Monday, April 18, 2011

First Class of Marcellus Shale Program Ready to Enter Field

The Community College of Allegheny County has completed its first three-week course to prepare students for jobs in the Marcellus Shale natural gas industry.

The intensive course met five days a week and through industry support and input, has prepared 10 students for an entry-level career setting up and maintaining oil and natural gas well sites. The free course is non-credit, but will not affect students chances of being hired. CCAC’s interim Vice President of Workforce Development says many companies in the industry hire from within so those workers can be making around $80,000 within a few years.

The program includes a number of different aspects including safety training, first aid, hands-on work, hazardous materials training, and team cooperation, in addition to working with heavy equipment at a training site the school rented from Westmoreland County Community College.

Savolskis says CCAC provides the essential first step of education in this area.

“One of the disadvantages that we have in this region is this industry hasn’t been here before in any significant numbers. So we’re having to get people who are interested in the industry, we’re having to lay that foundation for them so that was also part of the training,” she says.

Savolskis says her role is to provide relevant education opportunities to prepare workers for every new industry field that arises. She expects another intensive course similar to this to be available, but likely not for free as this graduating class was.

“I think we are at an advantage. I definitely think that if there is a market we would continue to offer the courses, I mean that’s what we do we go on market demand for the training because our goal is at the end of the training we want you to get a job.”

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