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Feeling the ‘brunt of prosperity’ on CPI Workforce issues

By Chemical Engineering |

While staffing issues continue to be a tremendous challenge for companies in the chemical process industries (CPI), a number of strategies and training approaches are emerging to help address the need for trained engineers and skilled tradespersons. The shale-gas boom continues to be a dominant force in the U.S. and global chemical industry, and is having a profound effect on workforce issues in the CPI. As companies seek to capitalize on the improved competitiveness allowed by the increased supply of low-cost natural gas, as much as $82.4 billion in new chemical manufacturing capacity could be invested in the U.S. by 2020, according to studies by the American Chemistry Council (ACC; Washington, D.C.; www.americanchemistry.com). Almost $72 billion in capacity-expansion investments have already been announced, mostly to expand capacity for ethylene and ethylene derivatives, as well as ammonia, methanol and propylene (see Chem. Eng., October 2012, pp. 17–19). ACC estimates chemical companies will fill 46,000 permanent positions because of those investments. The reinvigoration of the CPI provided by shale gas is increasing demand for engineers, process operators, construction workers, skilled trades workers and others. Figures…
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