Golden, Colo., November 3, 1995 -- The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) announced today a schedule for restructuring and reducing its work force in response to impending reductions in federal research budgets. Work force reductions may ultimately eliminate more than 10 percent of the present work force of about 900 full-time employees.
The reduction will occur in two phases. The first phase will be a Voluntary Separation Program to be offered in November and December. The second phase, if necessary to meet budget requirements, would include involuntary separations to begin in January 1996. The full sequence of reductions and reassignments is expected to be completed by Spring 1996.
The work force reductions are necessitated in part by sharp reductions in federal funding for renewable energy technology research and by the nationwide effort of the Department of Energy to reduce its headquarters and laboratory staffing levels as part of a major realignment of the department.
"This is a very challenging time for NREL and its research partners in industry and universities," said NREL Director Dr. Charles Gay. "Congressional budget cuts are forcing reductions in research programs at the very time when renewable energy technologies are proving their real value and commercial potential in a wide array of applications here in the United States and as exports to countries around the world."
"NREL is implementing fundamental changes in how it operates to improve its efficiency so that the lab can fulfill its science and technology mission at reduced budgets now being discussed in Washington," Gay said. "Budget cuts and NREL's re-engineering initiatives require that we reduce our work force. We're making these reductions as part of a carefully planned work force restructuring program to be best positioned to meet the challenges ahead."
Work force restructuring is one element of NREL's program to increase operational efficiency and reduce costs. One of the key goals of NREL's ongoing work force restructuring efforts is the mitigation of future staff reductions.
NREL's work force reductions will be guided by a plan submitted to the Department of Energy. The plan calls for assisting affected NREL workers in making the transition to other employment. Employees will be offered a range of transition assistance, including access to outplacement assistance, continuation of medical benefits and retraining opportunities.
"Extensive efforts are in place to help employees find a new job once they leave NREL," Gay said. The laboratory plans to keep employees, community leaders and government officials informed of work force reduction actions.
"NREL will retain a work force with the required skills to carry out its mission to facilitate the advancement of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies in the marketplace," Gay said.