NACE Opens Corrosion Education Center

Representatives from NACE International and the NACE Foundation opened the NACE International Training Center in Houston, Texas. The $2.4 million facility is the nation’s first freestanding training center dedicated exclusively to advancing corrosion education.

Corrosion is an ongoing and costly threat to assets in the energy, transportation, water, defense, and marine and shipbuilding industries. The effects of corrosion cost more than $276 billion each year. In addition to the financial consequences, corrosion can cause significant safety and environmental issues. According to an industry study, 30 percent of the nation’s water supply is lost each year due to corrosion. In addition, corrosion is the cause of structural deficiency in 15 percent of the nation’s bridges.

Despite the prevalence of corrosion, one of the biggest challenges facing the industry is the lack of new professionals entering the field, according to the 2008 NACE International Corrosion Career Survey. In the next 5 to 10 years, it is expected that a significant percentage of the corrosion industry’s workforce will be retiring and create an increased demand for skilled corrosion professionals.

“This training center will help develop the next generation of skilled workers,” said Tony Keane, executive director, NACE International. “We will prepare them for a comprehensive career in corrosion and help open the doors for job opportunities and greater earning potential.”

The new training center, along with two existing NACE classrooms, can accommodate more than 3,000 students annually attending over 125 state-of-the-art courses in corrosion identification, prevention and mitigation technologies. Courses are available for educational levels from high school graduate, or equivalent experience, to senior engineer. The facility combines classroom curriculum with practical, hands-on field components that enable students to experience conditions in real-world corrosive environments, and to prove their competencies in field situations.

The 15,000-square-foot facility features tools such as a cathodic protection test field with buried, electrified pipelines; a coatings lab with a blast and spray booth; a virtual spray booth for classroom-based applicator training; an equipment preparation area; industrial structures that will prepare students for situations they will encounter on a job site; and the nation’s only marine ballast tank immersion tent, which simulates a ship’s ballast tank for shipboard corrosion assessment training.

“Our mission is to protect people, assets, and the environment from the effects of corrosion,” said Robert W. Herbert, president of the board of directors, NACE International. “The training center will offer programs and certifications with multiple points of entry, depending on educational background and experience, providing a path for continued professional development.”

Herbert added that while the profession is technically challenging, the average salary for corrosion professionals was $88,354 in 2008, making it a financially rewarding field.

NACE International and the NACE Foundation launched a capital campaign in 2007 to fund the construction of the new training center. Contributions and material donations were received from individuals and corporations including American Innovations, Bass Engineering, Carboline, Champion Technologies, ConocoPhillips, Elaine Byerley, Elcometer, Sherwin Williams, and Tinker & Rasor.

The first courses in the new facility will begin in late January 2009. To learn more about the NACE International Training Center and its curriculum, visit www.nace.org/education.

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