Operator Academy: Process Technology

Raymond Vu, Reporter

If you need an elective that is very beneficial, then try taking Process Technology. This class is going to introduce you to the production of consumer goods from raw materials and can provide a good base for your future.

There is an abundance of companies in Alaska that are based on processing consumer goods. As Alaska is known for producing a lot of oil, you can work for ExxonMobil or at North Pacific Seafoods and become a seafood processor.

Generally, Process Technology involves the aspect of chemical processing, such as extracting chemicals from oil to produce gas. Instead of actually doing the extracting, you are basically monitoring the process of extracting the oil. Other than producing oil, there is also the production of electricity, mining, petroleum refining, waste and wastewater management. It is also essential in the production of gasoline, airplane fuel, plastic bottles, glass jars, purified water, cars and even name brand items such as M&M’s, etc. Process Technology can basically range from anything that has a process of making an item.

This is beneficial because West Anchorage High School has this program as an elective. It is a head start to going to a college of process technology. These jobs can include “being an operator in power plant or fish plant but also expose you to other job opportunities like an electrician, welder, truck driver, and plumber,” said Bryan Friedrichs, Process Technology teacher. This class also introduces you to people that are a part of the Operator Industry such as the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) who come and talk to the students.

The Operator Academy including Engineering and Process Technology was implemented apart of West High in 2014. As it was part of the new wing of West High called Career and Technical Education (CTE). The Process Technology class is located in this new wing in room C 152.

Even though this class is an elective, there are some basic requirements such as, “having the ability to do Algebra level math, but we are also mainly looking for upperclassmen which are juniors and seniors, and it great if you take Geology but it’s not a requirement.” said Friedrichs, “but you just have to be mainly interested in how things work and how they are built.” But it is still great if you join because you will learn a lot. Since the world depends on electricity, gas, food, etc., you are helping to supply the society by monitoring the process of these goods.

This class is structured on a college course so, near the end of high school and you’re looking to join college to be an Operator, you have the opportunity to earn college credit if you meet their rigorous standards.

Process Technology at West is an elective that people do enjoy. “I love this class because you get to learn the process of the everyday stuff we use,” said Nicholas Jones, former West High student. This class may seem boring, but “it is worth taking this class because we are at school for a reason and its education. I can use this skill for my future jobs and know the basics of it rather than knowing nothing,” said Jones. Another former West High student, John Owens would recommend other students taking this because, “it’s pretty fun experiencing a preview of a job that you might work as in the future.” Maybe Process Technology is worth a try if you don’t have an elective that you wanted or need.