Delaware County Community College, Serving Delaware and Chester Counties

Braskem America, Eastern Controls and other Industry Leaders Launch New Process Operator Academy

Group photo with large check(Delaware and Chester Counties, PA • April 26, 2018)—Joining Braskem America, Eastern Controls and other industry leaders, Delaware County Community College officials today announced a new Process Operator Academy that will help train workers to be process operators in petroleum, chemical, pharmaceutical, food and other industries. In just eight weeks, students taking non-credit, hands-on courses at the Process Operator Academy will learn the skills needed to be a successful process operator. Process operators oversee, monitor and maintain equipment, including valves, fittings, and pressure and measurement devices to ensure smooth work flow and state and federal regulatory and safety compliance.

Braskem America provided $15,000 to the College’s Educational Foundation to help develop and fund the Process Operator Academy. Both Braskem and Eastern Controls also helped the College create the curriculum for the new training program, which has already begun and is held at the College’s Advanced Technology Center at the Marple Campus and at Eastern Controls, based in Edgmont Township. Eastern Controls manufactures and distributes process control and instrumentation equipment. Headquartered in Brazil, Braskem produces thermoplastics and operates locally out of Marcus Hook.

Over the past decade, chemical and other industries have experienced a decline in the talent pool of skilled workers to fill high-demand jobs in large part because of the retirement of many baby-boomer generation workers. However, building a training program to support industry and replenish the skilled labor pool is no easy task and takes time, money and resources.

At the announcement today, Jeffrey Logan, executive director of the Pennsylvania Chemical Industry Council, said the Process Operator Academy can help manufacturers counter the “great tsunami” of baby-boomer retirements affecting many industries by providing affordable, effective, quality training. “These types of partnerships are critical to replacing the skill sets that will be moving on,” Logan said. “We’re hoping to see this (training program) replicated across the state.”

According to Jeremy Glisson, industrial director for Braskem America, it typically takes Braskem three to five years to fully train a process operator. However, Braskem expects the Process Operator Academy will cut that training time in half, and plans to send four of its employees to the Academy for training later this month.

“We actually have a world class training facility right here in our own backyard,” Glisson said. “Thank you to Delaware County Community College.” Cliff McLaughlin Jr., president of Eastern Controls, said as the nation’s economy improves, manufacturing in America is growing, but employers are facing critical labor shortages. “Recruit, train and retain skilled workers that is a real issue” for area employers, McLaughlin Jr. said.

The College’s Process Operator Academy will train workers in skills such as the role of process technicians and operators; pump operations; plant equipment; safety, health and environmental training, regulations and laws; emergency response, rescue and warning systems; input/output devices in a process environment; industrial control circuitry; and processing unit operation.

The median salary for a process operator is $28.33 per hour, according the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. To learn more about the College’s new Process Operator Academy, call 610-359-5137.

Photo Caption: Industry representatives from Braskem America, Eastern Controls and the Pennsylvania Chemical Industry Council join administrators and faculty from Delaware County Community College for the announcement of the College’s new Process Operator Academy. Braskem donated $15,000 to the College’s Educational Foundation for the creation of the Academy.

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