STEUBENVILLE - Just as the area is booming with business growth from the oil and gas industry, so is the worker training booming at Eastern Gateway Community College.
Dozens of classes related to the industry are completed and more are on the horizon, said Tracee Joltes, assistant director of workforce training at EGCC.
"We have completed five three-week ShaleNET programs of training for entry-level jobs like roustabouts and floorhands, plus many for SafeLand classes," said Joltes.
More than 120 local people have been trained in both programs since March.
"The majority of the trainees secured jobs in the oil and gas industry or related fields. Others are still working on their job placement. Tenacity is the key when searching for any new job, but especially in this field. Many of these companies post their jobs online, which is a different approach for many people here," Joltes explained.
"The job market for this industry is steadily growing in our area and will continue to grow as additional companies move into the Utica shale play. The industry is actually still in the exploration phase and will be for the next two to three years. It's true that we've only begun to scratch the surface when it comes to the growth that we'll see as a result of this industry," said Joltes.
Contract training needs are growing, especially for safety and supervisory skills, she added.
"We at Eastern Gateway are proud to have been the first approved provider for SafeLand training in the state of Ohio. The college's affiliation with PEC Safety of Houston, Texas, brings inquiries for providing training for companies from as far away as Michigan and Texas. Several companies have already come to Steubenville for safety training," according to Joltes.
The expansion in the oil and gas industry is having a domino effect in the region, Joltes said.
"It has attracted companies such as Hess Corp., an American-based oil company that recently opened operations in Wintersville. Hess uses many local vendors to supply products and services for its drilling operation. That is great for our local economy. Some of those companies, including Hess, have hired our program graduates. They are all focused on hiring locally, and we want to help them to do that," she said.
"Rex Energy, with drilling operations in Carroll County, is very supportive of our training efforts. Rex sponsored the most of the onsite rig tours for our students in the ShaleNET training program.," Joltes noted.
Funding to cover some training costs was provided through ShaleNET, a federal grant to train workers for targeted jobs in the shale gas industry. The college offered pre-employment training sessions as well as multiple training courses to prepare individuals to work in these jobs.
"This is the final year of our current ShaleNet grant, so we are looking to other grants and partnerships to help offset training costs for our students," Joltes said.
"Additionally, Eastern Gateway is expanding its safety training options that can be offered onsite and/or online. We can't focus on safety and environmental awareness enough. The demand for training in these topics is huge and continues to increase. Courses include forklift certification, confined space entry and rescue, fire brigades, OSHA and welding, to mention a few," remarked Joltes.
Other topics of interest to companies include ISNetworld & SSQ/PEC compliance; jobsite safety management; OSHA, DOT & EPA compliance; auditing safety programs; safety manual development; job hazard analyses; and workers' compensation cost control.
For information about available training, call (800) 68.COLLEGE, extension 310, or visit www.egcc.edu/shale.