained job applicants.

INL and other high-tech employers have to compete over a small pool of applicants with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and math — or STEM — fields, Peters said. And often college curricula don’t provide students all the skills they need to begin work on a project.

Peters and Communications Director Amy Lientz outlined a series of steps the lab is taking to address the “STEM crisis.” The lab is working to quickly up its number of interns, Lientz said. In 2013 the lab had 155 student interns, but by 2015 that number was up to 350.

And the number of postdoctoral researchers working at INL has quadrupled from eight in 2013 to 32.

These are all efforts to build a robust “talent pipeline” that will guide new skilled graduates to INL, Lientz said.

Peters said a key to INL’s growth has been the work of U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson and the rest of Idaho’s Congressional delegation.

Read more here: http://www.postregister.com/articles/news-daily-email-todays-headlines/2016/01/07/inl-sees-robust-job-growth