Another industry official is stressing the value of a free three-week training class that’s getting underway soon for people interested in landing jobs in the natural gas industry. Registration will be closing soon for the ShaleNet class at the Career and Technical Center in Port Allegany. Recent increases in the price of natural gas at the wellhead make it likely that energy companies who have postponed shale-gas drilling in the local area will be returning in the coming months and looking to fill jobs with local recruits, if they have the basic qualifications.
“ShaleNet is a great program,” said Dan Weaver, a representative of the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association. “Service companies want local people because of their connection to the land.” And industry representatives discount the contention that all of the gas jobs will be outside of northern Pennsylvania. “We’re sitting on the second largest natural gas field in the world,” said Travis Windle from the Marcellus Shale Coalition. “While there will be periods of higher and relatively lower activity, this is a generational opportunity for the region.
He forecasted that drilling will increase when a pipeline structure is in place to usher gas to the national distribution system. Some industries – electrical generation and motor vehicle manufacturers, for example – are also making adaptations that will greatly increase the marketplace demand for gas. “A person who has taken the initiative to become familiar with the 12 skill sets that are emphasized in the ShaleNet program is going to have an obvious advantage when it comes to landing a job with us,” said a spokesman for an active oil and gas field services company servicing northcentral Pennsylvania.
Virtually all of the individuals who completed the initial ShaleNet training course in Port Allegany, sponsored by the Potter County Education Council (PCEC) and U.S. Dept. of Labor, were offered jobs in the gas industry. Those planning to register for the next round of training, which could start as early as Aug, 27, should do so immediately, since they will need to complete screening requirements that include an occupational physical examination and criminal background check.
ShaleNet is a combination of classroom and hands-on training. Topics include employability skills; basics of natural gas; rig components and electrical systems; hydraulics, pressures and forces; basic rigging; well production; basic well control; spill prevention and reporting; safety; driving; aerial work platform basics and rough-terrain forklift. Typically, those who join the gas industry in entry-level jobs are able to steadily progress to more responsible and higher-paying positions.
The course, which is open to applicants from any county, will be over a three-week period from Monday through Friday, 8 am to 4 pm. There is no tuition, but participants are responsible for pre-admission clearances, physical examinations, and drug testing. Registrations are being taken through Pennsylvania CareerLink. In Potter County, the phone number is 274-9330. More details are also available from Bob Veilleux at PCEC, telephone 814-545-1333.
Potter County Today is a timely information site courtesy of the Potter County Commissioners. Reprinted with Permission.