Our People

Photo of 4 people's arms all joining hands together in the middle; the image represents the 'Our People' Transformation Focus Area.

The NRC is on a transformation journey to become a modern, risk-informed regulator. To achieve our vision, we will maintain an engaged and highly skilled workforce now and in the future.

On this page:

Defining our Culture

The NRC's culture is shaped by its people. In 2018, the NRC developed a leadership model to provide clear expectations regarding how every NRC employee individually and collectively demonstrates leadership in fulfilling the NRC mission. The Leadership Model is a roadmap for communicating the behaviors and attitudes that are expected and valued within the NRC.

Culture has an influential role in how we do business.  It sets the tone and expectations for how we get work done, including how we make decisions and how we interact, innovate, and collaborate with one another. Our culture includes norms for how we foster new ideas for organizational improvement, in addition to how we encourage continuous learning and "thinking big" across the agency. Culture also enhances our adaptability and receptivity to change so we can maximize our organizational effectiveness in a changing environment.

The NRC has identified culture as one of our transformation initiatives -- to create a positive work environment where staff will feel engaged and empowered to lead during times of change and demonstrate behaviors that enable trust. The Culture initiative focuses on aligning our culture with our transformation vision by assessing and identifying the behavioral norms and expectations that align with our Leadership Model and our vision of being a modern, risk-informed regulator.

In spring 2020, the Agency Culture team launched a first-of-its-kind internal culture survey that assessed the agency's current culture and desired culture. In addition, the team analyzed the results from our agency's routine climate surveys and conducted several internal focus groups. This information was used to develop an internal culture improvement plan that described tangible actions to help the NRC workforce continue to meet our important safety and security mission while also making improvements. The agency plans to conduct a full re-assessment of our culture in spring 2022, with additional surveys and focus groups to measure progress.

green outline of a clapperboard on white backgroundBehind-the-Scenes: Agency Culture Team

thumbnail of opening frame of NRC Culture Initiative Accomplisments video

If you want to learn more about the Agency Culture Team and what they have accomplished, check out this video.

Retaining and Developing our Workforce

Changes in workforce levels, retaining and attracting talent, and advances in reactor technologies requiring skills and knowledge were common themes from the NRC Futures Assessment and Futures Jam.

In 2017, the NRC began implementing enhancements to its strategic workforce planning process. The process facilitates the NRC's ability to meet current and future workforce needs by integrating the NRC's workload projection, skills identification, human capital management, individual development, and workforce management activities.

In 2019, the NRC introduced a new tool for managing employee training and development. The Talent Management System provides blended learning opportunities to help the NRC's current workforce gain new skills as reactors, materials, waste, and security technology advances. Blended learning is a combination of traditional in-class/hands-on demonstrations and virtual instruction. Employees can access a variety of courses to hone their existing skill set, gain new skills about emerging trends in technology, and develop leadership and communication skills.

Following the Futures Jam, the Career Enhancement transformation initiative identified areas for improving communications to implement our human capital programs. The career enhancement initiative ensures that employees are equipped with tools to help them meet the NRC's current and future skill needs. On April 1, 2020, the Guide to Career Enhancement tool was launched agencywide. This interactive guide provides staff links to internal policies and resources and links to external policies and resources provided by the Office of Personnel Management. The guide allows staff to better connect with mentors and ways to update their individual development plans to better position themselves for future career successes.

NRAN 2020 Program diagram consisting of a black rectangle background with a circle in the center which is made up of 6 different colored sections, and categories in white font: 'Revisit Plans, Revise, & Repeat', 'Formalize a Plan & Document Your Achievements', 'Identify Opportunities to Develop', 'Identify Where Future Work Is Expected', 'Undersand the Skills Needed & Assess Your Skill Set', and 'Reflect on Personal Priorities'; each of the categories relates to one of the colored sections of the cirle in the middle of the image
Guide to Career Enhancement

The Employee Journey transformation initiative launched in summer 2020 and is a follow-on to the Career Enhancement initiative. The Employee Journey initiative team is focused on clarifying career paths based on future workload needs to drive employee retention, engagement, and development. On December 31, 2020, the initiative team launched the employee journey platform. The platform includes ten positions that were identified by offices and regions during the FY 2020 Strategic Workforce Planning (SWP) process. These positions were identified as having future workforce gaps. Additional careers will be added to the platform and it will be made available on the NRC’s public website, highlighting our agency as the employer of choice.

green outline of a clapperboard on white background Behind-the-Scenes: Career Enhancement & Employee Journey Teams

thumbnail of opening frame of NRC Behind-the-Scenes: Career Enhancement and Employee Journey Teams video
If you want to learn more about the Career Enhancement and Employee Journey Teams and what they have accomplished, check out this video.

