Joe Wyatt
Published November 27, 2017

An alliance between Amarillo College and Pantex that has attracted significant federal funding to provide hazardous-materials training for Department of Energy workers is expanding its scope so that area industries can receive some of that training, too.

Pantex training specialist Terrel Chambers speaks on partnership with AC.

Employees from throughout the region may now enroll in asbestos training and hazardous-material handling and transportation courses previously offered exclusively to Pantex workers.

“We believe this is a model that other grant recipients elsewhere may choose to emulate,” said Toni Gray, dean of AC’s Downtown Campus, where the training is delivered under AC’s Continuing Education umbrella.

This not only allows Pantex to get their employees up to date and in compliance,” Gray said, “but it also helps our local industries gain from the training as others, not just Pantex employees, are able to benefit from this highly specialized and important safety and environmental training.”

AC and Pantex successfully collaborated in 2015 to secure a five-year, $750,000 DOE grant that supports hazardous related safety-training classes for DOE workers employed at Pantex.

The DOE grant, which is administered by the Partnership for Environmental Technology Education (PETE), provides $150,000 annually. That is a substantial increase from DOE grant amounts previously received through PETE – $12,000 annually in the 1990s, and $50,000 annually as recently as 2014.

As a result, AC and Pantex now have greater flexibility in serving private industry, whose workers also need hazardous-material certifications yet often must travel to faraway places to get it.

By sending their workers to the same asbestos and hazmat classes that Pantex workers attend at Amarillo College, local employers can realize sizable savings – paying only for tuition, not for unnecessary travel and other expenses.

“We’ve established a wonderful working relationship with Amarillo College which has been so successful that now we can reach out to the community,” said Pantex training specialist Terrel Chambers. “Now we’re going to have open enrollment."

“In the past, companies would have to send their workers to Houston, St. Louis, New Orleans and other places to get the type of training they’ve needed,” he said. “By opening up these additional training opportunities at Amarillo College, I think industries within our community can be just as successful in their training endeavors as we have been at Pantex.”

Jeff Wallick, PETE grant coordinator for Amarillo College, says AC has a long history of offering hazardous training courses to local industry – and AC will continue to offer them.

The DOE grant, Wallick says, ensures that the asbestos training and hazardous-material handling and transportation courses scheduled for Pantex workers will be conducted as scheduled. These are the classes in which private industry is being invited to participate, Wallick says, and none will foreseeably be cancelled.

For information about upcoming hazardous-materials training at Amarillo College, please contact Jeff Wallick at 806-371-2923 or