WSCC Online Program Reaches Students Around the Globe

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MARIETTA, OH (February 14, 2017)—For more than a decade Washington State Community College (WSCC), through its Workforce Development program, has offered an Online Chemical Operator program. Until recently enrollment has been contained within the borders of the US, however a local company's need for additional operator training has stretched the college’s virtual classroom across the ocean and around the globe.

More than 10 years ago WSCC launched its online chemical operator program to meet the needs of a Mid-Ohio Valley chemical plant. Orion Engineered Carbons, one of the world's leading suppliers of Carbon Black with more than 1,500 employees worldwide, needed to upgrade the technical and critical thinking skills of its employees in order to deal with new, state-of-the-art equipment and processing methods being implemented at the Belpre plant. WSCC was able to meet their needs by establishing an online non-credit course. Orion was so impressed by the program, they began using it to train operators at some of their other plants in the US.  The initial creation of the online class in 2006 ultimately resulted in a curriculum that WSCC was able to expand and open up to other companies throughout the country.

Last fall opportunity once again presented itself to WSCC. Orion officials expressed a need for additional training with a customized carbon black course for employees located in China, South Korea, Germany and South Africa. This opportunity meant WSCC would need to bolster its processes to enroll international students in this non-credit program. With the help of a team of Washington State faculty and staff members, the college was able to meet the challenge.

 “This was a really exciting venture,” said Brenda Kornmiller Dean of the Business, Engineering, Industrial Technologies & Workforce Development division. “We had never been in the realm of teaching international students before but we were able to establish a seamless system. Not only did we do it. We did it well”

The certainty of the program was agreeable on both sides. At the conclusion of the 4-month course students were surveyed on the quality of the course and consistently WSCC received praises for not only the information taught, but for the organization of the overall program. “Students were very favorable about the course,” said Jim York, instructor of WSCC’s Online Chemical Operator Program. Repeatedly students identified the course as “very informative” and “well organized”.

The growth and success of the Online Chemical Operator program, including its most recent international venture, has resulted in additional opportunities for the college. In fact, Kornmiller reported that WSCC is currently finalizing a training agreement with a leading global chemical supply company with locations in 188 countries.

“We offer an opportunity for companies to not only train new operators, but up-skill their current workforce in a time and format that works for shift work and challenging schedules,” explained Kornmiller. “Quality classes, quality instructors, many with shift work experience, and a convenient format has been our recipe for success!”

For 45 years, Washington State Community College has fueled the community’s future through education. We work to make a positive impact by providing opportunities for growth. Whether you are a recent high school graduate or an adult student looking to enrich your life, we cultivate pathways to guide you toward future growth.  Be inspired. Be WSCC. For more information about Washington State Community College, visit www.wscc.edu or call 740.374.8716.

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