Recruiting the Workforce of Tomorrow

In addition to maintaining an engaged and highly skilled workforce, the NRC is also focused on recruiting the workforce of tomorrow. The NRC uses a variety of programs to promote awareness of the agency and provide hands-on learning opportunities to students and recent graduates.

Two examples of our summer programs for Maryland’s Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) high school students are the “A Week” and Summer RISE. These programs are designed to introduce MCPS high school students to who we are and how we work, provide a “real world” work experience, and to learn more about the incredible people who support the important safety and security mission of the NRC.

In 2019, the NRC hosted 20 MCPS high school students for the "A Week" program.  The students were given a project and then presented their findings at the end of the week. This provided high school students with hands-on experience about how we work and what we do. For future opportunities contact Luis.Betancourt@nrc.gov

2019 'A Week' Program Participants
2019 "A Week" Program Participants

Due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, our July 2021 Summer RISE program was held virtually. The NRC hosted 5 MCPS high school students over four-weeks. Each student was paired with a mentor and was able to job shadow their mentor and experience “a day in their life” work experience. Students learned how we implement our mission and were able to interview senior leaders about their work experiences. In addition, the Summer RISE students also engaged with the summer interns for collaborative activities.

Collection of video cam thumbnail images of the July 2021 Summer RISE program that was held virtually due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The NRC hosted 5 MCPS high school students over four-weeks. Each student was paired with a mentor and was able to job shadow their mentor and experience “a day in their life” work experience. These images include the students and their mentors.

July 2021 Summer RISE Program Participants

The NRC regularly advertises summer internship opportunities during fall job expos at colleges and universities across the country. Early internship offers provide greater flexibility to the NRC to match college students' skillsets with our program areas. It also provides college students with earlier acceptance into our internship program. Our Temporary Summer Student and Co-Operative Education programs are designed to provide interesting work, exposure to career opportunities, and to learn more about the people who support the important safety and security mission of the NRC. Although the COVID-19 public health emergency changed how we onboard our summer interns and Co-Op students, the NRC had a robust summer 2021 program with 55 new interns, 5 returning interns, and 12 Co-Op students. With backgrounds in engineering, science, data analytics, cybersecurity, computer science, finance, accounting, human resources, human factors psychology, sociology, and public policy, the summer interns and Co-Op students worked on projects that expanded their knowledge of the NRC and how we work.

The NRC's Nuclear Regulator Apprenticeship Network (NRAN) recruits recent graduates with bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degrees and strong academic records to address expected skill needs of the agency. The 2020 cohort focused on graduates in health physics, earth sciences, or engineering disciplines. The members participate in focused training and real-world experiences through various apprenticeships working with technical experts. NRAN is a holistic apprenticeship that not only focuses on technical skills, but also personal and professional development. In June 2020, the 23-member cohort were virtually onboarded in the NRAN program. The cohort completed a 15-week training program, including technical, regulatory and organizational skills. In October 2020, the cohort began apprenticeships in many of the NRC headquarters and regional offices to expand and enhance their regulatory skills and professional development.

The NRC's Nuclear Regulator Apprenticeship Network (NRAN) group photo wearing masks
NRAN 2020 Program

green outline of a clapperboard on white backgroundBehind-the-Scenes: NRAN 2020

opening frame of NRC NRAN 2020 cohort video

To learn more about the NRAN 2020 cohort and how they are implementing the NRC’s mission, check out this video.


See below to learn more about the NRC's transformation journey and focus areas.


Page Last Reviewed/Updated Monday, April 11, 2022