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News: Roane State offers training to become a chemical operator

News: Roane State offers training to become a chemical operator

July 3, 2018

A new Roane State curriculum that trains people to become chemical operators will begin in the fall semester, said Dr. Markus Pomper, dean of the college’s Division of Mathematics and Sciences.

A chemical operator monitors, controls and troubleshoots automated chemical processes. The work environment can range from processing spent uranium fuel rods at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge to making bulk food products, such as high-fructose corn syrup.

The operator monitors data and remotely adjusts controls as needed to ensure chemical processes operate properly. If equipment breaks down, the operator also maintains and repairs valves, pumps, regulators and sensors.

Classes will be held in the evening at the Oak Ridge Campus and at the college’s Higher Education and Workforce Training Facility in Clinton. The courses are an emphasis within the associate of applied science in general technology, a flexible two-year degree that allows students to customize their course schedule to fit their interests.

As the difficulty of the training intensifies in the second and third semesters of the program, students will complete six all-day sessions at the WACKER Institute training facility at Chattanooga State Community College, Pomper said. These sessions will meet on Saturdays, and will provide students with hands-on activities.

“Our partners have difficulty filling positions right now,” Pomper said. “Once the new Uranium Processing Facility (at Y-12) is built, I expect a wave of hires.” The first graduating class will be ready to fill this labor market need, he said.

“This training program for chemical operators is particularly interesting for working adult students, who can take advantage of free tuition and evening classes at their community college,” Pomper said. “The program offers hands-on training for well-paying jobs in our area.”

For more information, contact Gordon Williams at or 865-354-3000, ext. 4899, or Jack Parker at, (865) 354-3000 ext. 4891.​​

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