After a summer of preparation, SABIC, Ivy Tech Community College Evansville and other corporate partners are ready to launch the first Process Operations Technical Certificate Program classes the week of October 15.
Announced in April, the goal of the Program is to identify and train new employees, offer scholarship and internship opportunities, and prepare participants for a career offering good salaries and benefits. An important objective of the Program is to help develop the local workforce while filling the manufacturing industry pipeline.
Over the past few months, SABIC has taken many steps to help drive the Program, according to Joe Castrale, SABIC’s Mt. Vernon facility general manager. “First, in partnership with Ivy Tech, the necessary lab equipment and training modules were ordered,” he said. “Then we launched a strong marketing communications effort with billboards, local radio spots, high school visits and more to help people know the Program is available. We’re excited to move forward.”
SABIC donated $147,000, Country Mark donated $20,000 and Valero donated $15,000 to the Ivy Tech Foundation to help fund the new lab equipment, scholarships and internships supporting the program. A monthly advisory council, which was formed to steer progress, placed Ivy Tech and chemical industry partner leadership in active roles.
Ivy Tech faculty also secured new instructional materials from various vendors to provide online learning, classroom instruction and hands-on laboratory exercises, as well as attended detailed workshops at the vendor facilities.
“This partnership is providing a creative solution to address what is being called a ‘silver tsunami’ as many in the workforce are at, or nearing, retirement,” said Jonathan Weinzapfel, Ivy Tech Community College Southwest Campus Chancellor. “Students in this program will be prepared to enter the workforce in one year, and benefit from scholarships provided by the companies, as well as internship opportunities.”
Those who graduate from the one-year program will receive practical education in various aspects of plant operations including environmental, health, safety, equipment operation, process monitoring, troubleshooting procedures, regulatory compliance and basic preventative maintenance.
“This is just the beginning,” said Castrale. “More classes will be held in January and throughout the year. I hope those who are interested will register and participate. This program is important to our community and local workforce, and it’s especially vital to the future of the manufacturing industry.”