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Fluor-BWXT Employee Giving Campaign Donates to United Way of Ross County

PIKETON, Ohio – Thanks to donations from employees at the Portsmouth site and additional dollars from Fluor-BWXT during their annual Employee Giving Campaign last October, $23,058.04 will be donated to the United Way of Ross County in January. The remaining proceeds will be used to assist the needy in Jackson, Pike and Scioto counties. On Dec. 5, Fluor-BWXT personnel met with United Way officials to learn more about some of the programs and agencies they support.

FBP’s Deneen Revel met with United Way officials to discuss some of the programs and agencies they support. From left, Kelli Yeager-Nelson, Board of Trustees Chair Jarrell Witty, Revel and Board of Trustees Member Nancy Ames.

The United Way of Ross County assists 23 different agencies. Kelli Yeager-Nelson is their Chief Executive Officer.

“One (1) in 3 people in our county are touched by some program that is connected to the United Way of Ross County,” Yeager-Nelson said. “Whether it’s water safety through the YMCA, job training at Goodwill Industries,  the men’s homeless shelter/women’s domestic violence shelter, Salvation Army or the Carver Community Center--there are so many in the community.”

Some of their flagship programs include Mighty Active Packs, Success by Six, and Map Your Future with two different business camps for children.

“Mighty Active Packs is one of our most wide-reaching programs. It is in every school district and reaches households across the county. Our volunteers come from area businesses as well as other groups. Our goal is to feed 300 children every weekend during the school year; we have 266 that we serve this year,”

Yeager-Nelson said. “In Ross County, 48 percent of our population either falls in the poverty area or in the ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) gap. Typically, a family of four making $60,000 a year with food, medical, transportation, and daycare expenses are just barely making it.”

Yeager-Nelson said their Success by Six program has significantly improved Kindergarten readiness.

“Those scoring below 50 percent on the Kindergarten Assessment screening are recommended for the program. It is fully funded by the United Way. There are 15 seats per classroom and every Ross County school district has at least one classroom. Four weeks after being in this program, students showed a 12-point average point gain on the Brigance Test.  In Ross County, many kids who are old enough to go to Kindergarten do not test at grade level for Kindergarten.  Some don’t know their colors, letters or numbers and have social or emotional growth needs. We provide transportation, food, teachers, materials and the testing for this program,” Yeager-Nelson said.

In 2017, the United Way of Ross County pioneered two successful business camps for school-aged children known as entrepreneur’s camp and manufacturer’s camp. For the entrepreneur’s camp, two groups of 5th-8th graders spent two weeks (one week per group) developing a cupcake business. The experience included a curriculum in marketing and also required the development of a business plan.

“It was mostly girls who participated. It is always interesting when you offer something like that and you have a heavy female turnout,” Yeager-Nelson said. “We covered the whole gamut--what it is to set up a business, what is a supply chain, how do you do budgeting and what is marketing like. It was terrific to watch them go out and actually sell—it was so much fun. They were able to convince the mayor and the county auditor to purchase two dozen cupcakes.”

The first week of camp was held at Ohio University’s Chillicothe campus and the second week was held at Paper City Coffee in Chillicothe.

For the three-day manufacturer’s camp, 30 students (10-14 year olds) learned about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) at the Pickaway-Ross Career Technology Center.

“We worked in conjunction with Sherrod Brown’s office to host our first manufacturer’s camp here in Ross County for career exploration. It was a great turnout and the kids focused on STEM,” Yeager-Nelson said. “Kenworth and Pickaway Ross Career Technology Center were the other two primary partners in this year’s manufacturing camp.”

“With our Map Your Future program, we’ve been able to provide a lot of different job exploration opportunities by going out and visiting the Adena Hospital system. We’ve toured the entire facility, talking to people from all departments so that the kids understand it takes more than just doctors or nurses to run a hospital and that there are opportunities in maintenance, human resources, marketing, communications, and so many areas that they can focus in, including robotics. They have a robotics lab there to do simulations for the doctors and nurses,” Yeager-Nelson said.

“We are fortunate to have creative leaders and organizations in Ross County that seek to make learning fun and give it purpose that a student can relate to.  Our company and our client, the Department of Energy, know the importance of these programs and how STEM related fields are driving our economy and creating good jobs now and in the future,” Site Project Director Dennis Carr, Fluor-BWXT Portsmouth, said.

Yeager-Nelson said 99 percent of the donations they receive stay in Ross County. Of that amount, 20 percent covers administrative expenses (local rent, utilities, salaries), which leaves approximately 79 percent of the funds going directly to community projects. The remaining 1 percent pays association fees.

Several volunteer opportunities are available in Ross County. If you are interested in learning more, please go to www.volunteerrosscounty.org.

Fluor Corporation (NYSE: FLR) and BWX Technologies, Inc. (BWXT) (NYSE: BWXT), two world-class companies with significant Ohio experience, formed Fluor-BWXT Portsmouth LLC (FBP) to address the decontamination and decommissioning (D&D) needs at the Department of Energy's (DOE) Portsmouth Site in Pike County, Ohio. CH2M, another global leader in industrial and environmental projects, provides support. Fluor-BWXT employs 1,900 workers who bring unparalleled experience, insights, and lessons learned from across the DOE complex. The Fluor-BWXT Portsmouth mandate is to clean up the Portsmouth Site safely and compliantly, provide strong uranium stewardship and partner with local communities to achieve a sustainable economic future. For more information, visit www.fbportsmouth.com.