Program director heads training program

Posted Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 12:00am

Thanks to the collaboration of Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) and the College of Eastern Utah (CEU), the Western Energy Training Center (WETC) announce's the appointment of Dr. Robert Topping, who will be the program coordinator for the College of Eastern Utah's Western Energy Training Center in Helper, Utah.

Through the guidance of industry, MEP, and WETC's board of directors, Topping will help develop, organize and implement broad-based, energy-related training curriculum at WETC.

"We are extremely grateful that Dr. Topping decided to join our team, he is the complete package," said WETC Director Steven Burge.

Because of Dr. Topping's incredible background in industry and education, together with his substantial experience with other successful training programs, he will be a great asset for WETC and CEU."

Before joining the WETC team, Topping served as department chair and campus administrator for the Wilsonville Training Center at Clackamas Community College in Oregon. There he developed training programs, administered partnership requirements, managed student and collegiate services and supervised plant operations at Wilsonville's satellite campus.

Through the collaboration of the center's partners, Topping has been instrumental at the Wilsonville Training Center in developing a 'corporate university model', which has received national attention.

Topping not only brings 14 years of experience educating at the collegiate level, he also brings 26 years of hands-on-experience in the construction industry.

While working in construction, he held positions such as: apprentice field trainer, foreman, field superintendent and project manager.

He earned his bachelor's degree from Portland State University and his master's and doctorate from Oregon State University.

His doctoral dissertation in education addressed learning environments, career education and workforce development specifically for the energy industry. Within his dissertation his study focused on the community college's role in the learning processes, design feature, and major issues that affect workforce development and career succession planning.

"Energy-related industries will experience a great deal of change during the immediate future and the Western Energy Training Center (WETC) will be at the epicenter of that change," said Topping.

He added that he is "grateful and excited to have the opportunity to pursue the goals and mission of WETC".

The Western Energy Training Center is a new resource providing training to energy related industries through the affiliation with the College of Eastern Utah.

WETC is committed to supplying multiple industrial energy sectors with customized and innovative training. In January 2006 a consortium of local business and education interests announced the establishment of the Western Energy Training Center in Helper, a culmination of two years of dealing with the Department of Labor and local affiliates.

The efforts of the group, directed through the College of Eastern Utah and Southeast Energy Producers Association, have led to the purchase of the Willow Creek coal mine site in Helper as the main campus for programming focused on improving the labor supply and technical expertise needed by the energy industries.

The grant, awarded to the College of Eastern Utah, is only a portion of nearly $27 million in investments made in support of the nation's energy workforce through the President's High Growth Job Training Initiative.

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