According to David Wilhoit, Wacker Chemical Corporation President & CEO, the AIChE Undergraduate Process Safety Learning Initiative focuses upon industry working together with colleges and universities to transform chemical engineering education. “The AIChE reports that 72% of chemical engineering graduates entering the workforce have limited process safety education,” Wilhoit said. “This global effort is aimed at defining how the next generation of chemical engineers are prepared to enter the workforce, and is a main component of the Do-ing a World of Good campaign.
The Undergraduate Process Safety Learning Initiative is coordinated by the Center of Chemical Process Safety (CCPS), a technical sub-sidiary of AIChE.
Wilhoit described the Undergraduate Process Safety Learning Initia-tive has having three major components; modernizing and developing curriculum, educating faculty and engaging in educating students, all of which involve the collaboration of the chemical engineering community, industry and academia. He said bringing these groups and collective resources together, in a unified approach, will create the best opportunity to provide chemical engineering graduates a working knowledge of process safety.
“WACKER is pledging resources to support this initiative with a five-year partnership commitment. We will begin the process of facilitating educating college and university faculty members about process safety mid-year 2017 and have identified our Charleston, TN plant as the starting point,” Mary Beth Hudson, WACKER Vice President and Charleston Site Manager explained. “There are a considerable number of colleges and universities within reasonable proximity of our plant which have chemical engineering programs. As part of our partnership commitment, WACKER will be hosting faculty members from these area institutions in bringing forward a sustainable business and academic case for including process safety education at the college level.”
Hudson said WACKER is optimistic about this progressive initiative sponsored by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, em-phasizing further that the company is looking forward with great anticipation to fully realize the company’s partnership involvement. Our belief is that the chemical engineering community, industry and academia working together will positively impact society for the fore-seeable and longer term future.
In announcing the partnership with WACKER, AIChE Executive Di-rector June Wispelwey thanked WACKER for its commitment to promoting chemical process safety in industry. She noted that while industry has made progress in safety, company leaders say that engineers coming out of college need to be better trained in process safety when they enter the workforce. Additionally, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology recently enacted standards that require process safety to be part of the chemical engineering curriculum. Universities, however, have not yet developed a stand-ardized curriculum to fulfill this new requirement. “That needed train-ing is why AIChE, its participating companies, and the CCPS collab-orated on this initiative and made it part of the Doing a World of Good campaign,” Wispelwey concluded.
WACKER (www.wacker.com) is a globally active chemical group headquartered in Munich, Germany. With a wide range of state-of-the-art specialty products, WACKER is a leader in numerous fields and industries. Its products are required in countless high-growth end-user sectors, such as photovoltaics, electronics, pharmaceuticals and household/personal-care products. In 2015, the Group generated sales of some €5.3 billion with a staff of 17,000 employees. Founded in 1914, WACKER operates 25 production sites, supplying over 3,200 products to more than 3,500 customers worldwide. The Group main-tains subsidiaries and sales offices in 31 countries across Europe, the Americas and Asia – including a strong foothold in China.
Wacker Chemical Corporation (WCC) is WACKER’s US-based chemical operation. Headquartered in Adrian, Michigan, WCC oper-ates eleven facilities throughout the United States, Mexico and Co-lombia.
AIChE is a professional society of more than 53,000 chemical engi-neers in 110 countries. Its members work in corporations, universities and government using their knowledge of chemical processes to develop safe and useful products for the benefit of society. Through its varied programs, AIChE continues to be a focal point for infor-mation exchange on the frontiers of chemical engineering research in such areas as energy, sustainability, biological and environmental engineering, nanotechnology and chemical plant safety and security. More information about AIChE is available at www.aiche.org.