The oil and natural gas boom in the United States is creating many jobs nationwide. Key words such as “shale oil” or “shale gas” are often brought up whenever the oil and gas industry is mentioned. But what does it all mean – and how can students prepare for a career working in the growing field?
Stark State College offers a stackable credential model covering non-credit, one-year certificates and Associate of Applied Science degrees with articulation into a Bachelor of Science degree in technology management through Pennsylvania College of Technology. This allows students flexibility to enter and exist as needed while addressing industry needs.
In the 2014 spring semester, there were 68 declared oil and gas majors. The college is currently registering for fall; thus far, there are 21 additional majors. In 2013 the college offered a dual enrollment Introduction to the Petroleum Industry class at one high school and one career center.
This fall, the college will have the Introduction to the Petroleum Industry course offered as dual enrollment at two high schools and two career centers with anticipated enrollment of 70 students.
This spring the college had its first petroleum AAS degree graduate and two students received their one-year certificate.
Of the 45 non-credit students, 28 have found employment, with four continuing on to credit programs. Another way that Stark State has positioned itself at the forefront of the area’s top schools for oil and gas training is by partnering with ShaleNET. Originally launched in 2010 with a Community Based Job Training grant awarded to Westmoreland County Community College by the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration, ShaleNET created an effective and efficient entry-level training program featuring five high demand upstream occupations, including roustabout, welder’s helper, CDL, floor hand and production technician.
ShaleNET was developed with the long term goal of expanding the network beyond the Marcellus Shale play to unconventional shale plays throughout the US and globally. The demands of the workforce include linking the talents of the underserved, displaced, veterans, and TAA individuals into jobs. The collaboration between the public workforce system, and the training providers, like Stark State, seek to close that gap.
“The ShaleNET grant has been instrumental in allowing Stark State College to develop its oil and natural gas programs with delivery modality allowing the student flexibility to move throughout the ShaleNET college hubs or move throughout the industry and still be able to continue their education,” said Dan Schweitzer, ShaleNET Hub Coordinator at Stark State.
Eastern Gateway Community College and Kent State University at Tuscarawas are the only other Ohio schools offering noncredit ShaleNET courses, but other Ohio institutions are developing classes with direct and indirect impact on the industry. For more information, visit http://www.starkstate.edu/oilandgas.