EDWARDSVILLE - The NCERC at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is now offering an 18-month, accelerated apprenticeship program as part of an effort with the Madison County Employment and Training Department.

The apprenticeship is designed to provide participants with the classroom skills and hands-on experience needed to succeed in a process operations industry, which includes biofuels and bioprocessing, petroleum refineries, food and beverage manufacturers, and chemical production industries. Employers in the Metro East are seeking skilled operators and production workers for careers in biofuels, refining and more.

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Apprentices will earn 16 credit hours (6 courses) of targeted coursework through the Lewis and Clark Community College Process Operations Technology (PTEC) program, earning a certificate of completion in bioprocess technology. The classroom experience is complimented by training on a Siemens SIMIT process control simulation platform and 2,000 hours of paid work experience in the pilot plant at the NCERC at SIUE, working on bioprocessing projects for the Center’s clients.

Apprentices earn progressively increasing wages during their 2,000-hour on-the-job training at NCERC, with a starting salary of $12 per hour and ending salary of $14 per hour throughout their apprenticeship. Upon completion of the program, apprentices will achieve refinery operator journeyman, a national portable credential, as well as certificates of completion for bioprocess operations, Siemens SIMIT training and various safety trainings.

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Candidates with some experience in manufacturing, process, mechanization or related fields are preferred. However, all candidates must possess a strong work ethic, exceptional attitude and be teachable/trainable. Successful completion of a drug test and background check is required. Apprentices must be able to wear personal protective equipment, and be available to work shift and variable schedules including evenings, holidays and weekends (classroom hours will be accommodated).

The refinery operator apprenticeship is open to Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) eligible participants seeking a career in a process operations industry, such as biofuels, bioprocessing, chemical and petroleum refining, or food and beverage manufacturing. WIOA is designed to ensure employers have the skilled workforce they need for their business to grow and thrive. WIOA-eligible apprentices receive funding for program tuition and fees and other expenses. To determine program eligibility, interested participants should contact the Madison County Employment and Training Department.

To apply for the refinery operator apprenticeship program, contact Rebecca Marshall of Madison County Employment and Training at 618-296-4532 or [email protected] to complete eligibility screening. WIOA-eligible apprentice candidates will be referred to the NCERC for interviews.

For more information about the refinery operator apprenticeship program, contact NCERC Specialist of Commercialization Claire Weinzierl at 618-659-6737, ext. 260 or [email protected] .

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