Chemistry is a central part in the existence of all things. Part of this ubiquitousness is harnessed routinely for economic purposes or to facilitate a better understanding and control of certain components of the physical world. Chemists and chemical engineers typically are identified as the "chemistry specialists ; however, the CPI technical workers targeted by this report are also "chemistry specialists."
Nearly 0.75 million technical workers are employed by the companies, government agencies, universities, and other organizations that constitute the CPI, as defined for this project. However, the preparation of the CPI technical workers for entry-level jobs has until recently not received the consistent support provided at all levels to chemists and chemical engineers. Indeed, there has been no generally accepted identification of these workers and no broad-based agreement on the qualifications they should hold.
In the past few years, several organizations have started addressing the needs of subsets of the CPI technical workers. The American Chemical Society has just completed the establishment of a Division of Chemical Technicians. Both the American Petroleum Institute and the Chemical Manufacturers Association have committees addressing the educational/training needs of the operators employed by their members.
In June 1993, the American Chemical Society was awarded
a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, with matching resources from the
Society and the CPI to develop "Voluntary Industry Skill Standards for CPI
Technical Workers:' This work is being conducted in two phases. Phase I can be
represented as industry input, which describes the performance-based skills,
knowledge, and attributes required by those entering the workforce now and in
the future. Phase II, which is described in Appendix
B , will start in December 1994 and will seek educational responses to the skill standards. This report presents the outcomes of Phase I in draft form.