AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Pantex recently announced that it welcomed representatives from Thomas Edison State University to sign a memorandum of understanding that could significantly reduce out-of-pocket expenses for employees pursuing online degrees from the Trenton, N.J., school.

According to Pantex officials, the agreement, which was signed Aug. 30 at the site’s John C. Drummond Center, provides employees at both Pantex and its Consolidated Nuclear Security sister site, Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn., with a corporate tuition rate, lets them defer payment for classes at TESU, and in some cases provides academic credit for time spent on the job.

“As we achieve new and innovative ways to increase the knowledge and skills of our employees, we commensurately increase our performance at the Pantex Plant,” said Colby Yeary, Pantex Site Manager. “This partnership represents an across-the-board win for our employees, the site, and TESU.”

Pantex officials stated that employees can combine this new opportunity with the existing CNS tuition reimbursement program to significantly lower their out-of-pocket expenses and the time required to obtain a degree or certification.

“Partnerships such as this one are a testament to our commitment to providing accessible and affordable education to those who seek it,” said Merodie A. Hancock, PhD, President of Thomas Edison. “We are excited to be a part of this initiative and look forward to empowering Pantex and Y-12 employees on their educational journey.”

According to Pantex officials, Pantex recruiter Zuleyma Carruba-Rogel said the agreement holds the potential to increase Pantex employees’ skills and upward mobility.

“This strategic partnership with TESU is poised to help Pantex build internal pathways for critical skills and hard-to-fill positions. TESU offers competitive degrees in nuclear engineering, homeland security, and emergency management that can result in upskilling opportunities and open new career pathways for ‘Pantexans’,” said Carruba-Rogel.

Pantex officials noted that the new opportunity was the idea of Justin Fox, a manager at Pantex, as a way to retain and grow one of his promising employees and potentially many more.

“The hope is that we incentivize people to go back to school,” Fox explained. “With the corporate tuition rate, deferred tuition costs, and flexibility with classes, it overcomes many of the hurdles our staff face in going back to school. That was the premise to help employees.”

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