Lewis and Clark’s Process Operations Technology program just became one of only 18 nationally accredited “endorsed colleges” through the North American Process Technology Alliance (NAPTA).

L&C Process Operations Technology Coordinator and Instructor Mike Morgan gives students hands on instruction in the field. Lewis and Clark is now one of only 18 nationally accredited “endorsed colleges” through the North American Process Operations Technology Alliance.“We went from a regional accreditation to a national one, and have hit the highest tier of accreditation as an endorsed college, which is powerful recognition of the work we’ve done developing the program, as well as what our students have accomplished,” said Mike Morgan, coordinator and instructor in Process Operations Technology at Lewis and Clark Community College. “We are also the first college, of only 18 endorsed schools across the country, located in the Midwest.”

L&C’s program has had a long-standing association with the Center for the Advancement of Process Technology (CAPT). In 2002, CAPT was designated a NSF ATE (National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education) National Center of Excellence for Process Technology Education and awarded a three-year grant for $3 million. With the grant, CAPT committed to form a self-sustaining national alliance of two-year colleges working in collaboration with process-related businesses and industries, education, professional associations and government to prepare a quality 21st century technical workforce that drives the operations for the major energy, chemical, and oil and gas producers, according to captech.org.

Also known as “specialized” or “professional accreditations,” these credentials ensure that specific vocational programs are meeting national quality standards. The 18 endorsed schools, now including Lewis and Clark, each have an active advisory committee, have completed a comprehensive program audit and have been approved for endorsement by the NAPTA, an active partner with CAPT.

“As our first member from another alliance, (Lewis and Clark is) setting an example for other schools to follow, and further strengthening our efforts to build consistency and sustainability for PTEC across North America,” said NAPTA President W. Eric Newby.

“From an employer’s perspective, professional accreditation, such as the NAPTA accreditation of the Process Operations Technology program, certifies the quality of the program and the competence of the graduates based on national standards,” said Linda Chapman, vice president of Academic Affairs at Lewis and Clark. “From a graduate’s perspective, the NAPTA endorsement gives him or her an employment edge over graduates from programs that are not NAPTA accredited. This is a major accomplishment for our program coordinator, faculty, students and advisory committee members.”

Process Operations Technology graduates go on to earn approximately $2o-35 per hour. Lewis and Clark graduates have gone on to work for companies like Abengoa AG, Afton Chemical, Ameren UE, Calumet Petroleum, Center Ethanol, Covidien, Elementis, Eastman Chemicals, Explorer Pipeline, GS Robbins, Jost Chemical, Kinder-Morgan, Marathon Pipeline, Marathon Refining, Metropolitan Sewer District, Prairie State Energy, Phillips 66 Refining, Proctor & Gamble, Shell Off-shore, Sigma-Aldrich, Solvay Flourides and SunCoke.

“It’s definitely an exciting time for Process Operations Technology, which continues to grow,” Morgan said. “As the need for industry grows, and with companies looking to replace anywhere from 30-50 percent of their workforce over the next five years, there are numerous opportunities available for employment in refineries, chemical plants, water treatment facilities and more.”

Learn more about the program at www.lc.edu/degrees.

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