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Two-Year College Programs

Training for Bioenergy Careers

AHB is working to enhance rural prosperity in the Northwest through job creation and training. Safe, skilled, and motivated technicians and operators are in demand throughout the region’s agroforestry and industrial sectors. Through training from the Plant Operations applied associate degree program (AAAS) at Walla Walla Community College, students gain high-demand technical skills and knowledge directly applicable for employment in a wide range of jobs/careers involving Utilities, Pulp and Paper, Industrial Maintenance, Wastewater and Drinking Water Treatment, Engineering Contractors, Food Processors, Biofuels and Biochemicals, Solid Waste Management/Waste to Energy, Agriculture and Forestry, and Public Works.

The Plant Operations program at WWCC provides formal training in safety, electrical and mechanical maintenance, process controls, applied sciences and engineering, and hands-on experience with the operations of wastewater treatment, solid waste management, and biofuel/biochemical production facilities. View the Plant Operations AAAS Degree Guide to learn more about the WWCC Plant Operations program from the perspective our industry partners and former students.

To expand our training reach:

  • A current collaboration exists with the Process Technology program at Bellingham Technical College through a Short Certificate in Bioproducts (minimum of 20 credits).
  • The WA Department of Ecology has issued Continuing Education values for eight of our Plant Operations courses for their Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Certification program.
  • Many of the WWCC Plant Operations courses are offered on-line.
  • There is an Associate of Applied Arts and Sciences transfer degree (AAS-T) pathway that has been established for students who want to begin their career by sharpening their technical skills at Walla Walla Community College and then pursue undergraduate and/or advanced degree(s) by transferring upon completion to the likes of Washington State University, University of Idaho, Oregon State University, and/or University of Washington.
  • We have partnerships with several companies and trade associations active in the Northwest.
  • Our advisory board includes representatives from Public Works, Wastewater, Solid Waste Management, Bioproducts, and Agriculture, including personnel from private companies, municipal and state governments, and universities.
  • Certificate options in Industrial Maintenance and Energy Systems Technology (Wind, Electrical, or HVACR) are available.

Both the AAAS and AAS-T pathways in Plant Operations often consist of the following courses (many of which have online sections with applied labs):

  • Introduction to Bioproducts
  • Process Support Systems
  • Process Level and Flow Control
  • Plant Operations
  • Bio-chemical Conversion
  • Thermo-chemical Conversion
  • Fluid Dynamics of Basic Piping Systems
  • Operation and Maintenance of Pumps
  • Orientation to the Energy and allied industries
  • Biomass Feedstock Management
  • Cooperative Work Experience and Seminar
  • Advanced Programmable Logic Controllers
  • Introduction to Instrumentation
  • Water Quality and Environmental Chemistry

Nine workers wearing hard hats walking into a biorefinery.
Walla Walla Community College bioenergy students at ZeaChem, a biorefinery in Boardman, OR.

Agriculture Center of Excellence logo

Walla Walla Community College, established 1967

For more information contact Jason Selwitz.
(509) 527-3678