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National Science Foundation

NSF 07-43, Benchmarks of NSF Innovation

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The Center for the Advancement of Process Technology (CAPT) in Texas City, Texas, was formed as a response to industry's increasing need for a diverse, highly skilled process-technician workforce. Funded by NSF's Advanced Technology Education (ATE) program, CAPT develops and enhances two-year degree programs based on industry-established standards; provides professional development opportunities for faculty; and promotes career pathways through job-placement initiatives, retention activities and student internships.

For example, 87 students from CAPT partner colleges completed internships at BP and Shell from 2003 to 2005. All of their former supervisors now recommend that other companies support such internships. Such opportunities, supervisors say, help students better understand the real world; develop job skills; and lead them to permanent employment.

Moreover, CAPT has 42 national education partners in 19 states and the Virgin Islands. The center works closely with nine regional process technology alliances--representing the chemical, refining, exploration, production and pharmaceutical sectors--to ensure that its programs and products are based on the latest industrial standards.

To date, CAPT's partner colleges have graduated 5,726 highly-skilled technicians with associate degrees, certificates or both in process technology. The graduates are now working in companies vital to the U.S. economy such as BP, Conoco-Phillips, Dow Chemical, Shell and Exxon Mobil. Three-fourths of these students were hired by industry as full-time employees within six months after graduation with annual salaries ranging from $40,000 to $60,000.

worker with BP hardhat checking gauges

BP intern Venus Peña monitors equipment. Through an internship, the student can apply subject knowledge learned in a Process Technology program to the workplace environment and develop technical and interpersonal skills in the workplace under the direction of an experienced process operator.

Credit: © BP Photo Resources.


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