Winter 2011 |
The Process Operations/Power Plant Technology program offered at MCC's Washington County
Technology Center prepares students for entry-level employment and advancement opportunities as
technical professionals in process plants and power plants.
Graduates will be trained to operate and maintain bio-refineries, power plants, wastewater
treatment plants and other industries utilizing the process operations skill set," said Bill Owen,
MCC's associate vice president for academic affairs. "Nebraska has a shortage of people with the
background and training for such jobs," said Owen.
Graduates of the two-year program receive an Associate of Applied Science in Process Operations
Technology degree. Since the Center opened in March 2011, curriculum has grown to include the power
plant option and the nuclear power plant non-licensed operator option. The bio-processing curriculum
is in development. In addition to offering an associate degree, the Center also offers a Specialist
Diploma in Stationary Engineering. Currently, 16 students are engaged in coursework at the Center.
The program "allows us to build a pipeline of qualified applicants" for positions at the Cargill
biorefinery campus in Blair, said Gavin Atkinson, Cargill's facilities manager. Atkinson said
graduates have the "right education, right training and right mindset" to meet the qualifications for
the biotech businesses' own training programs for technical production jobs. Cargill, Evonik,
NatureWorks, Novozymes and OPPD are program industry partners.
Bob Boyer is the lead full-time faculty member for the program. He has more than 20 years
experience working as an adjunct professor in the area and in power plant operations.
The Washington County Technology Center is a collaborative project between MCC, Gateway
Development Corporation, Blair industry partners, the city of Blair and Washington County.
AFTER THE DEGREE
Working in the process operations technology education and employment field requires:
Most entry-level employees can earn $50,000 or more their first year. This is one of the highest
starting wages of the high-tech industries in the nation.
- Strong math and science skills
- The willingness to work odd hours and varied shifts