In July of 2004, Coastal Alabama Community College received recognition by the National Science Foundation as an Advanced Technological Education Center of Excellence. With this distinction, The Pulp and Paper Lab gained national recognition as a Center of Excellence and the College took on the responsibility to foster teaching excellence in Pulp and Paper Technology throughout America. This recognition was gained after two project grants from NSF, review of a National Visiting Committee, completion of a planning grant and submission of a grant to NSF for recognition of the Center. The grant established the National Network for Pulp and Paper Technology Training (npt)2 and provides funding to link the Pulp and Paper Technology program at the College to pulp and paper industries across the United States.
To enhance the training of entry level and incumbent employees, all students are involved in a core of courses that provide hands on training across the typical systems found in a pulp and paper or chemical processing plant. By utilizing a multi-craft training approach, students learn how to think outside of the box and outside of their singular focus. Through training in Basic Electricity, Process Control, Instrumentation (including electronics, and programmable logic controls), Hydraulics, Pneumatics, and Rotary Power operations, operators trained at the College have a systems approach to problem solving that is unique within the industry. Thus, students trained at Coastal Alabama Community College and the National Center for Pulp and Paper Technology Training have an advantage in the workforce. They can boast of being prepared as a contributor for the Technologically Advanced Workforce needed by US companies to maintain a global competitiveness. As technologically advanced workers, they are active members in problem solving teams vital for all plants.