Progress Edition

HAMMER: Delivering dynamic training for today’s workforce and solutions for tomorrow’s challenges

Students at HAMMER use an above ground pipeline prop for hands-on training to repair a simulated leak.
Students at HAMMER use an above ground pipeline prop for hands-on training to repair a simulated leak. Courtesy HAMMER

I am very proud to serve as the director of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Volpentest HAMMER Federal Training Center and am actively building on our legacy of providing critical training for both Hanford Site and national programs. HAMMER serves as the site’s hands-on safety and health-training facility.

Our success is based on meaningful worker involvement, workers training workers, and strong partnerships with DOE, labor, tribes, site contractors, academia and other federal and state agencies. Last year, DOE Undersecretary Paul Dabbar praised HAMMER’s peer training model and its important role in “setting the standard for training and safety which has been applicable across the whole of the Environmental Management complex.”

HAMMER is currently experiencing the highest number of students since the Recovery Act hiring surge in 2010. I would like to thank DOE for recognizing our facility and infrastructure needs and investing in HAMMER to ensure we’re prepared to meet the current and future Hanford mission.

HAMMER has the capability to extend services beyond training and provide a location for mock-ups and simulations, testing and technology demonstrations.

Recently, we launched a course enhancement initiative to ensure our training meets site needs, incorporates the latest in industry trends, and addresses lessons learned through experienced workers mentoring and teaching the incoming workforce. As part of this effort, HAMMER revamped its Radiological Control Technician training to be more interactive and foster the transfer of knowledge between experienced workers and new employees.

Our team is revising the Hanford Site electrical safety, hazardous waste operations and emergency response, hazardous energy control, and respiratory protection programs. The changes will incorporate realistic training aids, relevant Hanford-specific scenarios for student interaction and more frequent post-training evaluations.

HAMMER’s reach extends well beyond this region. We fulfill a vital role in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) national emergency response framework. HAMMER trains responders, deploys to national emergencies and manages the deployment of DOE’s energy restoration resources. In August, the team received the Secretary of Energy Achievement Award from Energy Secretary Rick Perry, honoring their service during the 2017 hurricane season.

Engaging our community in preparing for the next generation of workers has brought the HAMMER partners and site contractors together in a focused effort to use our expertise to inform, attract and retain the future Hanford workforce. We have identified key positions needed at Hanford and developed strategies to ensure a skilled and educated workforce is available. We are focused on targeted recruiting, apprenticeship programs, educational outreach and workforce stability.

I’m proud to lead our dedicated staff, who work closely with our partners to form an alliance focusing on the noble cause of improving the safety and health of workers and emergency responders.