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LANL projects rosy job numbers

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Long-term > LANL chief outlines future employment goals

By Tris DeRoma

Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Charlie McMillan assured local leaders in Santa Fe Tuesday that the lab is going to continue to be a strong community and regional partner.
LANL is facing a period of relative uncertainty as Los Alamos National Security’s contract to manage the lab goes out to bid sometime after 2017. The National Nuclear Safety Administration put Congress on notice that LANS’ current contract will not be renewed and will be put out to bid after 2017.
LANS LLC failed to get another renewal due to performance issues, even though the lab’s performance for 2015 was better than its performance in 2014.  
“A very clear priority for us is assuring that the laboratory is as strong as it possibly can be through the contract transition,” McMillan said at Tuesday’s breakfast meeting. “Not just up to the transition, but through the transition. So, we’re looking to make decisions today about long-term strengths for the laboratory.”
One of those long-term strengths will be through employee attrition, as LANL prepares to replace the next wave of employees that are set to retire.
LANL plans to hire 600 to 700 scientists in the research and development division between now and 2020 to replace those retirees. As for support techs, LANL plans to hire around 400 people in the same period, McMillan said.
McMillan said the lab’s business services and operations are also expected to see similar employment numbers, as the lab expects to hire 700 people in its business services sector and about the same number in its operations sector in the next four years.
“So, taken together, you’re looking at something in excess of 2,000 people we expect to hire at the laboratory in the next four years. That’s a lot of opportunity,” McMillan said.
He said the laboratory will be taking advantage of the retirement wave “to shape the future workforce of the lab,” he said, adding that they’ve already begun the recruitment process through social media, resume workshops and job fairs across the region.
McMillan also said LANL will continue its investment in the community. LANL has invested $32.5 million in Los Alamos County and the surrounding region since 2006 in three key areas: economic development, education and community programming. $2.6 million had been invested in 2016 alone he added.
He also said the lab is on strong economic footing as it heads into 2016 with a an estimated $2.45 billion budget. According to figures presented during his presentation, 65 percent of that funding is from “National Nuclear Safety Administration Weapons Programs,” at $1.6 billion.
The rest of the estimated budget was made up of seven other categories:
• Strategic Partnerships (National Security), $116 million (5 percent)
• Strategic Partnerships, $118 million (5 percent)
• Department of Energy Office of Science, $91 million (4 percent)
• DOE Energy and Other programs, $56 million (2 percent)
• DOE Environmental Management, $174 million (7 percent)
• NNSA Safeguards and Security, $116 million (5 percent)
• NNSA Nonproliferation, $179 million (7 percent)