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Cultivating a highly qualified scientific and technical workforce can take years. With a large percentage of the nation’s current scientific minds nearing retirement, workforce studies show that filling the pipeline with workers who are able to compete in the international global science, technical and research arenas has never been more critical.

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Government Agencies & Employers

Grooming future leaders in science and technology requires enhancing the skills, knowledge and experience of workers early in their careers. To that end, ORAU assists in connecting the best and most diverse students, recent graduates, faculty and professionals with world-class fellowships, internships and jobs, whether in national laboratories, research institutions, federal government offices or private sector R&D departments.

ORAU has been providing STEM talent staffing solutions and designing, managing, and evaluating jobs and internships for more than 70 years. We have developed programs for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Army Research Laboratory and many others, and have demonstrated their success through comprehensive program evaluations

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    STEM Workforce Solutions

    Whether you are a job seeker, agency sponsor or employer, ORAU offers a wide range of opportunities and solutions for students, STEM talent, or other scientific support personnel.

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  • ORAU STEM Program Evaluator

    Workforce Program Evaluations

    Ensuring a continuous flow of talent through fellowships, internships and other programs takes many resources. How do you know if the investment is paying off? Through workforce program evaluations, ORAU can help you determine short and long-term impacts of your efforts and where you need to adjust.

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  • ORAU workforce trends analyst

    Labor Trends & Workforce Studies 

    When you need to know impacts of the important trends in the labor market, ORAU provides the data and analysis that is key to determining the effects on your industry and workforce.

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What we offer

What our employee participants are saying...

“I will be moving to pursue my Master's in Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech. I am completely convinced that this all would have been impossible without the experience that I have had at EPA.”
-Kory W, Employee Participant 2015-17

“On our project, we worked with other scientists… who had a more public health-based approach to our project. I really enjoyed seeing how the two came together.”
-Corine W, Employee Participant, 2016-17

How do we find 'purple squirrels?"

How do we find 'purple squirrels?"

Amanda Hurley, section manager for ORAU Workforce Solutions, manages a team of recruiters who seek out top talent for some of ORAU’s key clients. Sometimes these positions call for a virtually impossible combination of skills and experience. The recruiting industry term for these candidates is “purple squirrels.”

“A purple squirrel is someone who the company, agency or hiring manager wants, but that person doesn’t really exist or is very difficult to find," Hurley said. "For example, someone who is a social media manager and also a data analyst. Usually a person who is very creative doesn’t have the data analysis skills.”

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Our Experts

David Duncan

David Duncan, Ph.D.

Expertise: Dr. Duncan oversees ORAU's Scientific Assessment and Workforce Development programs. In this role, Duncan manages a wide spectrum of internship, fellowship and research experience programs to recruit and manage appointments for scientific talent to strengthen the federal STEM workforce. He also directs programs that, through rigorous peer review, help the U.S. government make informed funding decisions for scientific research and development investments.

He previously served as an adjunct faculty member for the University of Tennessee environmental health graduate program and is a Fellow of the American Industrial Hygiene Association. Dr. Duncan holds a doctorate in educational psychology and research from the University of Tennessee.

Dawn King

Dawn King, M.S.

Expertise: Human resources, talent acquisition, recruitment, teambuilding, business development, networking, coaching, employee engagement, training and development, performance management, leadership development, and employee retention

King has more than 15 years of Human Resources professional experience with a Master's of Science focused in Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration, from the University of Tennessee. She has a demonstrated history of working with both the private and government administration industry and is highly skilled in accessing the human capital needs of an organization and implementing an effective recruitment strategy to fulfill these needs.

Don Johnson

Don Johnson, Ph.D.

Expertise: Economics of specialized labor markets, regional economic growth and development

Contact us

For more information about ORAU’s Workforce Solutions, contact us at 865.576.3424 or