GPA has hosted its annual School of Gas Chromatography since 1973, and it is considered one of the best chromatography schools available worldwide. This hands-on school is directed toward chromatograph operators, measurement technicians and engineers involved with chromatography, and the curriculum includes basic gas and gas liquid chromatography with an introduction to extended analysis and portable chromatographs. GPA’s chromatography school is typically held in early August in Tulsa, Okla.

GPA and GPSA have shared a long partnership with the Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology (OSUIT), first through its Natural Gas Compression Program and now through the school’s recent introduction of its Pipeline Integrity Program. The midstream industry relies upon the education that students receive in OSUIT’s applied learning environments that simulate workplace expectations.

The Natural Gas Compression Program has been part of the OSUIT curriculum for more than 20 years. The purpose of this program is to develop a reliable and continuous source for technicians specifically trained in natural gas compression to enter the gas processing industry. The program targets the recruitment of students from geographic areas in which GPA and GPSA members have a need for technicians. The program also incorporates internships to allow students to use and reinforce in a real world setting what they have learned in their classrooms and labs.

Both GPA and GPSA have been instrumental in the program’s development, providing professional expertise, financial support and equipment since its beginning. Today the Natural Gas Compression Program is the largest at OSUIT and boasts a 100 percent employment rate for those who successfully complete the training. 

The need for skilled engineering technologists that install, operate, maintain, repair and manage the integrity and security of pipelines is on the rise, and OSUIT has targeted this need by initiating its Pipeline Integrity Program that will enable students to develop the skills necessary to be successful in the pipeline industry. Major topics of study include safety, assessing pipeline damage and risk, corrosion control, design and integrity management.

OSUIT invited GPA and GPSA to partner with the school on the new program in a similar manner as the support that both associations provide to natural gas compression program. This degree program requires financial investment in order to provide classrooms, laboratory spaces and equipment for students to have an authentic learning environment that mirrors field experiences as closely as possible.

In 2014, GPA leadership has placed training on its priority list of strategic initiatives, and a training task force led by Chairman-Elect John Mollenkopf, MarkWest Energy Partners, is evaluating options for targeted and highly sought after training opportunities like GPA's annual chromatography school.

Initial conversations have centered on using the GPSA Engineering Data Book as a basis for developing a curriculum that could be used for potential training offerings. Much work remains, but the GPA and GPSA boards of directors have voted to provide funds to develop the curriculum, while the training task force continues dialogue on issues such as locations/timing, use of curriculum, etc.

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